Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition. Once symptoms of diabetes have developed into the condition, the body will then be unable to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. It can eventually lead heart disease and strokes.
But a startup called Tictrac is looking to help prevent the disease with an intuitive platform that empowers people to live healthier lives through AI and the thoughtful use of data
The company, which is backed by tennis champion, Andy Murray, was founded by a man called Martin Blinder, and has now grown to be a successful platform. It combines a user’s lifestyle signals, from their apps and wearables, with contextual information about their surroundings – guiding them to achieve their health objectives, such as preventing Type 2 Diabetes or reducing stress levels.
We spoke to Martin, an entrepreneur who previously co-founded two businesses in Spain, to hear where his idea for TicTrac came from and his plans for the future.
Start off by telling us: what is TicTrac?
Tictrac is an intuitive platform that empowers people to live healthier lives through AI and the thoughtful use of data. The platform combines a user’s lifestyle signals, from their apps and wearables, with contextual information about their surroundings – guiding them to achieve their health objectives, such as preventing diabetes or reducing stress levels.
Healthcare providers, reinsurers and insurance companies – such as Munich Re and Aviva – use our platform and analytics to engage their customers and recommend relevant products and services to them; ultimately reducing the cost of care provision. We’ve also teamed up with the Singapore Health Board recently to launch a health engagement platform which is available to the country’s entire population free-of-charge.
We have a dedicated Engagement Services Team which specialises in working to fully maximise levels of end-user adoption by offering a variety of tools, messaging and campaign ideas. This customised engagement service ensures uptake of the technology is maximised and business needs are met.
What do you think makes it distinct to any other companies?
Tictrac differentiates from competitors by offering a solution that’s deeply rooted in research and experimentation, as well as expertise and resources to maximise end-user engagement.
And what’s your personal background?
I was born in Argentina, raised in the US, spent some time in Spain and now call London my home – so I have quite an international background, and believe this is part of the reason that Tictrac, in spite of our relative youth, has a roster of clients that span three continents.
During my time in Spain, I co-founded two businesses that made successful exits, following which I became Head of Creative at Google’s digital agency of choice, Essence, which was acquired by media giant GroupM, so have a strong consumer web and digital marketing background. It was during my time at Essence that my colleague, Oliver MacCarthy (now Head of Design at Tictrac), and I first threw some ideas around. Over long discussions early in the morning and late at night, we recognised the potential for wearable technology and the app ecosystem, then in their infancy. We explored the possibilities behind creating a platform which gleans consumer data from these new technologies across consumers’ their everyday lives; giving them relevant information to improve their health.
We got an early boost when, armed with a prototype and no experience of the health industry other than the occasional chat with my oncologist sister, we won the ‘Best New Company’ award at the prestigious Health 2.0 conference in 2012.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your company?
Every day feels like it brings the next ‘biggest’ challenge. However, there was key decision we made just under three years ago that even still today represents our biggest challenge. We knew that our consumer-focused approach to health would have a real impact on people’s lives and the healthcare industry in general. We took the decision back in 2014 to jettison any and all initiatives that weren’t focussed on this goal, in order to align our entire organisation around consumer health engagement. It was a major challenge at the time – not only to our bottom line – but also because we were acting purely on the faith and confidence we had in our team’s ability to achieve this major challenge. I can happily say today, that we’ve never looked back.
What’s your biggest milestone / which are you most proud of?
I’m a firm believer that my ‘greatest achievement’ is still to come. That’s not to say I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. As an entrepreneur, having built a company where I’m in control of my own destiny – where every day we’re doing what we love and solving real, human challenges – that’s what it’s all about.
Co-founding a couple of businesses in Spain was fantastic, and the work we’ve done with Tictrac in winning global contracts with some of the world’s biggest health providers and insurers has been incredibly rewarding too, but looking to the future keeps me driven and excited.
What is your business model? How have you monetised your product?
The Tictrac platform is free for end-users (consumers) to use. We charge our clients – insurers, governing bodies etc.
Will you be looking for more funding?
Though we are always interested to speak with organisations interested in what we are doing at Tictrac, we are not actively seeking investment at this time and are approaching break-even. If we take on funding, we’d like it to be to finance our growth rather than our existing operations.