Japan’s Dentsu Ventures invests in health tracking lab-in-a-box developer Cue



See the original story in Japanese.

Dentsu Ventures, the corporate venture capital of Japanese ad agency Dentsu (TSE:4324), announced today that it has invested an undisclosed sum in San Diego-based Cue, the startup developing a health tracking device under the same name. Financial details have not been disclosed. For Dentsu Ventures, this is the fifth investment in a startup followed by Jibo (communication robot), Agolo (curated content generation), Nextbit (cloud-based smartphone), Sensai (bigdata analasys), and others.

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Cue has developed a health tracking platform consisting of a lab-in-a-box device, five kinds of cartridges, and sampling sticks. By sampling saliva, blood, or mucous and using a cartridge intended for the symptom you want to know, the device can easily track inflammation, influenza, testosterone, and fertility. After completing an analysis, which typically requires several minutes, the device then sends the analyzed results to a mobile app so that you can check the status on your smartphone.

When the platform was launched, Cue initially sold it via pre-orders on their website so that an investigational device exemption was applied and no FDA approval was needed. However, the company says it will shortly launch full-scale sales upon approval from governmental health authorities in each country. They aim to start sales in Europe and Hong Kong in early 2016, in the US in 2016, and in Japan in 2017. Inspectable symptoms will be expanded to about 20 kinds from the current five.

Cue has said it may integrate their platform with Apple HealthKit. However, there is the possibility that they will also integrate with other healthcare platforms by tech giants, such as Samsung Digital Health and Google Fit.

Cue fundraised $1 million in a seed round, followed by securing $7.5 million in a series A round led by Sherpa Ventures with participation from life science-focused fund Immortalana. Immortalna also invested in Cue in an angel funding round.

Edited by Kurt Hanson