Meet Kranus Health the Startup Behind Germany's Most Successful Digital Health Launch

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Father’s Day Special Publication

We publish this interview — focusing on men’s health — as the second episode today for a very special reason. Today we celebrate Father’s Day in Germany (always on Ascension Day — also a public holiday in Germany).

So happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there!

We want to help increase men’s life expectancy. … Men are notoriously bad at doing preventative health measures. … This is where we want to be their digital companion. This is the vision we want to get to.Jens Nörthershäuser — Founder and Co-CEO Kranus Health 

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The Founder

Our guest today is Jens Nörthershäuser (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jensnoertershaeuser/), Founder and CEO of Kranus Health. He studied biochemical engineering in Karlsruhe at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and UCL in London. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, has been with McKinsey, Amazon and Palantir, as well as an ecommerce founder before starting Kranus Health.

We saw a big care gap. Drugs only solve the symptoms [of erectile dysfunction].  Jens Nörthershäuser — Founder and Co-CEO Kranus Health 

The Startup

Kranus Health was founded by four co-founders. The company is named after a Celtic god of fertility. Their first product is a digital health app, assisting in the treatment (including drugs and therapy) of erectile dysfunction. The app is available in Germany on prescription, which means they are reimbursed by health insurers.

The current focus of the treatment is that drugs only take care of the symptoms, which still can leave men with a loss of life quality or even depression. This is where they further assist patients.

There are also correlations between drug treatments with cardiovascular follow-up events e.g. heart attacks. Most patients in the past have mostly only received drug treatments and no overall health care (workouts, mental therapies, …). This is where Kranus Health comes in.

Kranus grew by more than 100% in 2021. They have more than 50 employees right now and plan to have more than 100 employees at the end of 2022.

Kranus Health Is Hiring

Learn more here:

CareersKranus Edera - The app on prescription that has been proven to help men with erection problems through a holistic…www.kranushealth.com

There is already great stuff happening in femtech, we want to start the same for men’s health.  Jens Nörthershäuser — Founder and Co-CEO Kranus Health 

Venture Capital Funding

The company has already raised more than 2 m US$ in funding. The early backers include Konstantin Mehl, known as the co-founder of foodora and CEO of Kaia Health, as well as Manuel Thurner, co-founder and CTO of Kaia Health. Invested are also A Round Capital, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Venture Basecamp, as well as investor Ralph Müller.

Find all links and show notes here: https://medium.com/startuprad-io/an-english-world-premiere-meet-kranus-health-the-startup-behind-germanys-most-successful-digital-5c541baaab63 

Welcome to start up bread that I own, your podcast and Youtube blog covering the German startup scene with News, interviews and live events. Hello and welcome everybody. This is Joe from startle Berdoo, your start up podcast, and you to block from Germany, bringing you another interviewed, this time an English world premiere, the first English content ever on the start up. I would like to welcome yence here, the CEO and founder of chronus health. Hey, hi, you did thanks for being having me, Joe. Great to be here and thanks for invitation, but leave my pleasure. Today's interview is made possible by start up Ravencom, the easiest and most efficient way to meet corporation partners and investors. Today is may twenty six. This is the second publication of the day. Yes, we're going totally crazy. The reason behind it? Today's not only a public holiday, a bank holiday in Germany, but today we also do celebrate father's Day here in Germany, so happy father's Day to all the fathers out there. That is also the reason why we are publishing the crinus health interview today, because you guys are taking care of men's health, right, that's right. We are the business of basically solving mens health issues that no one talks about, that that we here today. So we will talk about this. You guys are currently your main product is an APP on prescription. How we got there is surely unusually a long way. So let's get started. I've been looking at your linkedin profile, as everybody else can when they want to reach out to you directly down here in the show notes. As I said, you're the CEO and founder of kind of health. You studied biochemical engineering. Can you for finance major? Please explain what this is? Yeah, Fadida, quite nerdy, quite nerdy title. What it basically is is really biotechnology. So I've been in farmer healthcare for what in a decade now? I've always wanted to do something in the space and help people. While it was kind of really an exciting study to learn about all these technology advantage I kind of during my studies, realized I'm I'm also kind of into finance and building businesses. That's how also did my first startup during university time. And Yeah, let me into a different career, I guess from what is the usure career? HMM, you've been starting at the CASS WHO Institute of Technology, Aka Kit and London. You see L who was your favorite breakfast spot in London? Yeah, you seel is actually close to Camden town and I guess today it's quite expensive to live there. They had some really amazing, you know, cheap student housing, pretty shitty beds, but there was a Moroccan breakfast place nearby. Can't remember the name right now, but it had some some really delicious breakfast. Usually the place I went before heading out the university. All Rock and Crek first sounds very promising. Never had that one. You also did in NBA at and see. How is this? Would you recommend it? I would definitely recommend it. I think people have lit opinions about MBA's. I think definitely recommended for the networking experience, really getting to know some very inspirational people also living in Paris and Singapore. I think in particular, Asia has been a place...

...that really inspired me because you see so much momentum and businesses just like being created everywhere. Was a really, really good time for me. Yeah, Love Singapore. Amazing place, especially with this banana shaped, banana shaped building on top of the three other towers. Just amazing. The botanigled gardens are amazing and of course I love the Hawker Centers. The lciest food from India, China, Vietnam, child and you named, and they even had German food, which that one I would recommend in in Singapore, but very good other foods indeed. Didn't you try it when you've been a little bit homesick? I I actually managed to stay away from it. I don't Jim, but I don't think I missed out on any sausages in Singapore. I have to in Minim when I was in Beijing, I was getting a little bit homesick shortly before I returned home, and there I actually went a few times to Paulana Poy House. Was Pretty Cool Nice. As we've said, you've been an e commerce founded during your studies. What did you do there? Yeah, that was actually my first kind of getting in touch with entrepreneurship. As I said, I've always wanted to do that and in this time I partnered with a Danish designer actually in Waton. We built interior design products. For example, the first one was like a snowboard hangar. We could mount your snowboard above your above your bed, and I remember I was always kind of scared that this thing would break down and just kill someone that bought it. But I was a good time. We shipped it pretty much all around the world, but at that stage it was clear it was working well. But I was always intrigued to do more and do something bigger. And then I actually I saw McKenzie as a perfect way to kind of transition more into a business world and get my feets dirty and and that's base. Yes, you've been working there in Farma and healthcare as a consultant. Traditionally cannot talk a little about what he did there, but would have found very interesting. He left their farmer and healthcare and he next stops have not been like big farmer or healthcare company, but Amazon and Palanteer. How did this happen? So actually, so I think I can talk. I can't talk about specific projects at Mckinsey, but what I can talk about, and that is kind of very much connected with what led me to found chrono cells, was I did a lot of projects for farmer companies. I was really kind of shocked to see how remote and far away drug development happens from the actual patients. Right it's very much in labs and like takes partially decades to develop new drugs and I always kind of missed the interaction with with patients that, you know, at that time, even like tech, you could use it in all other verticals to really build great journeys, which wasn't a thing then. And I remember even did in two thousand and thirteen, almost ten years ago, a presentation for a farmer company which kind of talked about patient centricity and it was clearly all, you know, vision and and and really not like very far from reality, and that that led me to, you know, some intervening into stops in between. I guess. Yeah, Amazon wasn't exciting time. I mean that's where I really learned to build a business, manage a large pnl as a even as a I was I think thirty or so at that time. Managing hundreds of millions literally was really really humbling and and good...

...experience. And then poltier kind of was obviously that. It's kind of in the nature of polity that I really can't speak a lot about what we did, but what I can say is that of course polity does a lot of work, and commercial sector as well, in particular, also on the farmer side, and that really was finally the point and which I could combine my passion for biotechnology, for farmer with with actual technology. And that, I think, really was the moment, which was kind of end of two thousand and nineteen, when I said, look, we finally have this, this opportunity, like in particular in Germany, were there was a new law being implemented to kind of bring technology and powered therapies based on apps into into our everyday care. Yeah, and it was really the ignition point for or what became the journey with Chranos and the LEX last two years. Very interesting. Oh what, what one question about this Amazon stop. You still get discounts there? Unfortunately I don't, but I still have a lot of friends there to tell me about awesome deals when they happen, but gotta say here they have been less of these in the last years. Yeah, personal experience as well. And how did you decide on the name chranas health? Health makes sense, but what is Chronis? Yeah, that's a good, good question. Chranis is actually a Celtic God of fertility, and since one of our first products is in the area of erectile dysfunction, fertility is of course a well fitting name. Why did you focus on the not so much discust men's health issues like erectile dysfunction? Well, I think to really understand we kind of need to dive in a little bit in a founding story, right and in the end I think it's always great. Great businesses are created when the right people come together at a lucky point in time, and this case it was really for people. I think it started with me having this this strong desire to build something technology enabled APPs, because we really, you know, have a unique point in time where I think there is a tipping point and we can really do something better for patients and my cofounder and Cocy or Telo, where I know for yeah, almost a decade, for my time in Mckinsey, we've always been touched. Actually we did found a pro bono consulting initiative in McKinsey where we kind of advised some some by now pretty big startups, and it was a cool time and we always wanted to do something together, which kind of for us was pretty fast. It was clear digital health is a great area and Tilo actually his father as a urologist and through his father we got a connection to court, who's now a chief medical officer. Court is an amazing person. He is now seventy years old. Court, please forgive me that I spoil this on public, but cord is as young as I am in his mind and he is definitely one of the most experienced and wellknown neurologists in Germany and beyond, and he has also a very technology mind, a mind, and when we started talking with him it became pretty quickly became clear that there is currently a big care gap, especially in taboo topics. And because these topics are taboo, people don't know how many patients are acted and really don't get the care that they should get these days.

And erectile, this function really is, is a big taboo topic. Six to eight million men are affected by it in Germany, right, so that that really makes it every third adult guy, every second guy above the age of fifty. So it really isn't you know, you're really not special if you have it up to a certain nature, right, and yet people never talk about it. Not Very ashamed of doing that, and I think that for us was definitely an area where digital tools can provide a great benefit for patients, right. And then the last person to play a role was constantin mill who was the father of Fedora initially, but then recently. He's, of course, the CEO of Kaya Health, one of the biggest digital therapeutic players in the world, and I know him for quite a while from my personal network, and he really kind of reinforced in us the idea to do this and was really supportive of the use case, and I think that's how we ended up going and started crimes hmmm, and that was basically the starting point. You thought, we do digital, we make it easy, easily accessible, without any shame, and it's an APP. I do understand. It also works along drug treatments and you also accomplished to get it on prescription. So basically, you health insurance covers the cost. Can take us a little bit through that journey. How you achieve that? Yes, that's that's right, and I think that's something we're super proud of because it really is a paradigm shift. So far, the drugs for erectile this function, have never been reimbursed by insurances, the facto kind of neglecting the problem and leaving it up to the people to solve it, and this is the first time in the world actually that insurances are reimbursing a product in that area and I think it's a great step forward to treating this disease and like where we basically came from. Right from the first thing we observed is that there is a care get because the problem with drugs in the areas that they they only treat the symptoms. They never solved the room root cause. So these men are dependent on these drugs for basically decades, which also leads, as is quite well documented in science, to both it can lead to depressions for people that are untreated, very like decrease in quality of life, and also it has potentially severe how your vascular follow events, because Eric Tiles function is closely correlated with with heart attacks, for example. Right. So that's that's what we saw and that's what we wanted to change, and what we do now is because two things have changed. First of all, it is a root cause oriented treatment. So what we do is what we actually there are medical guidelines that require a root cost oriented treatment, meaning sports, meaning pelvic floor exercises, as well as mental and sexual therapy. That's what we do and that's what most patients never got in the past. They just got pills, and that's kind of the really the game changer, I understand. Plus, as she said, it's associated with a heart I remembered that via Cros actually supposed to be heart drug and actually the the the people who tested it, observed this kind of side effect there. So that's another that's another indication here.

I'm you said you're dressing physical the physical background. So what is it the people, the men, do? They have too much stressed, not enough work out. What would are some of the causes? They are like overweight, diabetes, stuff like that. That's that's right. So it's very closely associated with, for example, obesity, with diabetes, with lack of physical activity, all of these are factors that in the end lead to erectilee function erection problems, right, and this is where our our treatment really helps patients to overcome these issues by solving the underlying causes rather than just giving them a drug to treat a symptoms. MMM MMMM. And what would I've taken from our first conversation with that? You basically are just starting out, not only from the stage of your company, but also you have bigger goals for men's health. You you kind of would add additional treatments, as my understanding right, absolutely right. I mean we found it, I found it chronos to really make it a game changer in men's health and solve these taboo topics that up to date but one talks about. Right, we have a lot of things happening in FEMTAG, female health, which is great, but so far, like male tag, is a word that hasn't been really defined yet, and also most investors, I guess, don't ever use it, which, of course, is a gap. And that's what we were on a mission to to solve this beyond the borders of Germany and also for many other diseases. Right, and I think one thing I wanted to mention, because we talked about it earlier but I didn't answer it yet, is the like how do you get it reiverse? Right, and I think that's that's what really differentiates us from a APP business. Right, what we are is a healthcare company. That means we conduct clinical studies very much in the same way that any pharmaceutical, any medical device company does. And of course, to get this product we are burst, you need to show its safe for patients, it is effective in treating the disease, and both of that we could show it anyway, and let me reassure you that German government has very highest standards in getting this into reversability, because of course it also costs insurances money to do that. Yeah, so we were very happy to to show that it's safe for patient and also that it really solves the problem, and I would say we are almost we can clearly say we're as effective as Viagra or other drugs to help people overcome their problems. Would are some other health conditions you're going to address in the future? Yeah, so of course there is, for example, in continents, which is quite you know, something that I think women also experience, but of course in man, in older man, is equally prevalent. So that is something we have on the radar. We also have, for example, the premature ejaculation or prostate enlargement, all the way to male infertility, and for all of these things that you know, up today I never really talked about. We really want to change that and I think we have some some great products there in the pipeline that we will bring to the market in the next year's ultimately really with the with aim to help increase the life expectancy that man have right like this one. One thing...

...that men are, I'd say, notoriously bad at is is doing preventative care measures, which is like man in most cases only go to the doctor when they have a problem and only that. Instead, of course, by having basically digital therapies that become a companion for you. You have it on your mobile, very easy to access the vision, and where we want to get to is that you have that companion on your mobile and of course, we're doing more than just treatments for several diseases. When we want to move into this shift in mindset where you you start doing preventative measures, and that's something we really want to educate men about and change. Would add, men only go to the doctor when they do have severe problems. All that's almost all of them too late. Going a little bit from what you're doing, what you're planning, a little bit to the company, because when it was looking through your website, I found thirteen principles. That is basically part of how you work. Would you say it's also part of your company culture? Definitely, definitely. And think what I can say is when we found a crown I was like most of US funders. We already had ten plus years experience in business. So what we try just to bring the best part of the culture that from from McKinsey, from Amazon, from Paliatier, and kind of merge that into something that we really can identify with and something that we love. And it's the thirteen principles that came out of this process is really something we use as an internal compass to really guide all our decisions and think some some some of these principles are pretty obvious, right. So like no taboos. We really want to break taboos, so that something also we live internally. We are very open in the way we communicate about health issues, about everything we do, and the same another one is I really like as radical Kender. I know there's a quite famous business book about that, but what it really means is direct, very direct but very caring feedback, really the developing each other and in our common journey at Chronos, and that's something we very strongly enforced and I think, I can say, something that most of our employees really value as well. HMM, you right now have somewhere around fifty employees. You've been grown by one hundred percent. Would I usually ask at this point? I guys currently hiring. We grew actually by more than one percent. And Yeah, we are very much growing very quickly right now, because one thing we're proud of is that we had the most successful market launch of any digital health product in Germany. Yet we're making very, very strong patient traction, getting super good feedback from the patients. Now thousands of people are using our APP. So yes, we are hiring and we're growing massively. So our plants to definitely get to more than a hundred people this year. Still we have open positions really in but engineering, commercial, business development, medical, really every area. You guys have been funded in the past and raised more than two million the as dollars and, as you said, interestingly, the foo door founder is one of you backers. I currently open to talk to other investors. Yes, I would say of course investors...

...are recognizing the traction that we're building and very, very interested in speaking, which is also something that of course we value because of course we need money to turbo charge what we're doing right now and we do have very ambitious plans for the coming years. So yes, we're speaking very much to invest us. Right now, there's nothing I can share today, but I might have news not too far in the future. That sounds pretty good. Well, honestly, that's all the stuff I want to talk about right now. There there is a still in things. I could talk further and if you think they're any questions, we did out a treshcode down here in the show notes. Leave us a comment and we will try to answer it. So far, I'd like to thank you against use. A pleasure having you as guest here and best off luck for your additional treatment. Thanks, Joe, bit of pleasure. Thank you, bye, bye, bye. That's all. Fuls. Find more news streams, events and interviews at www dot's start on the right that, Yo remember share is cary s.

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