Munich-based Kaia Health raises €8.8 million for its app to treat back pain and other chronic conditions

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Back pain is one of the leading self-reported medical problems in the world. In the US alone, the condition is estimated to affect 100 million people per year. It’s also the number one reason why people are prescribed painkillers – which has in turn created an opiod epidemic.

Munich-based digital therapeutics pioneer Kaia Health has developed an alternative to treat back pain, through an app that utilises machine learning and computer vision to suggest individual therapies.

The startup has just raised €8.8 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital, which will be used to support Kaia Health’s rollout in the US, including a new office in New York City, and to fund further clinical studies.

Since launching in 2016, Kaia Health has created scientifically-validated digital treatments for both back pain and chronic inflammatory pulmonary disease. The Kaia back pain app has already been adopted by over 250,000 individuals, as well as organisations across Europe and the US, including some of Europe’s biggest health insurance companies.

Kaia Health uses the latest technology and works with medical experts to create a home-based, affordable and clinically-validated alternative to painkillers, delivered by a smartphone. Its app provides users with a daily plan which includes physical exercises, relaxation techniques, and educational content. Therapy is tailored for each user through the app via a proprietary algorithm which adapts the exercise program for each individual.

Konstantin Mehl, co-founder and CEO of Kaia Health, said: “Over the last twelve months, we’ve demonstrated a universal, unmet need for affordable and accessible digital therapy products, such as our world’s first computer vision-powered back pain app. These improve treatment paths for patients and reduce costs for payers in healthcare around the globe. Balderton’s investment will support the next stage of our journey, as we expand across the US, undertake further clinical studies and cement our position as a global leader in the digital healthcare market.”

Dr. Mani Rafii, board member of BARMER, Germany’s largest health insurance company, which has provided its customers with free access to Kaia, said: “We have to deal with a problem such as back pain with easily accessible and effective care. The bespoke training with Kaia is straightforward and applicable. Relaxation units and information modules can be used at home or on the go, making the holistic therapy ideal for everyday use.”

James Wise, Partner at Balderton Capital added: “Providing high-quality and affordable health care for everyone is an urgent issue. Kaia Health is helping to tackle this through its revolutionary technology, which we believe could offer millions of chronic-pain sufferers best-in-class clinical solutions from the comfort of their own homes. We look forward to being able to support Kaia on their mission to put treatment and pain management into the hands of patients and improve lives.”