LONDON, United Kingdom — Preventative healthcare company Thriva has completed a £6 million Series A funding round, taking its total raised to £7.5 million as investors fuel rapid growth in the home testing market.
Founded in 2016 by Hamish Grierson, Eliot Brooks and Tom Livesey, Thriva provides customers with at-home finger-prick blood tests which can reveal health markers that will better support their energy, fitness, risk of illness, mood, sleep and weight management.
Blood samples, which are sent in the post, are then analysed by a UKAS accredited lab “trusted by the NHS”, and in 48 hours a detailed report is provided with tips and advice from their dedicated team of GPs and nutritionists.
Previously Thriva has partnered with London restaurant and customisable food delivery service VitaMojo, helping customers personalise their meals based on deficiencies flagged up by their home blood testing kits.
According to a statement from the brand, which employs a team of 35, around 100,000 people have used its testing kits to date while the company continues to grow 100% year-on-year.
AN EXPANDING MARKET
Thriva is one of several startups that have recently emerged offering tests that bypass traditional healthcare providers, such as the NHS.
The companies can be divided into three main categories: blood tests to analyse health markers (such as Thriva, LiveSmart, Forth); DNA tests that assess the fitness potential of your genetic make-up (FitnessGenes, DNAFit); and microbiome tests which analyse gut health (Viome, Carbiotix, Atlas Biomed).
Beyond home testing kits, major players in the diagnostics market, such as F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Nova Biomedical, are adding considerable weight to this thriving sector.
According to a report released earlier this year by Grand View Research, the global “point of care” testing market size is expected to reach $22.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 3.3%.
The report suggests the increasing prevalence of chronic health disorders such as heart disease and cancer, is driving the public to take preventative steps to reduce risk of illness, propelling the use and development of home diagnostic kits.
A rapid rise in the research and development among the global key players to discover new testing kits and devices for rapid disease detection and monitoring is expected to fuel industrial progression.
For example, in February 2018, Siemens Healthineers received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) point of care tests, thereby enhancing its market presence.
BUCKING THE UK INVESTMENT TREND
Despite a recent UK squeeze on investment levels in early-stage start-ups this year, according to figures released by KPMG, Thriva is one of several home testing companies boosted by growing interest and investment in the sector.
Earlier this year, rival company Forth secured its first institutional investment from The Development Bank of Wales and a group of angel investors. While in 2018 employee health platform LiveSmart raised £1.25 million through the DigitalHealth.London investment programme, enabling the London-based startup to work with AXA to expand its offering in the UK and Asia.
Consumer awareness of the potential of this burgeoning market is one area Thriva hopes to tackle with its new investment. “Most people are still not aware that companies like Thriva exist,” CEO Hamish Grierson commented. “That is something we want to change as we build towards a truly consumer-led future of health.”
Speaking at the Welltodo Summit earlier this year, Grierson outlined his five-year vision for the company. “In five years time what will be substantially advanced will be the amount of data we are using to inform personal pathways,” Grierson said, adding that Thriva had been experimenting with supplementation to solve issues identified by its home-testing kits.
“Research recently confirmed we respond differently to the same foods,” he added. “That will become a mainstay of what we mean when we talk about ‘diet’. Fast forward five years and you will have a much tighter loop between symptoms and how you can address them and measure them, delivered responsibly so you don’t scare people. That’s the vision we’re aiming towards.”
Although home testing is on the rise, the jury is still out on the accuracy and reliability of the results they provide. Last year a study published in the journal Nature found up to 40% of the analyses of genetic disorders in some at-home testing kits were inaccurate.
Meanwhile, the NHS advises that an at-home test might be a useful starting point, but it shouldn’t be used as a complete diagnostic tool.