By Marcella McCarthy
Luka Ivicevic’s mom felt horribly sick for years, and despite going to countless doctors, no one could figure out what she had. Doctors treated her symptoms with medications, but never addressed the root cause of her illness. The U.S. healthcare system is reactive, instead of proactive, and with average doctor visits lasting only about 15 minutes, doctors - pressured by insurance companies to produce - don’t have much time to figure out what's really going on with a patient, so instead, they often prescribe medications to help mitigate the symptoms. But for patients with chronic disease, that approach can be a really hard pill to swallow.
Eventually, Ivicevic’s mom saw a functional medicine doctor. According to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio - which houses one of the top two functional medicine programs in the country - functional medicine seeks to find out, “Why are you ill?” It’s a very personalized approach where practitioners often want to learn your entire medical history (including things like if you took antibiotics as a kid, and if you were born via C-section or natural birth). A lLt of the treatment revolves around improving your gut health as well as using nutrition as the primary form of medicine.
After seeing a functional medicine doctor for a year, his mom felt extremely better. *For privacy purposes, we did not discuss the exact disease his mom has.
“I started thinking, why doesn’t everyone have access to this type of medicine: personalized, data-driven, root cause, proactive instead of reactive?” Ivicevic said. And so Index Health was born.
Index is a Miami-based startup that launched earlier this month, and it helps people optimize their health by offering a far more complete health analysis than most primary physicians. For the time being, Index is invite-only and is only working with high-performing individuals, but they intend to address the broader population in the future. It’s a 3 person co-founding team where Ivicevic is CEO, Sir Gabriel Holback is Chief Experience Officer, and the third co-founder is will be the medical director (he’s certified in functional medicine) but can’t be named at this time.
“We’re kind of your data-driven clinic that helps you take care of everything,” said Ivicevic (pictured above). Patients see a doctor virtually, and he orders all sorts of tests which you can often get done at your local lab (such as LabCorp or Quest, for example). Unlike traditional doctors who request just the basic blood work, functional medicine doctors do a much more thorough review of the patient’s systems.
Functional medicine doctors must have a Doctorate of Osteopathy or an MD before they can train to become a functional medicine doctor. To earn the certification in the U.S., doctors study through the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Ivicevic is a second-time founder. Prior to Index Health, he started a digital bank in Europe called Penta, which raised $45 million, has 150 employees, and is still in business today. Ivicevic stepped down as CEO this summer and moved to Miami to start his new venture.
“When I started Penta, I didn’t know anything about banking, and that gave me a different perspective on how simple it should be,” said Ivicevic. Instead of taking an old medical system and trying to adapt it to today’s day-in-age, Ivicevic and his team built something for today’s tech and data-heavy world from the get-go.
“Google and Facebook have so much information about us, but why don’t our doctors?” Ivicevic said.
Number of Employees: 10
Current target market:
- Entrepreneurs, founders, business executives, and professional athletes.
- People who are working in high-performance, demanding jobs where they need to be at the top of their physician and mental performance 24/7.
Business model: Index Health charges a monthly fee of $129 (not including tests that may be covered by your insurance). The first 30 days are free.