7 people peed on Asparagus! Here's what they said
Welcome to our weekly update on Dromadis Health! 👋
As usual, comments and feedback are suuuuper welcome. Email us, comment on this post, or just reach out for a chat, we’re friendly people! 😁
We’re building Asparagus, the first device that measures your diet balance, effortlessly. It works by analyzing your urine, directly from your toilet bowl. 🚽
This week, in short
We got our first 3D prototype device tested by 7 people, in 4 toilets, got a first partnership, and got involved in a massive research project to help detect cancer from urine! 👏
Week #9 accomplishments
🎉 We have our first real life 3D mockup
Wanna see? 👀
💧 Tested by 7 people in 4 bathrooms
Even in times of COVID, we managed to ethically share peeing devices so that people could try out the experience. Here’s our recap.
Finding the best position doesn’t just depend on if you pee standing up or sitting down. In some toilets (including mine), at the front is better in all scenarios. Other toilets just make it easy to use on the side. Didn’t expect so much variance there!
All users found it easy. Lowering the device slightly might make it even better. One sitting user reported “forgetting about it” in the second use, and remembering at the end before flushing because they were excited about results.
2 users found the device big at first impression, especially if it’s positioned at the front. They were fine with it after the first use. We kept in our toilet for the entire week, and honestly just stopped thinking about it.
Most flushes take care of it completely. “Feels clean”. In some bathrooms the flush only came from the back, problematic in that use case, need a better solution.
Got some basic results by inserting a paper urine strip in the device’s urine container. One user could actually interpolate that they needed to eat more acidic veggies (urine was slightly too alkaline). That user was “super excited” and they “wanted to pee on it” again a few hours later.
We got a lot of feedback from those first 7 users and will be iterating on the design accordingly!
If you want a little reminder of what we expect Asparagus to look like, check the gallery in our website 👇
🤝 New niche and first partnership
We know you might find Asparagus interesting. But some people desperately need one, even in its most basic form, right now. In order to have a solid go-to-market, we needed to identify these users, very clearly. So we looked for people who need to measure specific metrics in their urine.
A great use case is in the context of salt monitoring in clinical studies about hypertension or kidney disease. It is common for patients to have to measure their salt intake as part of the experiment. The current solution is:
Pee in a cup for 48 hours and store it in your fridge
Drop the sample at a clinic to get one measurement
Use food diaries to estimate salt intake
Doing it once is fine, but imagine doing it every week for a year, the length of a clinical trial. These kind of processes make recruiting patients for clinical trial ridiculously expensive. Furthermore, most studies can not rely on the inaccuracy associated with self-reporting, and need on-site testing to verify results.
The result: ~40% of the clinical trials in the UK are paused due to COVID.
Asparagus can allow a study’s investigators to monitor their patients’ sodium intake remotely, in real time. It would also provide researchers 100x more data than they currently have, with a daily granularity. We can make a difference in the space even before Asparagus is ready for sale to the direct consumer, and get usage data at scale.
This is why we have decided to target clinical trials related to hypertension, kidneys, heart, or nutrition balance as our initial market.
TL;DR – measuring salt intake is difficult but necessary in some clinical studies. We can make that process 100x easier and collect 100x data for the research with Asparagus.
We are also now partners with Neucruit to find clinical trials leads faster!
👩⚕️ First clinical trial: Re-imagine
Oh… and we got involved in a first clinical trials! Our advisor, Prof. Mark Emberton introduced us to the Re-imagine PCa project.
The project’s leaders have raised £16.8M to investigate early diagnostic methods for prostate cancer, partially from urine. The project is in collaboration with 4 universities and 14 commercial partners.
More on our involvement soon!
📮 Applied to the Innovate UK Smart Grant
With this new go-to-market in mind, we submitted a project development plan and applied for an Innovate UK Smart Grant.
It took us 48 hours of hard work, and our first team all nighter, but we made it! Thanks Ben, Agash and Liv for the precious advice!
💪 Prepared for Super Check-in
Super Check-in is Entrepreneur First’s mock investment process. It is happening next week! If all goes to plan we will be raising our first check from EF in Janurary 2021. This mock process is designed to help us prep.
During the weekend we wrote up and submitted our brief to the investment committee. Thanks Giovanni, Majed, Stefan, and Bernard for reading our application and giving us precious feedback!
We’ll keep you in the loop!
🖼 Oh, and we’re @dromadis on Instagram
Yes, we’re finally going public. More on this next week!
Why do I need an Asparagus?
You probably have a good understanding of how healthy your diet is. But can you actually estimate how much salt you had per day? What about minerals, do you have enough magnesium in your diet?
Fitness is three pillars: exercise, sleep, and nutrition. You can measure the first two with low effort by using wearables and build good, trackable habits. The improvement it makes on your health is so substantial that some private health care insurance providers will pay you to track your exercise.
But for nutrition, you need to manually enter and breakdown the ingredients in the meals in some app.
Truth is, we build unhealthy habits when “life gets in the way” and we stop keeping mental track of how well we’re doing on the three pillars. With a passive device, you can collect information about how well you’re doing to keep yourself accountable for your health, and catch yourself before your health habits are broken.
The result: 20% of deaths every year are linked with having an unbalanced diet. That’s 11M people dying every year of complications of hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, and avoidable health conditions should you eat better.
You don’t want that, and you deserve better. That’s why we’re building Asparagus.
💬 More customer development
👩⚕️ Get more clinical trials on board
🔧 Do more progress on the MVP
Happy thanksgiving to all our American friends! 🇺🇸
Rosalia and I are very thankful that you read our newsletter every week 😁
Thanks for reading our update, please leave a comment or question below. Feel free to share this newsletter with whoever you think will find it interesting!
See you next week 👋