LØRN case C0404 -
LØRN. STARTUP

Anders Murman

CEO og founder

Deversify.com

Why everyone should understand their own health

In this episode of #LØRN Silvija talks to CEO and founder of Deversify, Anders Murman, about why everyone should understand their own health, how he spends most of his time finding funding, pitching ideas and talking to potential investors to strike business deals at the same time being in charge of all the technical development of Deversify's products and services. In addition to being co-founder of Aspirable Technologies, he has worked 25 years in med-tech in Sweden and California, in leading positions at companies such as RaySearch, Aerocrine, and Pharmacology, all of which are listed publicly today.
LØRN case C0404 -
LØRN. STARTUP

Anders Murman

CEO og founder

Deversify.com

Why everyone should understand their own health

In this episode of #LØRN Silvija talks to CEO and founder of Deversify, Anders Murman, about why everyone should understand their own health, how he spends most of his time finding funding, pitching ideas and talking to potential investors to strike business deals at the same time being in charge of all the technical development of Deversify's products and services. In addition to being co-founder of Aspirable Technologies, he has worked 25 years in med-tech in Sweden and California, in leading positions at companies such as RaySearch, Aerocrine, and Pharmacology, all of which are listed publicly today.
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SS: Hello and welcome to Lørn.Tech, I'm Sylvia Seres and our topic today is health tech. My guest is Anders Murman, a CEO and founder of Diversify. Welcome Anders.

AM: Thank you.

SS: You are here for an incubator with Katapult, normally based in?

AM: Normally based in Uppsala and Sandhamn of Sweden.

SS: OK, welcome, we like Swedish guests.

AM: Thank you.

SS: So we will talk about Diversify and how that really is used for better understanding of our own health.?Before we do that, can you tell us something a little bit more about yourself?

AM: Oh about myself? Yeah, I'm an engineer and I've been working all my life in med tech, deep med tech, intensive care, chronology and pharmacology, to mention a few, and a few years ago I ran across this three world unique product idea and it was a little too good not to try to start my own startups, so that's what I mean.

SS: Yeah. Tell us about the difference between deep tech and more kind of social light tech.

AM: Yeah absolutely, deep tech are the main players that are selling to hospitals around the world, at least in the western world; Siemens, Philips, GE, Metronic.

SS: So some advanced new technology used in combination with medicine, chemistry...

AM: Yeah, deep tech is just the old name, it shouldn't be compared to deep learning or anything, deep med tech is simply CTmachines, radiation therapy equipment that I worked with, heavy expensive capital equipment.

SS: Big technology that requires a PhD and a degree.

AM: Big technology, great margins and a few players and now this field that we are in a mobile health constitutes to a number of startups really because the big players are, if I say it right, are fairly fat cats in terms of their margins and they are only interested in selling B2B to hospitals, while we the startup community in health we want to make affordable equipment that any person, any patient transforming into an m-health consumer can buy and start monitoring your own chronic diseases.

SS: But I think this is where I'd like to kind of get your point on the convergence between deep tech and any tech because I think many of the sensors and many of the pieces of equipment that were really prohibitively expensive to most people and olderly were able to, be accessible to big hospitals or big defense agencies or, are now becoming publicly available for a few dollars from China or, so there are huge new opportunities both for hospitals and B2B markets but also for B2C.

AM: Yeah absolutely, and that really, you nailed it there, that's really the core of it, is that the big incumbents, the big players that are there that are selling to hospitals, they haven't really found out this Internet of things going on and that we have this really cheap way of building new types of electronics, and that what we do and many others but there are traditional players we think will succeed in the m-health domain, it's a growing ecosystem of new startups that more or less come from the Internet side of business, or from maybe a social entrepreneurship side. There are things to be done here for this type of chronic disease.

SS: So give us a few examples of chronic diseases and how your startups solved their problem.

AM: Absolutely, so we can start with the first three that we are working on, our first product we have is called the Acetrack, it's a breathalyser in one exhalation it detects the level of acetone you have in your breath.

SS: Which is what shows you whether you can drive or not?

AM: No, no, no. That's alcohol, this one is a new detector, it's like a breathalyser but not for alcohol, for acetone.

SS: And why do you want that?

AM: And acetone is a bio mark that tells you if your liver is burning fat, so this one actually sees non-easily if you are burning fat, so for the obesity people and for the fitness people and for a number of people that wanna know.

SS: What does it mean if you are burning fat or not? This is ketone but I want you to explain a little bit about that.

AM: What happens is as long as you eat carbohydrates, sugar and everything like it, your liver will energise your body, brain and your muscles using carbohydrates. When that runs out, the liver has a choice either between proteins and fats, and you want it to switch to fats, and when fat is broken down and energizes your body using ketone bodies, one residue is acetone. So when that happens you are using acetone and we measure that.

SS: Does it smell?

AM: Yeah it smells.

SS: Can you smell it?

AM: Yeah, but it's hard and this gives them a truth, it gives them a number of how much fat they are burning at the moment.

SS: So you’re gamifying people's diet, that might actually be a key to getting people to stick to it because I think finding the problem with all these diets is that you have never any idea of, if they work and is it working now and so you give up.

AM: Exactly.

SS: Very cool.

AM: You got the right point there.

SS: But how does the liver choose between protein and (fats).

AM: No one really knows, and that's the trick but these people, there's a trend around the world in ketone interest, people deliberately take away carbs and start eating a little bit more fat, and then if you kind of prime the pump before you eat a little fat in the morning, drink a little olive oil or something, or eat bacon or something then typically the liver will be kind of tricked into burning fat, and when it starts burning fat, it will continue as long as you don't...

SS: ...but that's how you lose weight?

AM: The only way to lose fat is to burn fat or you can cut it off.

SS: Can I ask you a completely stupid question? How do you make sure you have enough calories to do the work you need, like your brain? Is your body being a little too protective with those calories when it has to take them on its own?

AM: Yeah that's called starvation. And that's certainly not anything that you recommend, the thing is when you go into starvation you start breaking down your own proteins, so you start to breaking down your own muscle and convert that to glucose. That has nothing to do with fat. What we want to do is, because almost everyone has excess fat...

SS: ...so just get through the...

AM: ...and we want to kind of trigger them and give the user a number showing that yeah I'm really burning fat; healthy ketosis. That's typically normal and it happens around the world all the time. The reason why we as mammals have taken over the world, one of the reasons is that we have this hybrid engine. It can do anything. It can convert glucose to fat, it can convert fat to glucose and it can convert protein to glucose. So it's just amazing and now there are animals that can have that.

SS: So you’re trying to trick it to do the thing that's best for us.

AM: Yeah, that's what the keto people do and what we do is we get them a tool, to give them a number without doing a blood sample.

SS: So another question I want to ask you is, this is a small thing that you breath in, you can, we can take a picture of it later, so you produce this in Sweden, I know that Sweden has a great history of actually creating medical devices among other one of your oldest and best known brands, but seal it an expensive country, and do you find alternate ways of production, do you go to Shenzhen, I mean how do you go about building a product company?

AM: Yeah that was kind of an advantage with my engineering background. I thought that it was actually easier than I had thought, and given these things, I think the perception among entrepreneurs is that you can't do hardware in the western world but you can. Our product is built for 800 Swedish kronas in cost of goods and we sell it for 2,000 so we have a pretty good margin, and now that's the only added volumes of around 500 units within so far, it's like when volumes grow, we will certainly outsource the production somewhere.

SS: How do you build this sales channel?

AM: So we are really a B2B company and we started as a B company and that's why we are called Diversify, development devices to diversify other companies’ product portfolios but then Acetrack turned out so good and we have the brand around the world for Acetrack, the trademarks, so we decided to also start a little B to C operations. It's really not my strength so we are hiring a chief commercial officer now and we will build it from there. But we do have a lot of attention and people are getting excited, we're doing it in Sweden, Norway and the US.

SS: I think if you could connect this you know, basically this is also plugging into the whole Internet of things and helping us. We still don't want to swallow sensors but if we have something that is very available and that helps you manage your health, many of us we will do it. We still have no idea how to protect our data from ourselves and insurance companies and so on, but we will figure it out.

AM: Yeah.

SS: So one of the things that I'm thinking is that, first of all, making people understand the value of this. Second, making people more responsible for their own health by visualising all of these things, there's a front end to using it but there is the back end of seeing the data in a way that makes sense to you and educate you, it's of huge value for public health I guess.

AM: And I have to say the product we built so far is an mvp and the hardware works really nice and also the software but the next phase now for the rest of the year is to rebuild our app, rebuild our website and start to mind the data and do something with it, gamify it more as you said.

SS: With all the image processing it wouldn't be a big job to basically just take a simulation of people's bodies today and then show them where it will be in two months if they keep up the good keto. So what are the other projects?

AM: So two other projects and one is also a breathalyser that can detect if you have deep inhaled smoke, so it's a new deed in the way to quit smoking or rather a new deed in the way to prevent people from quitting smoking.

SS: Why is deep inhaled smoking a marker?

AM: If you are in a deep inhaled smoke, you will inhale carbon monoxides (CO), and that doesn't come out of the body until you breath it out, like you are within 10 hours from one cigarette, you will see if you smoked it, and we have a way to see that. And combining it with an app, you can kind of make your peers, your husband or children or your work colleagues say I'm gonna be smoke free and you gonna check me.

SS: Oh very cool, no cheating.

AM: And the third product is the *** of the crown I guess *** The crown is an ecg patch and put in the left exhaler and you watch the heart multi lead, you know several ecg curves continuously online affordable day and night.

SS: So you point it to the left side of your body and you use the medical arm, so in your left armpit and it's just a patch that sends your ecg data to your phone.

AM: Yeah, exactly. But the shape on the patch also has a gyroscope and accelerometer so it sees how you move, if you are lying down, if you are falling down, so it can really make alarms to your cardiologist and survey sports teams that want to do the surveillance while they do sports. It’s a number of...

SS: ...so you see one of the reasons I keep asking is that you also have a lot of experience in medicine, you are not a medical person but you understand the connections between these data and our health. How do you educate somebody like me, what should I be looking for in my cardiogram?

AM: Yeah exactly, you know in this case cardiology should be done through machine learning, first of all in machine trepidation to begin with then machine learning and then of course send the curves to a cardiologist, that's for sure but the thing is med tech, deep med tech, they haven't really digitized this, if you look at what, if you have a heart condition, my son has a heart condition, so if he gonna be surveyed for 24 hours, you get two kilos and twelve wires around his body and he carries that for around 24 hours, really cumbersome and really tapesick and if not online, there's really no sense of urgency among the med tech companies that the internet of things has evolved machine learning, AI is there, and we want to kind of revolutionise that.

SS: But even more so I think this is going to be challenging for doctors and for hospitals because first of all when we start this self diagnostic revolution, we are going to be very opinionated about all the things that aren't happening in our body, without any real skills to interpret them, which is why it's really important that somebody helps us visualise and connect them. You know people don't understand statistics and probabilities, doctors don't understand, But I think this is very important because the other example where your son has to walk around with two kilos...

AM: ...yeah only maybe once a year but still.

SS: But he can still do it, I was in a couple of years ago, three years ago in a scary situation where we thought there might be a cancerous growth inside my body and I went and did an MRI and it was sort of urgent and I did it in a private clinic because it wasn't possible to get quickly enough to, and they wouldn't give me my data, and they were going to send it to my doctor but you know it will take two days before they send it to my doctor and they wouldn't give me a copy and I was like, please give me a copy and I want to talk with someone about this, no, and it's about who owns this data and how are we able to understand our own data, I think there's a bit democratisation happening there, it turned out to be nothing in my case. But I think many people will object to the fact that they are not allowed to understand their own health data.

AM: Exactly. The whole relationship between doctor and patient is changing as we see now. We're kind of trying to help build affordable devices to help change that because I don't think they will change themselves and the health industry, it will have to be changed by the fact that people start using it. Like you have been doing in banking or in booking things or in getting friends, you’re doing everything with your phones but when it comes to your health, we count our steps. We have a scale, maybe we do blood pressure but that's all.

SS: Okay, so you are now a part of the Katapult incubator programme?

AM: Yeah, this is the last day today, I'm going back to Sweden actually, now.

SS: You've been missing Sweden, these three months?

AM: Yeah a little bit, I have to say.

SS: What have you been missing the most?

AM: In Sweden I guess it’s just friends and family and the sons and you know, I've really enjoyed Norway absolutely but it's not your own home and that’s having it so far.

SS: Being a fellow Scandinavian you can't complain about the weather.

AM: No I cannot complain about the weather, it's actually been great except this week but it has been really great and generally very nice. I think Norway is like a better version of Sweden many times, I have to say.

SS: You are been very very modest.

AM: No but I do think that. I do think that. You are our little brother and I like that.

SS: So if people are to read something more about your kind of biomarker digitalization where will you send them? What will you recommend, where do we start, just go to YouTube or?

AM: No, we can start on the Keto part on metabolism, there's a book called why we get fat by Garrett Tobe.

SS: You think he's mainly right? Is it a good book?

AM: It's a very good book, he's mainly right. He’s a New York Times writer but really into science and kind of disclosed the sugar industry and whatever, if the recommendations found in the US, dietary recommendations for almost 40 years now has only exploded obesity and exploded diabetes, so there's something wrong with the current recommendations to eat so much sugar and carbs, you know that. Anyway and then on the trend here you know getting everyone to understand their own health, I don't think there is a certain kind of book, I mean there's a lot being written about it, I think many are still very stuck on the fact that no one is actually acting, the pharma companies are not acting the IT companies are not acting and the med tech companies are not acting and the health industry is either, I mean the healthcare system so it's up to us to start ourselves.

SS: Would you like to give our readers a quote as a farewell gift?

AM: Yeah my motto has always been and in particular now as an entrepreneur it’s a motto from a character in a series I watched in the 70’s, Zeb Macahan, and he said never quit never lie. And when it comes to entrepreneurship, that's really what differs the good entrepreneurs from the bad ones, the good ones don't quit. And I don't think you should lie because that will only come back and bite you, but you should also not lie to yourself, if you are honest to yourself as an entrepreneur I think it will go hopefully good.

SS: Very cool, I will have to look up How the West Was Won.

AM: Yeah you should look at How the West Was Won. Absolutely.

SS: If people are to remember one thing from our conversation, what would you like it to be?

AM: Our conversation now? People should go out there and try to understand their own health, I think just by taking Google and start reading up and of course make sure that whatever you Google has the right sources, because there a lot more to be learnt than you typically would get from a doctor.

SS: Very nice. Anders Murman, the CEO and founder of Diversify, thank you so much for coming to learn and helping us understand better the new tools for understanding our own health.

AM: Thank you.

SS: And thank you for listening.

AM: Thank you for having me.

What are you doing at work?

As a startup CEO, I spend most of my time finding new funding, doing pitches and meeting potential investors. I also lead all the technical development of our products, and then I try to strike business deals.

What are the most important concepts in your technology?

That people want to monitor their chronic diseases and their individual health at home or wherever they are, but that 95 percent still are confined to primary care for measurements and evidence. We want to change this by building products and solutions that fulfil this unmet clinical need.

Why is it exciting?

The ups and downs, meeting so many new and interesting people, and not having a boss. And for me as an engineer – to build new technology that does not exist in the world market.

What do you think are the most interesting controversies?

The fact that the doctor/patient relationship is changing around the world at this moment.

Your own favourite projects?

Our ECG-patch has the potential to be the world’s first multi-lead. Completely wireless, online, continuous, inconspicuous and affordable ECG-solution that can monitor everyone’s heart.

Your other favourite examples, internationally and nationally?

I get inspired by so much impact tech, and Greta Thunberg of course.

How do you usually explain what you do, in simplest terms?

We develop and commercialise mobile electronic devices and app to monitor biomarkers for individual health – in new ways.

What do we do particularly well in Norway of this? Or why Katapult?

Norway are leading the way for the rest of the world in promoting sustainable and impact driven business, combined with scalability for the entire planet.

A favourite quote?

Never quit, never lie.

Anders Murman
CEO og founder
Deversify.com
CASE ID: C0404
TEMA: ENABLING AND DISRUPTIVE TECH
DATE : 190607
DURATION : 19 min
LITERATURE:
Why We Get Fat by Gary TaubesElon Musk by Ashlee VanceAll three books by Yuval Noah Harari
YOU WILL LØRN ABOUT:
Product development
Nutrition
Med-tech
Individualized health monitoring
QUOTE
"Our ECG patch has the potential to be the world’s first multi-lead. Completely wireless, online, continuous, inconspicuous, and affordable ECG solution that can monitor everyone’s heart."
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