Sickweather gained a lot of attention by forecasting illnesses using Facebook and Twitter. Now, the company is looking to bring the conversation onto its own platform.
With Sickweather Groups, the Emerging Technology Centers-based startup is adding a way for users to add their own locations for sickness reports and discuss diseases within the platform. Users can also follow a specific locations to see if illnesses are reported there.
“If you want to have a conversation about these things, you don’t have to have it on Facebook or Twitter anymore, you can have it on Sickweather,” said CEO Graham Dodge.
While the feature launched earlier this month, Dodge said they are still in MVP mode. But he believes the social function has the ability to draw users.
“In the five years that we’ve been doing Sickweather, it was the first time we really had a user community where people could connect with each other,” he said.
— Sickweather (@sickweather) March 3, 2016
In addition to providing a forum, Dodge also believes it can provide a place to distribute accurate public health information about a high concentration of a disease.
Sickweather also has a recently released dashboard for bigger companies and corporations. Sickweather Pro includes a forecast for illnesses up to 15 weeks out. While pharmacies and other health-related companies probably have an obvious benefit in knowing if there is a high concentration of disease, there’s also a benefit for other types of companies.
For instance, Dodge said, if a bank knows a high concentration of the flu is hitting an area, they could call in more staff to make up for employees who will likely be calling in sick.
The company also received recent help on the funding front. The Howard County Economic Development Authority awarded the company a $150,000 loan through its Catalyst Loan Fund, which is backed by state revenue from video lottery terminals.