Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek is launching a new startup which aims to shake up an industry even bigger than music: healthcare.
Neko Health will offer advanced full-body scanning to help doctors find and prevent disease. It’s launching after four years of research and development — and hopes to be a gamechanger for Europe’s beleaguered healthcare systems.
"Early detection and prevention of serious illness would mean that we can avoid both the human suffering and the high social costs that serious illness entails. With our technology and AI, that future is now a possibility. This could be the basis for a whole new era in healthcare," says Hjalmar Nilsonne, Ek’s cofounder and CEO of Neko Health.
The announcement today confirms a Sifted scoop from November that Ek was working on a new startup within healthtech.
Preventative care is key
The big problem that Neko Health is trying to solve is that today’s primary care system doesn’t give doctors the time and resources they need to focus on preventive care. Given the many challenges that healthcare is facing, Ek and Nilsonne believe it’s crucial that early detection and preventive care are made far bigger priorities.
"Hjalmar and I founded Neko with the insight that large parts of today's healthcare system were designed over 50 years ago. At the same time, healthcare has for a long time had an unsustainable cost trend and a heavily burdened medical profession. If we are to be able to reverse that trend, I'm convinced that healthcare needs to go from being reactive today to acting proactively. Isn't it strange that since 1965 we inspect our cars every year — but we wait until our bodies fall apart before we do something about it?" said Ek in a statement.
Neko Health has set up a new health clinic in Stockholm where the non-invasive treatments, which will take about 15 minutes followed by a doctor's consultation, will take place.
For a €150 patient fee, these examinations will collect over 50 million data points about the skin, heart, vessels, respiration, inflammation and more. Neko's technology is based on AI, and therefore the company expects its diagnostic ability to improve over time.
A moonshot venture
Ek and Nilsonne founded HJN Sverige, now Neko Health, in 2018 and have since had more than €30m invested in the company, mainly by Ek and his moonshot investment company Prima Materia.
The company opened a primary care clinic by the name of Atrium in Stockholm — which Sifted visited — in the autumn of 2022, when it was still in stealth.
Already then, the healthtech startup was advertising online that its full body-scanning programmes would soon begin and that it was looking for volunteers.
Documents from Swedish Companies Registration Office, which Sifted has seen, show that Neko Health raised another 51.5m SEK, approximately €4.5m, at the end of last year. According to the company, the raise was part of a larger funding round earlier in the year.
Now, it’s launched to the public, and Ek and Nilsonne have moved the body-scanning facility to a new clinic in the city centre — under the name of Neko Health.
A couple of hours after the news was published, a spokesperson for the company told Sifted that the clinic is almost already fully booked.
With the hype that Spotify managed to drive around its beta back in the day, it’s no surprise that this is creating a buzz among tech savvy people in Stockholm.