You might have heard of “biohacking” already. The term, often discussed in tech and startup circles, and those that are looking at human longevity, biohacking is the practice of using nutrients, supplements, technology, and do-it-yourself treatments to increase life expectancy, look younger, and become better versions of ourselves.
Today, European health tech startup Bioniq has landed a round of $7.2M from JSC Medsi Group, Russia’s largest private healthcare provider. A subsidiary of AFK Sistema, а large Russian conglomerate and member of the Forbes Global 2000, Bioniq aims to build a nationwide biohacking platform for the Russian market.
Bioniq was created in early 2019 by former basketball player for the German national team, Vadim Fedotov, and scientist and neurosurgeon, Konstantin Karuzin, who had spent over 14 years conducting clinical trials for pharmacological drugs and technologies in both Switzerland and Russia for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.
While I have a lot of personal experience in biohacking, the practice has to this point, been something very few have tried, and has relied on individual experimentation, measurement, and documentation. How does Bioniq plan to scale it, and ensure it’s safe for customers?
“Bioniq is built on transparency as a secure and efficient system,” Vadim Fedotov, Founder and CEO at Bioniq, told me. “We heavily invest in scientific research, and our results can be seen in international medical publications which are peer-reviewed by independent doctors. The data sets of leading laboratories confirm the efficacy of our products, and we’ve made the anonymized results publicly available to our clients.”
If one thing is going to help biohacking jump from the brave few to the mainstream, it will be the ability to see those results in action.
“One great thing about our system is that people can actually see their trends and improvements,” Fedotov said. “We don’t just make promises – we really show the results of people gaining a better understanding of their overall health. We believe that by educating people, by giving them the tools to see what’s going on in their body, biohacking becomes more of a mainstream product.”
Today’s announcement doesn’t just mean a cash injection for Bioniq. The investors also bring expertise to Bioniq that will help to make biohacking a part of the lexicon of regular citizens.
“Partnerships like our strategic investor in the Russian market, Medsi, showcase that with strong medical support included as part of product development, it becomes much more accessible to many more people,” Fedotov said. “If people trust the doctors that are treating them, they will also trust the platform these doctors are working on to improve their health. These individuals will return to it — not only in times of need, when people go to clinics but also in times when they are just looking to improve their overall health or mental wellbeing, which is what biohacking stands for.”
While Bioniq has focused on the Russian market, it has plans to expand operations to other territories, starting later this year.
“In Q4, we are launching into the Middle East,” Fedotov said. “We see great demand from that area for our product and are expecting to open up Dubai as the first city at the beginning of Q4. We have also had a successful pilot in New York. After finishing this pilot, we are now planning to enter the US market next year. So, these are our next two destinations: the Middle East for now, and next year the US market.”
- So what’s next for Bioniq, and its plans to make biohacking a normal practice?
“We are building up a line of products that should be completely focused on improving overall health and mental wellbeing,” Fedotov said. “There are six verticals – the first of which is the medical part. We have food, into which we are looking very closely. We already have in-house nutritionists, and we are planning on providing personalized meals based on your needs and health results in the future. We are active in the vitamin market in terms of personalized micronutrients, but will also offer additional micronutrients that people can purchase for their overall health improvement.”
Those verticals are all commonplace for those of us that have tried biohacking. The other three areas Bioniq are planning to launch offer support for its customers, as well as assistance with one important aspect that many don’t prioritize enough.
“The fourth vertical, which we have just launched, is a health coach,” Fedotov said. “This is a personal training program that can be done at home. Our health coaches develop personalized training plans for our clients based on their individual needs and demands. The program can be performed together, with the coach visiting the client’s home, or can be performed remotely – depending on the client’s preferences. Additionally, we are launching a product line focused on the mental wellbeing of the clients, including offering remote counseling. The sixth vertical is sleep. We recognize how important rest is to overall health. We are looking into providing additional tools, gadgets, and input to our clients in terms of how they can improve their health through regular and high-quality sleep, as well as what they should be focused on in order to develop the sleep habits needed to improve their health.”
Biohacking, or “DIY biology” as it is sometimes called, is growing and companies like Bioniq are poised to help make it more accessible and affordable. With the market expected to be worth $25 billion globally by 2023, and a high growth rate, it is an area that is set to become a new health product battleground.