A new activity-tracking platform is launching out of stealth today with $1 million in pre-seed funding, with a view toward helping those suffering from Long COVID track and manage their symptoms.

Visible cofounders: CEO Harry Leeming (left) with COO Luke Martin-Fuller

Essentially, Visible uses PPG to detect small changes in a person’s skin color, with the user placing their finger over the lens of their camera for a sixty second period each morning.

“These changes allow us to measure the time between heartbeats and calculate heart rate and heart rate variability,” Leeming explained to TechCrunch.

Over time, Visible helps users track their symptoms and spot trends.

Visible app in action

With continuous tracking via a physical HRM, however, Visible promises to be far more effective in terms of helping users adopt an effective pacing strategy, ensure that they don’t over-exert themselves, and allow their bodies more time to recover.

This will include real-time data and notifications when it detects that the user is doing too much activity which can make their existing symptoms worse and curtail recovery.

Visible Plus subscription provides users with insights and prompts

Using data garnered passively from a wearable allows Visible to generate illness-specific metrics, or digital biomarkers as they’re known, which allows people to make decisions based on “hard numbers” rather than subjective estimates of the severity of their condition.

For example, those who pay for a Visible Plus subscription and use the accompanying wearable will benefit from accelerometer and gyroscope data from the Polar Verity Sense. This allows Visible to determine things like “orthostatic intolerance,” or the body’s biological response from moving into an upright position from lying down. This can show the impact that changing one’s posture has on a change in heart rate.

In terms of pricing, this has yet to be finalized, but Leeming said that it will be in the rough ballpark of other consumer subscription services à la Netflix or Spotify. So we’re probably talking in the region of around $10 per month, give or take. If someone already has their own Polar Verity Sense armband, Visible says it will offer the subscription at a discount rate, and there could be scope to extend support to devices from other manufacturers.

“We anticipate that we will support a wider range of wearable devices in future,” Leeming said.

“Long COVID has turned my life upside down — millions, like me, have still not recovered from COVID and are struggling every day,” Leeming said. “There is no clear diagnosis, no pharmaceutical treatment, and little recognition from the government as to how widespread and how life-changing these conditions are. Patients like myself have little option but to build the disease management tools that are badly needed – tools specifically designed for people living with Long COVID, but also those with similarly dismissed chronic conditions like ME/CFS, Chronic Lyme and Fibromyalgia.”

“Long Covid and ME/CFS are incredibly debilitating and widespread diseases that we urgently need to better understand, and help patients to manage,” Strain said in a statement issued to TechCrunch. “Visible is the first tool to really help patients to measure and manage their own disease using only their smartphone. Just as importantly, it will be instrumental in helping clinicians and researchers advance our knowledge of the diseases too.”

Visible’s pre-seed round of funding was co-led by Octopus Ventures, Calm/Storm and Hustle Fund, with participation from a number of angel backers.

Visible launches activity-tracking platform to tackle Long COVID by Paul Sawers originally published on TechCrunch