Disrupting Diabetes Tech
Disruptive innovation is a term coined in 1995 by Clayton M. Christiansen to describe the process by which small companies dislodge the giant corporations that lead their fields. By serving a new market or providing a cheaper alternative to an undervalued customer segment, disruptors seemingly come out of nowhere and dethrone an industry’s titans. These days, tech claims to be disrupting everything – the hotel you’re staying in, the taxi you took to get there, the pet-sitter you left your cat with. No industry is safe from being declared disruptable. But what would it actually mean to disrupt an industry like healthcare? At Quin, we believe our approach to diabetes management is world-changing, but disruption is the last thing someone with a chronic illness wants. So what’s the difference between disrupting and simply doing something better?
Let’s look at Monzo, an app-based bank account. In 2016, the challenger bank’s crowd-funding campaign raised a record-breaking £1m in 96 seconds. Unbelievably popular, Monzo is lauded in the UK tech scene as a classic disruptive innovator. They’ve combined a slick, human-centric experience with a commitment to listening to their customers and caring for them. Features like a temporary account lock-out for people trying to control gambling addiction have won them millions of loyal customers.
But Monzo hasn’t really changed banking’s core business at all. It offers a classic current account product to a group of people who already had bank accounts. What they’ve revolutionised is the experience of having a bank account – how it looks and feels to manage your money, pay friends, and control spending. The big banks are scrambling to catch up as Monzo continually raises the bar of what a “good” banking experience is. But as the core product is similar to existing offerings, Monzo is actually a direct challenger to the banking industry, not a disruptor. As Christiansen predicted, this has left Monzo fighting a long war of attrition to dislodge the banking behemoths. The startup has 3m customers but is still not profitable.
Is Quin another Monzo? It’s easy to compare us: we’re both London startups entering a market that’s largely left to a sprawling old guard. We both make an app. We both have crowdfunding campaigns. But most Monzo customers already had a bank account that worked before they switched, whether or not it came with a nicely-designed app. Managing diabetes, however, is a completely unsolved problem (and let’s not even get started on the customer experience). Despite all the devices on the market, only 8% of people with diabetes are able to keep their blood glucose stable enough to reduce or avoid complications later in life. There is no special pen or pump or glucose monitor or app that gives a patient stable blood glucose. With all the technology available, people are still very much on their own when it comes to knowing how much insulin to take.
Even though it’s tempting to claim the startup buzzword for ourselves, Quin is not disrupting healthcare. We’re doing something better. We’re not trying to enter the taking-insulin industry – that’s very much thriving with new connected pens and pumps, and logging apps being built all the time. We are creating a new industry – successful diabetes self-care. We are in the totally new business of helping people know how much insulin to take so they can keep their blood glucose stable. In banking terms, we’re not improving your current account app, we’re inventing bank accounts.
Just like Monzo, we are putting our customers at the heart of everything we do. We’re starting by co-creating with our users to provide a beautiful, intuitive app experience. But Quin has the potential to be much more – we believe our data and research will unlock new science and truly personalised, low-touch diabetes management. So if you missed buying Monzo shares, don’t make the same mistake twice! Own a piece of healthcare history, and invest in Quin today.