Daniel Ek, who started Spotify, is getting into the healthcare business. European news sites Sifter and Tech.eu reported earlier that Ek is one of the co-founders of a company called Neko Health that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to do body scans. This information comes from a post on LinkedIn.
The post says, “After four years of intense research and product development, we’re launching Neko Health today.” “Hjalmar Nilsonne and Daniel Ek started the company with the goal of making a health care system that can help people stay healthy through early detection and preventive measures.”
A translated version of Neko Health’s website says that the Swedish company’s non-invasive full-body scanner can find birthmarks, rashes, and age spots and measure how big they are getting. It also has a separate scanner that looks for problems with the heart, blood pressure, and pulse all over the body.
Neko says that the company’s 360-degree body scanner has more than 70 sensors that collect more than “50 million data points on skin, heart, vessels, breathing, microcirculation, and more.” This information is then analyzed by an “AI-powered system that learns on its own,” which tells doctors and patients what the results are. Clients get their results at their appointment, and they can also use an app to see and keep track of their results.
In a post on LinkedIn, Nilsonne says, “Our goal is to build a proactive healthcare system that focuses on preventing diseases.” He says this because healthcare costs are going up in Sweden and the rest of the European Union. Neko says that the full-body scans only take a few minutes and can be done by anyone in Sweden for 2,000 SEK, which is about $190 USD. At the time this was written, all of the scans had already been bought.
It’s not too surprising that Ek is getting into the healthcare business. Since November, rumors have been going around about the startup, and Ek has been hinting for a long time that he wants to work in healthcare. The Financial Times reported in 2013 that Ek “spends his free time thinking about how to fix a “messed-up” healthcare system.” He said at the time, “I’m not the inventor, but I might be the only one stupid enough to go against the system and try to beat it on its own terms.”
It’s too early to say what kind of effect Neko Health could have on the healthcare industry, but it sounds good. In the past, similar technologies have come out. For example, Facebook and New York University worked together to use AI to speed up MRI scans, and researchers used AI to scan your retina and figure out your risk of heart disease. But Neko Health uses this technology on a larger and more accessible scale, and it’s exciting to think about what it could do.