Cognichoice: Frequently Asked Questions

From Anne Giles Clelland, co-founder of Cognichoice:

With 13,000+ health apps already in the App Store, isn't Cognichoice just another health app?

To simplify our pitch, we do refer to Cognichoice as a health app.  But Cognichoice is not just lines of code packaged as an app that a consumer downloads to a mobile device. It's a behavioral health software platform. That means, from the start, Cognichoice was designed for users to use and developers to build upon. Most health apps on smartphones are what they are, no more. We have an API in development so innovation will constantly be a part of Cognichoice.

Cognichoice Mug - Coffee, Tea and WeCognichoice is also not just another health app because it's evidence-based.  And unlike the estimated 95% of untested health apps, we want Cognichoice to be research-backed. We've gone through the very complex process of collaborating on a pilot study with an academic research hospital and seek other research partners. 

What is the business model for Cognichoice?

Cognichoice's initial customers will be companies and organizations in the health care industry who treat, manufacture products for, and educate people in the U.S. whose behavior-generated or behavior-maintained chronic diseases rank them among patients with the most expensive conditions to treat in the U.S. Today's reality is that providers get paid to treat sick people. If the people stay sick, providers still get paid.

The Affordable Care Act is a real business model-changer.  Grossly simplified, people will need to get well, or meet "health outcome standards" for providers to get paid. It's hard to heal patients during a 15-minute office visit when what they do outside of that visit – their behavior – keeps them sick. That's where Cognichoice comes in. Cognichoice fosters the personal consciousness and provides the social support, 24/7, that helps people make the healthy choices that can maintain or improve their health. Cognichoice is good for users and good for bottom lines.

Why haven't you brought in outside investors so far?

Angel investors seek investment opportunities that fit a standard return on investment formula, say 500% in 5 years. For example, an angel who invests $50,000 in 2013 might expect to receive $250,000 in 2018. A venture capitalist would want even better returns.

Here's the "opportunity" for investment in health IT innovations: a conservative, traditional industry in government-mandated flux; potential government regulation of taking that innovation to market, possibly requiring costly, labor-intensive, time-consuming research and testing; a long, long, long sales cycle; a market possibly saturated with over 13,000 competitors.  (We've personally discovered even more health IT barriers, I mean "opportunities.")

Would you invest in that "opportunity"? The only people crazy enough to sacrifice their talent, time and treasure to such a barrier-strewn endeavor would be the innovation's originators, the founders, who believe in the innovation as if it were a cause. And, perhaps, their friends and family members. That's where Cognichoice is. I've shared in this post how much we, and our family members, have backed Cognichoice.

Why did you crowdfund Cognichoice?

I shared the details of how we got the idea to crowdfund here, but the realities of the challenges an mHealth app faces,  plus the barriers for investors explained in the above answer, plus the additional health IT barriers we've encountered, plus the fact that we've burned through our own personal and friends and family funding (shared in this post), made us need to seek additional funding. 

And I'm an idealist. I want to believe that startups create jobs and contribute to regional economic development. Since starting my first company in 2008, I've wanted to contribute and be part of a regional, national and global economy. And I wanted to help show that the dream about crowdfunding a startup is true.

Was your crowdfunding of Cognichoice successful?

Our objectives for crowfunding Cognichoice were many.

In terms of dollars raised, we still have 8 days left to successfully meet our funding goal! Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change is crowdfunding on Health Tech Hatch right now! I've pitched small contributions for various reasons, $25 here (Choose the party as your thank you reward! We'll host it whether we meet our goal or not!) and $100 for the Cognichoice mug here.

And the VIP Cogniscenti Connection Trip to Global Technology Hub Blacksburg, Virginia, USA for a $5,000 contribution? Ooh, I would love to organize and host that!

In terms of PR, the success has been beyond my wildest dreams. Outside of those within our team, I have had more conversations about Cognichoice in the past 2 weeks than I've had in the previous 2+ years since we first began development. In getting the word out, it helps that our company, Handshake Media, specializes in online PR, but the connections that made those convos happen were initiated by Patricia Salber, founder of Health Tech Hatch, and Amanda Sina Griffith, health PR professional extraordinaire who created and championed this stellar press release for us. I am so grateful to them.

This FAQ is a direct result of those conversations. To those who have visited our site, followed our narrative on Handshake 2.0, studied our crowdfunding campaign page, tested our software platform and given us feedback, thank you! What inspiring questions to answer!

After our campaign ends on February 15, 2013, I'll be delighted to share more about our crowdfunding objectives and the degree to which we achieved them.

And to all of our contributors so far, the most heart-felt thank you!

. . . . .

We are crowdfunding Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change - on Health Tech Hatch through Friday, February 15, 9:00 AM EST. We invite you to contribute. 

Questions, feedback, comments?  I welcome them. Please email me, anne@handshake20.com, or call me, 540-808-6334. 

Who's in FRONT? Sandra Holt
Crowdfunding: It's Still Who You Know

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