Exclusive interview of Jens Nörtershäuser, co-founder and co-CEO of Kranus Health and Baudouin Hue, Partner at Karista
Kranus Health solves men’s health issues that no one talks about. The German digital health start-up develops prescription digital therapeutics (PDTx) in the field of men’s health. After launching the first digital health application to the market as a fully reimbursable “app on prescription” for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and underlying causes, Kranus Health announced the successful closing of its Series A at over $8M led by Karista in June 2022. Six months later, Baudouin Hue, Partner at Karista and Jens Nörtershauser, co-founder and co-CEO of Kranus Health share their thoughts on the new relationship.
How did you meet each other? What was your very first impression?
Baudouin Hue: An Austrian family office from my network, Peak Pride, who knew our expertise in digital health, contacted me in view of leading Kranus Health’s Series A. The first ever conversation I had with the founders was immediately a very positive encounter. The two bold managers, Jens Nörtershäuser and Thilo Kleinschmidt, had obviously mastered the subject at hand to an exceptional extent; besides, the company was at the right level of maturity for us. The team at Kranus Health is really one-of-a-kind, with two former McKinsey consultants, the scientific leadership of Prof. Dr. KurtMiller, former Head of Urology at the Charité in Berlin, as well as Nikolay Dimolarov, a laser-sharp CTO. Above all, since the launch in January 2022, the potency app Kranus Edera by Kranus Health had seen the most successful launch of all digital health applications related to the DiGA-framework, a reimbursement scheme for PDTx in Germany. We also very much liked their strategy to focus on a range of clinical indications (with deep underserved markets) that fall under the prescription of a single physician : the urologist. This is a must to scale this type of company. Also Kranus Health addresses major taboo subjects in a smart way, through a digital interface, which offers trust and secrecy to patients, therefore satisfaction and a great commercial traction.
Jens Nörtershäuser: As Baudouin said, I met Karista through a third party, namely Peak Pride, who already had a great track record with Karista. During the first call with Baudouin, I immediately had the impression that he had sound knowledge of digital health, a very specific market in fact. Later on, I also understood he had extensive and global experience in that exact field, through the questions he was asking and through the discussion that we had. Over the years, Karista has built a major European network within our sector, this was a determinant factor to us.
What is Karista bringing to your development? What is its added value for Kranus Health?
Jens Nörtershäuser: I'd say the first impression never changed. So indeed, I am very happy to have them on board: what they really bring to the table and to the board is their in-depth expertise in healthcare, in particular in digital health because of other portfolio companies they support. But also, the international experience is really important to us as we do want to expand abroad: Karista is present in many markets outside of Germany, again thanks to other companies they invested in. Still, more specifically, I believe that Karista is a very valuable partner to us, they're always ready to help. It feels good from a founder perspective!
What are the first steps you took since the initial investment?
Jens Nörtershäuser: We've been working together now for six months. Baudouin has visited us many times during this period, so we really had the chance to get to know each other. From the very beginning, he tried to help where he could, in particular on the recruiting side, connecting us to specialized headhunters as well as to people with solid know-how and skills on the French market. Over all we have interesting discussions during board meetings, on good and best practices in digital therapeutics or on development issues.
Baudouin Hue: Actually, we closed the deal very quickly, in barely three months, because there was a strong shared desire to collaborate and a strong efficiency on both sides. Then, I actively participated in setting up the board including the implementation of governance and specific reporting processes. Since then, we have regular interactions in order to put Kranus Health management in contact with our network. I now consider myself an ambassador of Kranus Health and am very committed to contributing to the development of the company. Finally, Karista's international presence will help Kranus Health replicate its model in other European countries when it is time for their expansion. We also have good knowledge of European investors, which will be useful in the future.
What are the next steps together?
Jens Nörtershäuser: So, firstly, we are set on winning our home market, Germany, with our first product. Secondly, our goal is to become a multiproduct company. We already have our second product in medical development, and will launch it this year. Thirdly, we aim at expanding into other countries outside of Germany. So, 2023 will be a big year for us, as always. On these three aspects, Baudouin’s expertise will surely help us.
Baudouin Hue: We are waiting for the results of clinical trials and a major scientific publication. The objective is to obtain a reimbursement price matching the value provided. In just 12 months, Kranus has treated over 4’000 patients! We hope that this amazing growth will continue inGermany and elsewhere!