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Kiuas Startups – Health companies going beyond tracking

It could be said that the increased amount of health apps have turned into a phenomenon. But what is it like to operate in such a competitive field?

Mari Liukkonen

July 19, 2019

Almost everybody measures their steps, sleep, different habits, and general well-being. The market is buzzing – we could even talk about a growing trend of health and well-being services. The trend is visible also in Kiuas Accelerator batch of 2019: here are two of our startups working in the healthcare field.

Nyxo is a device-independent mobile application, meaning you can pair it with your favorite tracking device or even participate without any additional gadgets. Consisting of a personalized 4-week coaching program and advanced sleep tracking capabilities with social and gamified elements, Nyxo is your best training partner to gain control of your sleep.

Emooter is an app that helps people and teams improve and sustain their well-being at work. Based on short discussions with Emooter’s Virtual Work Well-being Guide you get personal feedback, ideas, nudges, and job crafting challenges – all based on scientific research and all aiming for improved well-being. For teams and organizations, Emooter offers continuous and reliable analysis of well-being based on scientifically valid measures.

The changing world of healthcare

“Healthcare has traditionally been very reactive to problems already surfaced. Driven by technology, it has become economically feasible to provide preventative care – physical and mental – to us all,” comments Kiuas Accelerator coach Kaj Hagros, a VC investor with Redstone and chairman at preventative occupational healthcare company Heltti. “And it makes all the difference. Health, mental capacity, longevity, and happiness are purposeful aspirations for startups – and mankind.”

The way people see health and taking care of it has changed during the years.

“People have started to think that there’s more to well-being than sleeping 8 hours every night, walking 10k steps a day, and eating according to the nutrition model,” Eeva Siika-aho, the Co-Founder of Nyxo, explains the background. “People are looking for more individual solutions that suit them personally. ”

When people are looking for custom made solutions, it also opens a new kind of market for different actors. There are more options available than ever, but not all of them are reliable.

“Not all services out there are based on scientific research. Making well-being decisions based on unreliable or misleading information can be ineffective or even harmful both to people and organizations,” states Dani Pärnänen, the Co-Founder of Emooter.

More than just tracking

When talking about well-being and health, it’s obvious that the definition of the term is not that simple. Both Eeva and Dani agree that well-being is a broad subject and a holistic matter. That’s why it’s particularly important that one doesn’t just track her habits for the sake of tracking.

“If the only feedback that you get from an app or a device is a red alarm – it’s not enough,” Eeva tells the other side of the countless health apps available. When an individual is tracking something, they should get guidance for the next steps and clear action points.

That’s why both, Emooter and Nyxo, offer more than just tracking. For both of them, the feedback from the results is one of the most centric things in their service – and it’s also the thing that makes the difference among competitors.

Sometimes the most beneficial thing is to invest in well-being. “But merely surveying or tracking can be like looking into the rear-view mirror. People should consider services that not only provide the analytics but also guide you towards better well-being,” Dani explains.

Competition can be a good thing

As said, the market is big and there is a lot of competition: not only in Finland where health tech is a big thing but also around the world. 

“Healthcare industry is slow to change but promisingly quick to adapt and partner. If you look at the latest innovations, it is mostly driven by startups, like Oura, Meru Health or Kaiku Health here in Finland. Despite enormous global activity, there are no dominant designs or winners yet. This all really started just 10 years ago,” Kaj explains.

Some people could see it as a threatening factor, but Eeva and Dani see the positive side in the competition as well.

“We try to see different factors affecting well-being as complements supporting each other. That’s why in a big industry like this, we see competition as more like a possibility for cooperation between different startups but also between startups and corporations,” Dani opens the possibilities.

When there are more companies in the complex market like health and well-being, there are a lot of possible synergies, for sure. Despite the ecosystem-in-making, finding the differentiative factor is now more important than ever.

“Our solution is not tied to specific trackers or anything like that, so we’re not too worried about the competition,” Eeva explains. “We believe that there’s an increasing demand for research-based solutions.”

Eeva thinks that sometimes it's a good sign that you’re not the only player in the game: “When there’s competition, you must be on the right path even in some way.”


Nyxo and Emooter are taking part in Kiuas Accelerator. Get to know the whole batch of 2019 here!

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Mari Liukkonen

July 19, 2019