Molekule hopes to clear the air with $58 million in Series C funding and Berkeley Lab’s seal of approval

Silicon Valley air purifier startup Molekule was born out of an idea Dr. Yogi Goswami had back in the ’90s using photo-voltaic technology to kill air pollutants. His son, a young boy at the time, suffered from severe allergies and Dr. Goswami wanted to build something those like him could use in their home to clear the air. But the sleekly designed Molekule took a bit of a blow last fall when Wirecutter called it “the worst air purifier we’ve ever tested.”

Molekule has since told TechCrunch comparing its PECO technology to the more common HEPA air filter technology is like comparing apples to oranges. “Up until now, everything has been air filtration, not real air purification,” co-founder and CEO of the company Jaya Rao told TechCrunch.

To disprove the naysayers, Molekule sent off its tech for testing at the Berkeley Lab, which concluded no measurable amount of VOC’s or ozone were emitted; Molekule effectively removed harmful chemicals in the air, like toluene, limonene, formaldehyde, as well as ozone, and that “no secondary byproducts were observed when the air cleaner was operated in the presence of a challenge VOC mixture.”

Compare that to Wirecutter’s own assessment that, “on its auto setting, which is its medium setting, the Molekule reduced 0.3-micron particulates by (in the best case) only 26.4 percent over the course of half an hour. Compare that with the 87.6 percent reduction the Coway Mighty achieved on its medium setting.” TechCrunch reached out to Wirecutter and was told it still stands by its findings and does not recommend consumers purchase a Molekule.

It should be noted Consumer Reports also tested the Molekule device and it, too, did not recommend a purchase as the unit was not “proficient at catching larger airborne particles.” However, Molekule demonstrated to other news outlets at its own facilities that the photochemical reaction in its units did break down contaminants and kill mold spores.

“To test PECO technology you actually need really sophisticated equipment,” Rao said. “Boiling it down to really simple factors is not enough because air is made up of many tiny but toxic things. These are air-borne chemicals nanometers in size, which Wirecutter admittedly did not test at all for.”

Wirecutter’s Tim Heffernan disputes Molekule’s claims of superiority in the category, however. “Now they are comparing apples to oranges,” he told TechCrunch. “The claims about destroying bacteria and viruses, for example, HEPA filters capture them and they capture them permanently.”

So how’s a consumer to know what’s right? First, take into account Molekule commissioned the Berkeley Lab for their independent testing and that Wirecutter and Consumer reports ran their own independent testing. However, it might boil down to understanding the premise of the technology. HEPA filters came out of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, when scientists needed to develop a filter suitable for removing radioactive materials from the air. It works by capturing and filtering out harmful particles, viruses and mold. However, PECO, the technology in a Molekule unit, uses the science of light to kill mold and bacteria and break down harmful particulates in the air.

Regardless of whether you want an air purifier that captures particulates or breaks them down, Molekule has continued to move forward. The company has since launched a mini unit meant for smaller rooms and started to grow business verticals outside of the direct-to-consumer model, forging partnerships with hotels and hospitals.

It also just announced a raise of $58 million in Series C funding, bringing just over $91 million to its coffers. Rao tells TechCrunch the raise was unexpected, but came out of chats with Samantha Wang from RPS Ventures, which led the round.

“We feel confident in Molekule’s PECO technology, and have taken an extensive look at the science behind it. It is not only backed by decades of academic research, it has also gone through the peer-reviewed process numerous times, and has been tested and validated by third-party scientists and laboratories across the country,” Wang told TechCrunch.

Other participation in the round included Founder’s Circle Capital and Inventec Appliances Corp (IAC). Existing investors Foundry Group, Crosslink Capital, Uncork Capital and TransLink Capital also participated in the financing.

Molekule also tells TechCrunch it has seen a healthy growth trajectory in the past year, despite the negative press. According to the company, Molekule has seen a 3x increase in year over year filter subscription revenue since launch, and its repeat customer growth sits at about 200%.

It’s a well-designed, though pricier air purification machine with an interesting future in the commercial space, particularly in hospitals, schools, commercial manufacturing and hotels, as Wang points out.

As long as the tech truly makes the air better.

Real estate startup Homie plans to expand to more cities with $23 million in Series B funding

Homie has made an impression among younger, first-time home buyers in the Utah and Arizona markets for cutting out the traditional closing costs, 6% real estate commissions and arduous paperwork associated with traditional home sales. It now plans to explore opening up in three new markets and will begin a Vegas launch in March with a fresh infusion of $23 million in Series B equity financing.

While most real estate outfits now cater to customers online, Homie takes a different approach, employing real estate agents who will help them through the process but who don’t take a commission. Instead, sellers get a $1,500 flat fee and buyers and sellers are guaranteed built-in attorney assistance for the negotiation process.

The 6% traditional commission associated with the home-buying process has been around for decades. However, it has also come under fire from the Department of Justice, which recently disagreed with a motion from the National Association of Realtors to dismiss several civil lawsuits lobbied against the organization. The move hints that the U.S. government may see these fees as archaic and unjustified, as well.

How do traditional agents feel about a proposed loss of commission? Those outside of Homie TechCrunch spoke to on anonymity have said it often takes more work with less pay to close a deal this way. However, that structure seems to resonate with Homie users. Through Homie, the company claims to have saved over $55 million in commissions, with a revenue growth of 150% over the past year. This bodes well for the company, if true.

The ability to expand is also a possibly good marker for the health of the company. Homie co-founder Johnny Hanna told TechCrunch previously he’d looked at the Vegas area, as well as Dallas for expansion.

A few other places we could see Homie pop up in the next year include Boise, Seattle, Colorado Springs and Nashville.

The other new news out of Homie this year is the addition of real estate adjacent services like Homie Loans™, Homie Title™ and Homie Insurance™, all of which serve to streamline the process for customers.

“Buying or selling a home is expensive and time-consuming because of all the different companies you have to work with,” Hanna said in a statement. “Communication becomes a game of telephone because of all the parties involved. We are disrupting the traditional model and saving customers thousands of dollars by combining technology, a team of experts, and a one-stop-shop for real estate. Technology has changed everything except the real estate business model. That time has finally come.”

With $30 million in fresh funds, The Bouqs plans to plant its flower delivery business in Japan

The Bouqs plans to take a slice of Japan’s $6 billion flower market this year with a $30 million strategic growth round from Japanese enterprise business investor Yamasa. While The Bouqs still must compete with bigger contenders like 1-800-Flowers and FTD in the U.S., it will now have to take on incumbents like Ayoma Flower Market and FloraJapan, both of which also offer same-day delivery throughout the land of the rising sun.

So why Japan? According to The Bouqs founder and CEO John Tabis, his company had been looking to expand internationally for awhile and Japan seemed to fit well within that plan.

The Bouqs CEO and founder John Tabis

The Bouqs CEO and founder John Tabis

And as far as bigger competition in any country, Tabis is undeterred, telling TechCrunch there’s plenty of opportunities in the flower delivery business if you know where to look. “There’ve been four or five other startups that tried something similar — some of them no longer exist,” Tabis said. “But the thing that’s worked for us, the first is the way that we’ve sourced is unique and it’s really the foundation of our brand.”

The Bouqs sprung up in a wave of Silicon Valley funded flower delivery startups like BloomThat, Farm Girl and  Urban Stems, all promising Pinterest -worthy bouquets at the click of a button. But what set it apart was its farm-direct supply chain, cutting out costs from middlemen and delivering flowers that last longer.

This particular round now puts The Bouqs up top as far as total funding raised among its flower delivery startup peers, bringing in $74 million in total funding to date, with competitor Urban Stems at a close second with $27 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

Tabis also tells TechCrunch the new funds will also further the company’s development into brick-and-mortar stores and that it’s jumping into the wedding biz. As anyone who’s ever planned a wedding will tell you, it’s an industry ripe for disruption — with brides and grooms spending about 8% of the budget on the flowers alone.

One other renewed focus for the company will be its subscription business, keeping customers set up with a fresh bunch of flowers once the old bouquet is ready for tossing. “It’s sort of the linchpin of our business that’s grown very nicely…expanding both our revenue and profitability,” Tabis told TechCrunch.

The SVP of Yamasa, Norikazu Sano, also mentioned further expansion into Asia for the company in a company press release so we could see the Bouqs in more international areas over time, if all goes right in Japan.

“This financing will enable us to fully realize our vision to create a global network of top quality farms paired with a category-defining local floral brand enabled by proprietary supply chain technology and vertically-integrated sourcing capabilities. We’re so excited for this next phase of the business, and all of the opportunities that lie ahead,” Tabis said.

Court rules Mike Rothenberg must fork over more than $31 million to settle SEC allegations

Mike Rothenberg, the once high-flying VC bent on bringing the party to Silicon Valley, must now pay a whopping $31.4 million to settle a California federal court ruling in favor of Security and Exchange Commission allegations.

TechCrunch deemed Rothenberg a ‘virtual gatsby’ back in 2016, when we first broke the news about the downfall of his venture capital firm, Rothenberg Ventures. It seemed he took it as a compliment, changing his instagram handle to @virtualgatsby. Indeed, the name seemed appropriate for a man who seemingly lived a party boy lifestyle and spent lavishly to woo startup founders — including going on Napa Valley wine tours, holding an annual ‘founder field day’ where he rented out the whole San Francisco Giants’ baseball stadium and spending unsparingly to executive produce a video for Coldplay.

But the party life came to a halt when top leadership jumped ship and the SEC started looking into the books. The SEC formally charged Rothenberg in August of 2018 for misappropriating millions of dollars of his investors’ capital and funneling that money into his own bank account. Rothenberg settled with the SEC at the time and, as part of the settlement, was barred from the brokerage and investment advisory business for five years.

Rothenberg was later caught up in several lawsuits, including one from Transcend VR for fraud and breach of contract, which ended in a settlement. Another suit between Rothenberg and his former CFO, David Haase, ended with Rothenberg being ordered to pay $166,000 in damages.

But there was more to come from the SEC, following a forensic audit in partnership with the firm Deloitte showing the misuse or misappropriation of $18.8 million in investor funding. Under that examination, Deloitte showed Rothenberg had used the money either personally, to float his flashy lifestyle, or for other extravagances such as building a race car team and a virtual reality studio. Rothenberg has now been ordered to pay back the $18.8 million he took from investors, another $9 million in civil penalties, plus $3.7 million in interest.

Neither the SEC nor Rothenberg have responded for comment. It’s also important to note none of the charges so far have been criminal but were handled in civil court, as the SEC does not handle criminal cases. 

Through all of it, Rothenberg never admitted any guilt for his actions and it is important to note that, because of this in admission of any wrongdoing, he will be able to practice again after the bar is lifted in five years. He’s also made some decent early investments in startups like Robinhood and many investor sources TechCrunch spoke to over the years seemed quite loyal to him as an investor, despite the charges, employee mass exodus and fund implosion that followed. 

And it seems this saga is not over yet. Rothenberg told MarketWatch in a recent interview that he thought the ruling was, “historically excessive and vindictively punitive,” that he planned to appeal it and would be suing Silicon Valley Bank, which Rothenberg used to funnel several investments, over the matter. 

Rothenberg Ventures already filed suit against Silicon Valley Bank in August of 2018, the same day the SEC filed formal charges against Rothenberg himself. In that suit, Rothenberg alleged negligence, fraud and deceit on the part of the bank and sought a trial before jury. Silicon Valley Bank said it would defend against the case at the time.

We’ve reached out to Silicon Valley Bank and are waiting to hear back. The real question is, if Rothenberg were to come back to investing in Silicon Valley, would anyone still trust him? 

Wear your helmet, concludes new study showing electronic scooter injuries have nearly tripled in the last four years

Taking a ride on an electronic scooter soon? Wear your helmet! According to a recent study published in JAMA Surgery, not wearing headgear or taking other precautions while riding is increasingly sending young people to the hospital — leading to over 40,000 broken bones, head wounds and other injuries.

Unfortunately, less than 5% of riders in the study were found to be wearing their helmet, leading to nearly one-third of patients having a head injury. That’s more than double the rate of head injuries experienced by bicyclists.

The rise is likely due to the increasingly popular adoption of scooters among young people in urban areas. Electronic scooter injuries for those age 18-34 increased overall by 222% and injuries sending riders to the hospital rose by 365% from 2014-2018, with the most dramatic increase in the last year. Close to two-thirds of those with scooter injuries were young men and most were not wearing head protection.

“There was a high proportion of people with head injuries, which can be very dangerous,” said Breyer, an associate professor of urology and chief of urology at UCSF partner hospital Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. “Altogether, the near doubling of e-scooter trauma from 2017 to 2018 indicates that there should be better rider safety measures and regulation.”

Right now there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of requirements for head gear while scootering in California, thanks to a change in the law that went into effect at the beginning of last year. Those over the age of 18 who want to ride without a helmet are free and legal to do so in California. Several other states also don’t require helmet wearing while on a motorized scooter.

The laws may need an update after recent revelations, but in the meantime perhaps the scooter companies themselves can help ensure safety precautions. We reached out to several electronic scooter companies and only heard back from a few about this issue. Lime tells TechCrunch it is committed to safety by encouraging users to wear a helmet, offering discounts to buy one and giving over 250,000 away as part of a campaign. Bird and others also encourage helmet wearing on their site and some companies offer helmets for rent at another location. But the promise of scooters is their convenience. You don’t have to carry anything. You just click on the app and hop on your ride. It’s too easy to just hop on a scooter without prior planning or helmet in tow.

So what’s the solution? Rider responsibility at this point. You’re free to take your chances but, though inconvenient, wearing your helmet on that scooter ride could prevent a serious accident.

“It’s been shown that helmet use is associated with a lower risk of head injury,” said first author Nikan K. Namiri, medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine. “We strongly believe that helmets should be worn, and e-scooter manufacturers should encourage helmet use by making them more easily accessible.”

 

Alphabet-backed primary care startup One Medical files to go public

One Medical, a San Francisco-based primary care startup with tech-infused, concierge services filed for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Internal medicine doctor Tom Lee founded the startup, now valued at well-over $1 billion dollars, in 2007. Lee exited his company in 2017, leaving it in the hands of former UnitedHealth group executive Amir Rubin.

The startup currently operates 72 health clinics in nine major cities throughout the U.S., with three more markets expected to open in 2020 and has raised just over $500 in venture capital from it’s biggest investor, the Carlyle Group (which owns just over a quarter of shares), Alphabet’s GV, J.P. Morgan and others. Google also incorporates One Medical into its campuses and accounts for about 10% of the company revenue, according to the SEC filing. The filing also mentions the company, which is officially incorporated as 1Life Healthcare Inc. ONEM, now plans to raise about $100 million.

Presumably, this money will help the company improve upon its technology and expand to more markets. We’ve reached out to One Medical for more and so far have only been referred to its wire statement.

According to that statement, One Medical has applied for a listing as ticker symbol, ONEM under its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

 

You’ve heard of CRISPR, now meet its newer, savvier cousin CRISPR Prime

CRISPR, the revolutionary ability to snip out and alter genes with scissor-like precision, has exploded in popularity over the last few years and is generally seen as the standalone wizard of modern gene-editing. However, it’s not a perfect system, sometimes cutting at the wrong place, not working as intended and leaving scientists scratching their heads. Well, now there’s a new, more exacting upgrade to CRISPR called Prime, with the ability to, in theory, snip out more than 90% of all genetic diseases.

Just what is this new method and how does it work? We turned to IEEE fellow, biomedical researcher and dean of graduate education at Tuft University’s school of engineering Karen Panetta for an explanation.

How does CRISPR Prime editing work?

CRISPR is a powerful genome editor. It utilizes an enzyme called Cas9 that uses an RNA molecule as a guide to navigate to its target DNA. It then edits or modifies the DNA, which can deactivate genes or insert a desired sequence to achieve a behavior. Currently, we are most familiar with the application of genetically modified crops that are resistant to disease.

However, its most promising application is to genetically modify cells to overcome genetic defects or its potential to conquer diseases like cancer.

Some applications of genome editing technology include:

  • Genetically modified mosquitos that can’t carry malaria.
  • In humans, “turning on” a gene that can create fetal type behaving cells that can overcome sickle-cell anemia.

Of course, as with every technology, CRISPR isn’t perfect. It works by cutting the double-stranded DNA at precise locations in the genome. When the cell’s natural repair process takes over, it can cause damage or, in the case where the modified DNA is inserted at the cut site, it can create unwanted off-target mutations.

Some genetic disorders are known to mutate specific DNA bases, so having the ability to edit these bases would be enormously beneficial in terms of overcoming many genetic disorders. However, CRISPR is not well suited for intentionally introducing specific DNA bases, the As, Cs, Ts and Gs that make up the double helix.

Prime editing was intended to overcome this disadvantage, as well as other limitations of CRISPR.

Prime editing can do multi-letter base-editing, which could tackle fatal genetic disorders such as Tay-Sachs, which is caused by a mutation of four DNA letters.

It’s also more precise. I view this as analogous to the precision lasers brought to surgery versus using a hand-held scalpel. It minimized damage, so the healing process was more efficient.

Prime editing can insert, modify or delete individual DNA letters; it also can insert a sequence of multiple letters into a genome with minimal damage to DNA strands.

How effective might Prime editing be?

Imagine being able to prevent cancer and/or hereditary diseases, like breast cancer, from ever occurring by editing out the genes that are makers for cancer. Cancer treatments are usually long, debilitating processes that physically and emotionally drain patients. It also devastates patients’ loved ones who must endure watching helpless on the sidelines as the patient battles to survive.

“Editing out” genetic disorders and/or hereditary diseases to prevent them from ever coming to fruition could also have an enormous impact on reducing the costs of healthcare, effectively helping redefine methods of medical treatment.

It could change lives so that long-term disability care for diseases like Alzheimer’s and special needs education costs could be significantly reduced or never needed.

How did the scientific community get to this point — where did CRISPR/prime editing “come from?”

Scientists recognized CRISPR’s ability to prevent bacteria from infecting more cells and the natural repair mechanism that it initiates after damage occurs, thus having the capacity to halt bacterial infections via genome editing. Essentially, it showed adaptive immunity capabilities.

When might we see CRISPR Prime editing “out in the wild?”

It’s already out there! It has been used for treating sickle-cell anemia and in human embryos to prevent HIV infections from being transmitted to offspring of HIV parents.

So, what’s next?

IEEE engineers, like myself, are always seeking to take the fundamental science and expand it beyond the petri dish to benefit humanity.

In the short term, I think that Prime editing will help generate the type of fetal like cells that are needed to help patients recover and heal as well as developing new vaccines against deadly diseases. It will also allow researchers new, lower cost alternatives and access to Alzheimer’s like cells without obtaining them post-mortem.

Also, AI and deep learning is modeled after human neural networks, so the process of genome editing could potentially help inform and influence new computer algorithms for self-diagnosis and repair, which will become an important aspect of future autonomous systems.

Natalist founder Halle Tecco wants to get you pregnant

Halle Tecco is no stranger to conception struggles. The Rock Health founder and former CEO has been public about her journey on social media, including two rounds of IVF, eventually leading to a healthy baby girl. Now, she wants to help others make babies, too.

To get there, Tecco has joined a class of new fertility tech companies that have popped up in the last few years. Taking from her years of experience building Rock Health, she’s now launched a new company called Natalist, which offers conception products “inspired by beauty and backed by science” to help those hoping to get pregnant in the near future.

Screen Shot 2019 10 02 at 2.49.21 PMYou can pick and choose various products in Natalist’s pretty packaging or opt for the basic “Get Pregnant” bundle, which includes 7 ovulation and 3 pregnancy tests, a one-month supply of prenatal vitamins and Omega DHA, plus the company’s Conception 101 book.

Of course, that package merely provides the basics for any healthy woman with a regular period and no other fertility issues — and, besides the book, its all something you could find in your local pharmacy. But, as Tecco was quick to point out, not every woman is keen on going into their local CVS, grabbing a pregnancy test and taking it up to the register. In fact, many women Tecco polled before starting her company mentioned the need in the market for discretion. Buying online from a trusted brand would provide them with both privacy and security in the product.

While Natalist’s first offerings are the minimum for anyone trying to make a baby, Tecco has already raised a cool $5 million to build out products addressing more serious fertility concerns like PCOS and endometriosis, which combined affect one out of every five women in their child bearing years and can make it a lot harder to get pregnant or make a pregnancy stick.

“We plan to use the funding to bring new products to market but we wanted to start with products that are sort of tried and true,” Tecco told Techcrunch, further explaining she’d like to see Natalist be more than just physical products and become more of a platform to help women through their pregnancy journey.

“We really want to have a support platform for women who have questions or concerns, really creating a great customer experience and helping them troubleshoot if things aren’t going the way that they want them to and also arm them with information and knowledge around getting pregnant,” Tecco said.

While she doesn’t see herself creating something like the app Glow, which both offers information and data through various stages of pregnancy and a community of women working on becoming pregnant, she does see the value of collaboration with these types of communities on various fertility apps and would like to reach out to those founders to see if there might be something there they can work on in the future as well.

For those interested in checking out Natalist’s products, the “Get Pregnant” bundle starts at $90 for a one time purchase or $75 per month for the subscription plan. You can also add products from the site a la carte, should you want more tests or vitamins than what’s in the one-month package.

And for those of you TechCrunch readers interested in the funding details, Natalist took in seed money from Collaborative Fund, Cowboy Ventures, Fuel Capital, Rock Health and xFund, as well as several well-known angel investors, including Katrina Lake, Julia Cheek, Christine Lemke, John Doerr, Malay Gandhi, David Vivero, and R. Martin Chavez.

With a new $20 million in funding, electronic stethoscope startup Eko wants to research your beating heart

It’s hard to compete against the Apple Watch or even an app on your phone when it comes to personal heart rate monitors these days. However, Eko, a startup best known for creating an electronic stethoscope to monitor your heart rhythm, hopes further research and development will help give its more clinically promoted device a leg up as a leader in the fight against heart disease.

To get there, the company recently closed on a $20 million round of Series B financing, led by Artis Ventures. New and returning investors in the round also include DigiTx PartnersNTT Venture Capital (NTTVC)3M VenturesMayo ClinicSeraph Group, and XTX Ventures.

On top of that, the company has teamed up with some well-known health partners such as the Mayo Clinic, Northwestern Medicine and Sutter Health, to further connect data points and screen patients using the Eko device.

EkoIt’s no leap to say technology has made great strides in cardiac care in the last decade. Today, we can use a number of devices to find out if there’s some sort of arrhythmia in a matter of seconds. However, choosing the way we do that is critical — getting the right information from trained professionals before jumping to conclusions is even more necessary.

It also does more than just test your heart rate, Eko co-founder and COO Jason Berler told Techcrunch. “While Eko helps screen for AFib, we’re also focused on screening for structural heart diseases and heart failure, which Apple is not,” he said. “Eko captures both heart sounds and EKG simultaneously, giving physicians the most holistic assessment of a patient’s health, and the information needed to make better-informed decisions.”

While Eko faces stiff competition from many heart rate monitoring devices out on the market today, it seems to grasp the need to go beyond a simple heart rate app for further knowledge on determining heart health through doctors and specialists who can identify and further inform patients in need.

“Eko is transforming cardiac care as we know it,” Artis Venture partner Vasudev Bailey said in a statement. “They are the perfect example of how machine learning using quality data sets can positively influence patient outcomes and improve quality of care. This demonstrates the potential for an immense pipeline of life-saving applications where sound can aid in the screening of many other diseases.”

At-home blood testing startup Baze rakes in $6 million from Nature’s Way

By now, the venture world is wary of blood testing startups offering health data from just a few drops of blood. However, Baze, a Swiss-based personal nutrition startup providing blood tests you can do in the convenience of your own home, collects just a smidgen of your sanguine fluid through an MIT manufactured device, which, according to the company, is in accordance with FDA regulations.

The idea is to find out (via your blood sample) which vitamins you’re missing out on and are keeping you from living your best life. That seems to resonate with folks who don’t want to go into the doctor’s office and separately head to their nearest lab for testing.

And it’s important to know if you are getting the right amount of nutrition — Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic affecting calcium absorption, hormone regulation, energy levels and muscle weakness. An estimated 74% of the U.S. population does not get the required daily levels of Vitamin D.

“There are definitely widespread deficiencies across the population,” Baze CEO and founder Philipp Schulte tells TechCrunch. “[With the blood test] we see that we can actually close those gaps for the first time ever in the supplement industry.”

While we don’t know exactly how many people have tried out Baze just yet, Schulte says the company has seen 40% month-over-month new subscriber growth.

That has garnered the attention of supplement company Nature’s Way, which has partnered with the company and just added $6 million to the coffers to help Baze ramp up marketing efforts in the U.S.

Screen Shot 2019 08 30 at 2.27.12 PMI had the opportunity to try out the test myself. It’s pretty simple to do. You just open up a little pear-shaped device, pop it on your arm and then press it to engage and get it to start collecting your blood. After it’s done, plop it in the provided medical packaging and ship it off to a Baze-contracted lab.

I will say it is certainly more convenient to just pop on a little device myself — although it might be tricky if you’re at all squeamish, as you’ll see a little bubble where the blood is being sucked from your arm. For anyone who hesitates, it might be easier to just head to a lab and have another human do this for you.

The price is also nice, compared to going to a Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp, which can vary depending on which vitamins you need to test for individually. With Baze it’s just $100 a pop, plus any additional supplements you might want to buy via monthly subscription after you get your results.

Baze’s website will show your results within about 12 days (though Schulte tells TechCrunch the company is working on getting your results faster). It does so with a score and then displays a range of various vitamins tested.

I was told that, overall, I was getting the nutrients I require with a score of 74 out of 100. But I’m already pretty good at taking high-quality vitamins. The only thing that really stuck out was my zinc levels, which I was told was way off the charts high after running the test through twice. Though I suspect, as I am not displaying any symptoms of zinc poisoning, this was likely the result of not wiping off my zinc-based sunscreen well enough before the test began.

For those interested in conducting their own at-home test and not afraid to prick themselves in the arm with something that looks like you might have it on hand in the kitchen, you can do so by heading over to Baze and signing up.