Mobile Medication Management Startup Connects Families Using OSS on Azure
Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is MediSafe from Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Forget to take your medications sometimes? You’re not alone. When Omri Shor’s father forgot, it turned into a serious emergency situation. Shor was shaken but was determined no other family would go through the same experience. His solution? MediSafe, a BizSpark startup designed to help families get healthier together.
“Medication mismanagement is comprised of a few different problems,” says MediSafe CEO Omri Shor. “Maybe the doctor told you to take a certain medication and you didn’t. Or maybe you simply forgot to take your medicine one morning. Whatever the reason, more than 700,000 people in the U.S. end up in the hospital because of medication issues and 35,000 of those people die from the mistake.”
Shor realized during his father’s emergency that families who stay connected to one another can help bridge the gap and ensure medications are taken as they should be. A participant in the first Accelerator in Israel, he discovered that not only could he create a viable solution to the problem; he could build a company that could help others worldwide. From there, MediSafe was born.
“The accelerator was an amazing experience,” he says. “It helped us work through the idea to grow the product – and the evidence is here. We have 16 employees today, have raised more than $7 million and claim more than 1.6 million users worldwide.”
Users of the personalized platform app (currently on iOS and Android but coming to Windows Phone soon) simply type in the medications and when they want to be notified about them. It can also track vital signs, send reminders to family members and provide discounts and coupons for medications. It’s also available in 13 languages.
From a technology standpoint, Shor chose to build his stack using Linux on Microsoft Azure, plus several open source software solutions. MediSafe uses 12 virtual servers, powered by Azure. MySQL powers the database, Java servers and scripts help manage necessary details and Apache Tomcat controls large-scale, mission-critical web applications.
“For me as a startup to buy 12 servers would have been impossible!” he says. “It would be very difficult to build what we have without Azure. It’s the glue that keeps everything together!”
The company also uses Apache Spark for its very fast in-memory, large-scale data-processing framework, plus Cassandra to filter the data prior to pulling it in for analysis. The combination saves a huge amount of data processing time, which helps MediSafe get information to users as quickly as possible.
“Azure and OSS lowered the bar for us,” says Shor. “We were able to take a minimal, viable product and obtain tens of thousands of downloads. That let us validate the product before we went for a very large round of investments.”
Shor’s not stopping with a top-ranking app, by the way. He’s currently partnering with universities and healthcare organizations to continue to spread the word about MediSafe. And he has some advice for younger startups.
“Listen to the market and the people in it,” he says. “Try to accommodate into your plan what they are telling you – and then make that plan happen. Just go step-by-step; don’t try to swallow the whole world in one bite.”
Microsoft is helping these startups succeed through its BizSpark program. To join or see other startup stories, visit us at our website here. To listen to our startups, check out these podcasts on devradio here.
About BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive up to $750 per month of free Microsoft Azure cloud services for 3 years: that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Azure works with Linux and open-source technologies such as Linux, Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.