London and Berlin-based, AI-powered health app maker Ada Health has raised $47 million (40 million euro) in a funding round led by global investment group Access Industries. June Fund, Cumberland VC, and entrepreneur William Tunstall-Pedoe also contributed along with existing investors.
Ada Health officially launched its app back in April after a soft launch in late 2016 and six years of research and development. It’s one of a handful of companies using artificial intelligence and natural language processing. It asks relevant, personalized questions and suggests possible causes for users’ symptoms. The company says more than 1.5 million people have used the app its initial launch.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Ada's download numbers.
“The future of healthcare lies in a much more patient-centric model where individuals have actionable insights at their fingertips, and doctors and artificial intelligence work together to support patients throughout their healthcare journey,” Daniel Nathrath, CEO and cofounder of Ada Health, said in a statement. "We’ve seen incredible traction since launch, receiving countless messages each day about how we’ve helped someone identify an important health issue and get to the right next step in their care. This is just the beginning, and we’re excited to enable even more people around the world to effectively manage their health.”
In addition to its chatbot functionality, Ada Health stores information from past conversations, and general health information entered by the user, in a secure cloud. Users in the UK can escalate from the app to chatting with a live doctor for $25 (18.99 pounds). Through a partnership with Karepack, users can even have medications that the doctor prescribes to them delivered to their home.
Ada Health will use the funding to strengthen its operations and continue developing its product. The company recently launched a German-language version of its app and is working on adding additional languages. It’s also opening a US office with the goal of expanding its telemedicine offering to include users in the states.
Another AI-powered next-generation symptom checker, Buoy Health, raised $6.7 million in August. And in the UK, health chatbot Babylon raised $60 million in January and has been deployed by the National Health System.
Companies like Ada Health, Buoy, and Babylon are hoping AI will offer a marked improvement on the current status quo of Googling symptoms or using decision-tree based symptom checkers like WebMD — not to replace doctors, but to provide a more robust first step on the healthcare journey.