Former Uber Data Scientist Grows Digestive Health Startup — Dieta Health

By Bruce Harpham Wednesday, February 17, 2021

More than twenty million Americans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Dieta Health wants to help them. The San Francisco-based startup company uses AI and smartphone apps to help patients and healthcare providers manage the condition. The young company currently has $120,000 in external funding.

Healthy foods arranged in a heart shape.

The Founders Behind Dieta Health

Dieta's co-founders bring strong technical abilities to their business. Asaf Kraus previously worked as a data scientist at Uber (stock ticker: NYSE: UBER) and Accenture, a global consulting firm. Co-founder's Ben Neigher previous experience, including developing web apps at Plantronics (an audio equipment company) and software development for Skycatch (an AI company that uses geographic data).

Dieta’s team also includes several health experts. Specifically, Dieta has two registered dietitians and a gastroenterologist on staff.

Hiring for Operations in 2021

As Dieta expands, the founders are planning to hire. “Dieta’s top hiring priority for 2021 is a Chief Operating Officer (COO),” Kraus explained. Today, the business has twenty-nine employees, according to LinkedIn.

How Dieta Health Helps People With Digestive Health Problems

Dieta uses a combination of data science, AI, and clinicians to improve digestive health. Patients enter their activity, medication, and symptoms into the app. Over time, the app helps patients to detect patterns regarding which actions cause digestive health problems. Patients can then test new lifestyle changes, like a change in diet, to see if those changes improve their health.

For clinicians treating IBS patients, Dieta solves the problem of data gathering and analysis. Instead of seeing patients for an occasional appointment, a patient can share their digestive health record directly with a patient for review. That means doctors don't have to rely on patients remembering what they ate when or if they have made other changes to their lifestyle.

Stool Images Have Never Been Analyzed Like This

As a digestive health startup company, Dieta has to face some unusual challenges. For example, the company is building a stool image recognition capability. “Our technology turns images of stool into five objective clinical data points, allowing for a more precise understanding of each patient,” commented Kraus in an interview. The company’s image recognition capability is currently going through clinical trials at Cedars Sinai.

By developing an effective stool test, Dieta may reduce the need to handle and store human stool samples.

Technical Founders Learn to Sell Their First B2B Deal

Startup success, especially early on, requires the founders to wear multiple hats. For Dieta, that meant learning the art of sales.

“My co-founder and I are former technologists in Silicon Valley, so we started with software rather than sales. When we sold our first B2B deal to a medical institution, I started with a sales pitch using three different value propositions our product can achieve for the stakeholders. Once they identified which one was valuable enough for them to pay for, we signed a contract and then we built it!” Asaf Kraus, co-founder and CEO of Dieta Health, told Startup Savant in an interview.

About the Author


Headshot of Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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