During my first month working for this magazine, we ran a two-page spread titled Why North Dakota? which highlighted North Dakota’s favorable national rankings in business, hard work, poverty rates, economic prospects and more. However, for one new business coming to the plains, Checkable Medical, the question of ‘Why North Dakota?’ can be answered with one word: opportunity.
The opportunity that Checkable Medical is seizing with a relocation from the Twin Cities to Fargo is an opportunity for increased access to capital. “There really is no place like North Dakota when it comes to funding, business connections and community,” said Post. The company has already been awarded $600,000 through the Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) and $40,000 through the CARES Act and is currently privately raising her Seed round of $2MM. Why all the buzz? Checkable Medical offers at-home strep tests as well as at home antibody tests for COVID-19, the virus we, unfortunately, are all too familiar with.
Checkable Medical’s CEO, Patty Post, says that the test can give results in 10 minutes as to whether or not the individual being tested has neutralizing antibodies for the COVID-19 virus. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, the neutralizing antibodies are a subgroup of antibodies that may inactivate the virus, meaning a person who tests positive for the antibodies had COVID-19 and may be at a reduced risk of infection and a reduced risk of spreading the virus to others.
Why should Fargo INC! Readers care?
Because everyone should care! Knowing whether or not you or someone you know has had COVID can help make decisions as far as whether or not to socially gather. The knowledge could also be used to confirm that a transmission has taken place in a case where the individual is experiencing residual symptoms and seeking treatment for those symptoms.
“Being able to do the two tests at home is really important,” said Post. “People won’t have to take off time for work. The working mom or the working dad can test their kid at home and get their medication filled and know whether or not the kid has strep immediately instead of missing a day of work.”
Post knows the importance of this all too well. After having her first child at the early age of 23 (she now has three) she fully embraced the title ‘mompreneur.’ During Post’s 15 years working in medical devices, she always had something on the side, whether that was her publishing company for math books or an e-commerce yoga business, she always managed to find time for something while marketing capital and surgical equipment to hospitals and physicians. However, she went full-time on Checkable in May of 2019 and hasn’t looked back.
How did Post decide to start Checkable Medical?
“I had a few different occasions where all three of my kids had sore throats, sometimes they had the infection and other times it was a wasted visit as they has a viral infection,” said Post. “There was one time when two of them had tested positive and the third was having symptoms. I called our pediatrician to see if she would give me the prescription since my son had tested positive earlier in the week but we needed a positive test in order to prescribe.” Group A Strep is highly contagious, when one person in the family has it it’s likely the other kids have it too. Being told to go in for a test was frustrating and time consuming.
Post looked on Amazon and they actually had a rapid test for sale, leaving her to wonder ‘why is this even available on amazon?’ She then noticed there were actually a large number of different tests available on Amazon through third party resellers, showing her there was a big-time market opportunity. From there, Post spent the next nine months researching the path to approval, sales channels, who would buy the product and what she needed to do to make the product unique and make parents feel confident in buying it.
Post and her company are working to set themselves apart and raise the bar by becoming the first FDA approved OTC rapid strep test, forcing the illegally marketed products off the market. They are also working to be the first OTC cleared rapid antibody test, expecting to receive that approval in the first quarter of 2021.