There are a bunch of companies offering mobile tools that help users stay healthy — either through iPhone apps, like Ringful, or standalone devices, like FitBit. But Charlie Koo, chief executive of a company called Pickka, said they’re all take the wrong approach.
Control-your-eating apps are usually focused on food as you’re eating it. They might tell you that the donut you’re about to devour is super-fattening, for example. That’s already too late, Koo said, because people will usually eat whatever food they’ve bought, even if they know it’s unhealthy. Users benefit from this data while they’re shopping, not while they’re eating.
And that’s exactly what Pickka’s new Shop to Lose iPhone and iPad app (iTunes link) does: It provides health data on more than 120,000 food products, so you can make the right decisions when you’re building a shopping list or in the grocery store. Users don’t have to wade through pages of calorie counts, either, because the app includes a Health Sidekick, which provides general recommendations based on your goals and health conditions, and tracks your progress over time.
Shop to Lose is the latest product from a company we’ve written about before, under its old name Evincii. Back in 2008, Evincii tried to offer in-store computers that helped users find the medicine that they’re looking for. But working with stores proved too slow, Koo said, so the Mountain View, Calif. startup refocused on mobile apps. Pickka plans to make money from these apps by letting companies advertise their food in the app as a featured product.
The Shop to Lose app launched last month, and Pickka has already rolled out some improvements, including data on restaurant food, as well as support for the iPad. The iPad app opens up new group uses — it’s more feasible to store an entire family’s health information and purchases on a shared iPad than on a single iPhone.
Pickka raised $9.2 million in funding from Norwest Venture Partners
People: Charlie Koo