Yael Katz | How BrainCheck is Democratizing Cognitive Health
Interview Transcript of Yael Katz | How BrainCheck is Democratizing Cognitive Health
Alan Olsen: What brought you to co founding Braincheck?
Yael Katz : If a person has a concern that they’re losing their memory or not able to think as clearly as they used to, it’s actually very difficult to ascertain whether that is something real that one has to be concerned about or something that’s in their mind and it’s because it requires not only going to the doctor but several series of referrals in order to get a cognitive assessment. And so my co founder, David Eagleman and I decided to digitize cognitive tests. And what we intended to do was democratize cognitive health to give everybody who is upstream of the neuropsychologist, insight into how their brain is performing.
Alan Olsen: So before you stepped into this arena, were you already working clinical?
Yael Katz : Not really, my background is in physics, neuroscience and biological informatics- it’s basically looking at how information is processed by biological systems. And then I spent a little bit of time in management consulting, which is a really good place to go if you don’t know exactly where you want to be. And then I was part of the early team at a tech company in New York City called JW Player. Subsequent to that I was just looking for where I could make a difference? Where can I apply my skills to solve an important problem and that’s in a roundabout way how I came into doing Braincheck. I met David, a little bit randomly, actually. And we decided to, to turn this idea that actually came originally out of his lab at Baylor College of Medicine into a company. I definitely did not begin with kind of the end in mind, it was a meandering path to kind of get there. I think it’s interesting with technology commercialization, in a certain way, it’s the inverse problem of how a lot of traditional businesses start. Right? So it’s kind of like, people are hungry, so I’m going to start a pizza shop to give people food. It starts with the problem and then you propose the solution. Whereas with technology salute, technology commercialization, oftentimes, you have technology that you develop, and then you’re asking, what can this do? What problem can that solve? And I think that in our case, that was a lot of what we did.
Alan Olsen: After five years of working at this, what stage is the company at right now?
Yael Katz : In investor terms, we’re post Series A, so essentially, we have a working business, which is very exciting. Finally, things are predictable and repeatable. And so specifically, our customers are doctors who are in private practice. So primary care neurology practices and physician groups, and we have about 200 of them. So the company’s going really well. And one of the statistics we’re most proud of is our retention rates, we have 98% retention rate. So we are acquiring customers quickly and they really stick with us, they like what we have to offer. So the company is generating revenue and, and growing quickly.
Alan Olsen: If I want to use Braincheck’s services, what process would my physician’s group go through?
Yael Katz : Typically what we would do would be a demo for you, so So show you how the product works. Depending on how large your organization is, we would either do that virtually over the web, or we would come out and see you and do it in person. And your doctors would get to try this out. And we would work with you to implement it in your group. Sometimes it’s not the doctor who’s actually administering the test, it’s either q medical assistant or sometimes the patients can actually take the test at home and the results are available for the doctor. And so would show the reporting and we have an admin dashboard for different people in your office. So it show all that to you and then you’re going to like it so much, you’re going to go ahead and buy it. There’s a subscription and then depending on how much you use, there’s also a volume based pricing so we would set you up with all that.
Alan Olsen: And so essentially you’re, you’re identifying the different cognitive brain disorders are for diagnosis and treatment?
Yael Katz : Sort of, so you can kind of think about us like a thermometer for brain health. So we’re basically measuring how well persons performing in different cognitive domains. And so, there’s a whole bunch of different modalities, that a person has, different types of memory, executive function, visual attention, and so forth. And so basically, we have these different tasks that a person has to complete and we measure speed and accuracy on those tasks. And based on that, we can basically determine how well a person’s performing according to their own baseline over time tracking over time, and then also comparing them to our normal normative database. So people who are normal and healthy for their age. And based on that, determine, you know, how are they are performing these different modalities. And then the doctor takes that information and uses it to make a diagnosis.
Alan Olsen: It seems like the uses for brain check are very far reaching. When you talk about cognitive thinking that, you know, we don’t all think alike, we don’t problem solve a like, you’re you’re addressing the diagnosis in a clinical sense, but in the business or the entrepreneur sense there’s also mindsets how you need to build diversity in mindsets. Do you have plans to reach into this other area?
Yael Katz : So actually, that’s been one of the biggest challenges with coming up with our business model. Since Braincheck has so many uses, there are so many different things that Braincheck can do. It was really important for us to pick one and to hyper focus on one use case and not trying to do so many different things. Right now, at this stage in our company, we’re focused squarely on health care and the clinical use case, so, when does a person have clinically significant impairment in different areas, that’s our question, as opposed to, you know, optimizing one’s brain, you know, to become a better athlete or performer or in business sense, as you mentioned, to look at, you know, different personality traits, and you know, who’s likely to succeed in different kinds of jobs. I think those are super interesting, and something that I would love to do as a future direction in a few years, when we got the clinical piece, up and going, but right now, we’re squarely focused on that clinical use case.
Alan Olsen: How does a person go about contacting you to to sign up for services?
Yael Katz : Ask your doctor about Braincheck. I think that so many people have in the back of their mind. Oh, you know, I really wish that, I could get my brain checked. Sorry about the pun there. Or if you’re worried about a family member, ask your doctor about brain check, and we would love to have your doctor, contact us and show them a demo.
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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.
Alan Olsen, is the Host of the American Dreams Show and the Managing Partner of GROCO.com. GROCO is a premier family office and tax advisory firm located in the San Francisco Bay area serving clients all over the world and is a proud sponsor of the American Dreams Show. For more interviews and information about the American Dreams Show, please visit our home page.
Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio
For decades, doctors and scientists have relied on pencil-and-paper tests to measure brain health. But modern technology enables us to bring these tests into the 21st century and offer people everywhere easy, affordable access to their brain health from wherever they are. Backed by 20 years of research conducted at the Eagleman Neuroscience Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine, we empower people everywhere to take control of their cognitive health Our goal is to help people of all ages understand what’s happening in their brain, while improving concussion and dementia care along the way. With our easy-to-use interactive tests, users can track their brain health on an iPad, iPhone or browser and receive results on the spot, both compared to their individual baseline and to the population average. In less than 10 minutes, we test multiple cognitive domains, and results can be shared (in a HIPAA-compliant manner) among a person’s care team — individuals, family members, caregivers, and clinicians. All too often, people don’t realize that they have cognitive impairment until it has progressed to the advanced stages. We get everyone on the same page and facilitate collaboration on brain health so that people can be aware of changes early and track progress over time.