Meet We fight, a French startup that has developed more than a dozen apps to help people with chronic conditions. A simple chatbot interface allows people to ask questions and get answers about their illness.
The startup recently raised a â¬ 11.6 million (â¬ 10 million) financing round from Digital Health Ventures, Impact Partners and existing investors Investir & + and BADGE’s business angels.
Wefight has developed its own app for every chronic illness. They are all based on the same virtual assistant called Vik. There are currently more than a dozen apps on depression, asthma, multiple cancers, etc.
Essentially, Vik acts as the interface between the patient and the content of Wefight. The company developed everything in-house, from natural language processing technology to the framework Wefight uses to build new apps.
Every time a patient asks a question, the service tries to understand the meaning of the question and finds relevant information in the knowledge base.
It can then pass on content to the patient and make it available. The content has been written by professional pharmacists and tries to be as informative and neutral as possible. So you don’t necessarily have to wait for your next doctor’s appointment to go through your questionnaire.
âVik is not going to replace anyone on the care path. It’s there to fill a void, âCo-Founder and CEO Benoit Brouard told me.
And there actually seems to be a loophole. More than 400,000 people have tried the service so far. Vik has provided 5 million answers. Wefight currently has 70 employees. Wefight tries to find new users by talking to patient organizations.
In the business model, Wefight works with pharmaceutical companies to fund new apps. In order for a treatment to be a commercial success, it must be ensured that patients can recognize the chronic illness they are suffering from. And Vik acts as the top-of-the-funnel content provider.
âWe reduce clinical inertia. If a lab decides to fund Vik Asthma, the lab has no control over the content we create, âsaid Brouard. “Laboratories want patients with asthma to see a pulmonologist,” he added.
In this way, the pool of patients who may buy a particular drug is larger. It’s a kinky sales strategy for pharmaceutical companies. But something like Vik could improve patients’ quality of life.
With today’s financing round, the company wants to expand into other countries with a new office in Berlin. Every time Wefight launches an app in a new market, the company hires local health workers and contacts local patient organizations. It’s a long process, but that’s how Wefight can get it right for patients around the world.