- Founder and CEO of 11Health, Michael Seres, set-up the company from his hospital bed in 2013.
- A patient-led business, Michael founded 11Health following a very long battle with Crohn’s disease which ultimately led to Michael being only the 11th patient in the UK to undergo an intestinal transplant.
- His own experience as an ostomy patient led him to designing the initial Ostom-i prototype whilst still recovering from the transplant.
When and how did 11Health start?
Michael Seres: The idea behind 11Health was conceived at my hospital bed. I had become the 11th intestinal transplant patient in the UK and as part of surgery was given a stoma. This is where part of your intestine is brought to the outside of your body and your waste is collected in a bag known as a stoma bag. The problems are that you have no control over what comes out and when so I hacked a sensor using ebay and Youtube videos that would alarm when my bag was filling. That was the start of building a sensor for stoma patients. From there 11Health grew and a hacked sensor has become a smartcare platform.
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How is 11Health different from other medical technology companies?
I believe we are different for a number of reasons. Firstly we are a patient-led company. We have built the solution from the end user perspective rather than building cool tech and then trying to apply it to healthcare. At 11Health we do not make a change or develop a new service without all the end users being in the room right at the start of the design phase. This model is known as Everyone Included and was part of a solution I helped build at Stanford with their MedicineX programme which is the brainchild of Professor Larry Chu.
Secondly we look at providing solutions through the lens of a consumer rather than a patient. For example, if you can get dog food delivered to your door in 2hrs then your supplies should be shipped the same way. Our app has to be as engaging as any consumer facing app. So, we are trying to bring real world consumer ux/ui to the medical world.
What are 11Health’s plans for growth in the next 5 years?
Our focus right now is the US market. It has a patient population in our category of 1.5m and 120,000 brand new surgeries. Our goal has always been to be a global company so we see expansion in to Asia, Europe and the Indian subcontinent as the next steps.
In addition to expanding our reach we see a move out of ostomy in to the wider colorectal space and other disease states. Our Alfred SmartCare platform allows us to coach and provide remote monitoring and telehealth to non ostomy patients and I think this will be a big growth area for us.
Were there any significant challenges that were overcome to get to where you are today?
No day passes without there being challenges. I wake up every day unbelievably excited and unbelievably scared in equal proportions. At the beginning the challenges were different. 43 companies turned me down for funding saying I was a high risk patient who would be dead before the product came out. Now the challenges are different. We have 50 full time staff and 43 patient coaches so lots of my time is spent on ‘people issues’.
On reflection though perhaps the single biggest challenge is disrupting a sector in healthcare that has had no change in over 100 years.
The life of a start up CEO is a very lonely existence. I am privileged to have amazing mentors and friends to help me. However, as you grow as a business, the circle of trust becomes smaller and smaller.
For more information, visit https://www2.11health.com/