Seattle teen entrepreneurs sell their health-tech startup and take a break from college

In March 2020, Seattle teens Sage Khanuja, 17, and Nikolas Ioannou, 18, launched an SMS COVID-19 tracker called Spira. The text-based service originally sent out daily updates on coronavirus pulled from Worldometer, as well as reminders for hand washing and staying home. But it quickly grew into a COVID-19 screening tool that used a phone’s microphone to conduct a cough and auscultation test.

Today, Spira is much broader than just COVID-19—it uses machine learning algorithms to create digital smart forms to enhance patient screening and adapt to patients over time.

“We saw a lot of inefficiency,” said Khanuja. “If you’re a patient, before the doctor visit, there’s so much information that can be captured and synthesized to make the doctor’s visit more effective.”

“20, 30 years ago, even five years ago, you would go to the doctor once a year and that would be it,” Ioannou added. “But now what we’re starting to see with digital health is it’s more of [a] recurring relationship. It’s becoming very seamlessly integrated with the patient’s life. The whole idea is that smart forms are another way to interface with the patient.”

Spira caught the eye of Tom Lee, a Seattle native and the founder of Galileo, a New York-based healthcare company that provides 24/7 mobile access and care to patients. Galileo has now acquired Spira, which Khanuja and Ioannou hope will allow Spira to reach a large and growing patient base.

Read more about Galileo’s acquisition of Spira on GeekWire.