At the 2018 Propelify Innovation Festival, Propelify and Techonomy partnered up to highlight entrepreneurs and companies focused on solving the world’s biggest challenges, as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the Startup Humanity Heroes Competition.
Biem is a a telemedicine app and service that makes it easy to talk to a sexual healthcare representative and get STI tests taken. Co-founder Bryan Stacy teamed up with his friend, a urologist, to create the app after he was simultaneously diagnosed with both chlamydia and testicular cancer during the same doctor’s visit. Since Biem’s six month pilot period from September – April, the app has had tens of thousands of users, and the team is looking to roll Biem out to other cities and states beyond New York City. Check out our conversation with Bryan on start-up life, his experience at Propelify, and how Biem is changing our conversations around sexual health and happiness to create a safer, more aware world:
Bryan: Our purpose is really around sexual confidence, which allows people to live a healthier, happier life and to make better sexual decisions. That’s what Biem is all about.
Sexual health, sexual anxiety, it’s something we never talk about, but it’s something we all deal with at some point in our lives. We created Biem simply to start the conversation and give people the information they need to make good decisions surrounding their sexual health.
Bryan: Biem is an app, available on iOS and Android. After downloading, you first set up a video chat with one of our doctors. From there, you can ask the doctor any kind of sexual health question you might have. Next, you talk to the doctor about what you want to get tested for, and if you don’t know that’s OK. That’s what the doctor is there for.
Afterwards, the doctor puts in a request for you to get tested. You either go to the lab or we’ll send someone to your house. 1-2 days after being tested, you get the results right in the app. And this is really important. This isn’t a doctor’s portal, this isn’t a printout that comes in the mail. This is something very clean, very easy to access, that literally says what is the test, the test date, and the result. It makes sharing STI test results as easy as sharing your phone with your partner.
What we’ve found is that 90% of the time, when someone shows their results, and takes that proactive step, their partner reciprocates in some positive fashion. One of the mottos we use is stop asking your partner about their sexual health and start showing your’s.
Bryan: The reason we started with STI testing is because if people aren’t tested, they aren’t going to have the conversation, and that’s what our company’s all about. Tackle problem # 1 – let’s get people tested. Because once you get tested and have that conversation, it opens up the doors to all the other kinds of sexual health and sexual wellness and sexual pleasure conversations we should be talking about.
Bryan: The true north for Biem is when people get to a point where they’re so comfortable and confident that they and their partners expect to be asked about their sexual health, instead of it being something awkward. That’s the true north. What we’re doing through our tools, our education, and through the talks I do, is raising awareness. The app is a piece of a puzzle, it’s not the entire thing.
We want sexual health conversations to become like: “I eat food, therefore I brush my teeth. I have a car, therefore I change the oil. I have sex, therefore I get tested and talk about it.” It should be that obvious and that simple and it’s just not because it can be an awkward conversation. Biem wants to change that.
Bryan: One of the social features we have for Biem is you can connect with other users in the app. And the reason you want to do that is if a user tests positive in the next six months for an STI, you’ll get a anonymous notification they tested positive, and now you know that you might now want to go get tested too. A lot of the times we have a one night stand, or we don’t talk to the person anymore. But Biem eliminates all that awkwardness.
Bryan: We came away from Festival with four really amazing benefits. First, the Festival was an opportunity to do what we love – talk to the public about their sexual health. We had a great space at the Festival and really got to connect with a lot of people. Second, we were also able to connect with a several direct-to-consumer brands, including a dating app, about potential partnerships in the future, so that was great. And we also met several investors at the Festival who want to invest during our next Friends and Family round.
Finally- social media was hot! It was awesome to share our experience with Startup Heroes for Humanity and share with people what was going on even if they weren’t in New Jersey with us. It was like everyone was at Propelify with us!
I challenge anyone reading this to have a sexual health conversation with your partner and see how it goes. Often the fear stops us from having the conversation, but once you actually talk, you see it’s not that big of a deal and your partner will appreciate the openness and be grateful you brought it up.
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