The metaverse isn’t just for Facebook and Microsoft – digital health companies are starting to see some early funding for metaverse concepts that bring immersive AR and VR into health and fitness realms, from gamified fitness classes to virtual telemedicine and group therapy. Just this week, Indian health startup Goquii received $10 million to seed its ambitions of developing a “metaverse ecosystem” where users can earn NFTs in a gamified health space.
Hong Kong-based game software and venture capital firm Animoca contributed to the funding round, adding to Goqii’s $50 million it received in February in a Series-C funding round led by Sumero Ventures.
Founded by Vishal Gondal in 2014, Goquii has a slew of well-tested offerings including fitness trackers for kids and adults, an app, and an online health shop with thousands of products, in addition to one-on-one coaching services and integrated insurance plans, all in an India-only ecosystem, for the time being anyway. The company, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley, is betting big on connected health with the launch of a glucometer, fertility tracker, smart jump rope, smart treadmill, and smart scale all connected to the Goquii ecosystem.
In this week’s funding round, the company says it will partner with Animoca to develop “various offerings that leverage blockchain tokens and gamification in preventive health care.” Users can then use the tokens to buy products and services or participate in special events, or purchase NFTs, which can then be converted into cryptocurrency outside of the Goquii ecosystem. The idea extends upon Goquii Cash, which the company launched in 2018, with tokens redeemable at the Goquii Health Store, an online marketplace with more than 200 brands and thousands of health- and fitness-related products.
Gondal describes the company’s go-big-or-go-home approach to the Economic Times:
We will partner with all kinds of people. We will be partnering with gyms, health care and health food providers, diagnostic providers, hospitals, insurance companies, celebrities etc. GOQII metaverse will be like a country of healthy people. We have been incentivizing people for preventative healthcare. This is a very natural progression of our business…
Gondal said that the metaverse will launch globally within 12 to 24 months.
Other companies developing a healthcare metaverse include Meta Health in Singapore, robotics startup NexStem, and Emirates Health Services in Dubai, which aims to develop a virtual world for healthcare visits to a clinic or hospital via a mobile device.