Dr Oren Fuerst: A Pioneer in the Emerging Industry of Digital Therapeutics.
Dr. Oren Fuerst is no stranger to the stress and success of the business world. A product of the IDF’s famed 8200 signals intelligence unit and graduate and former faculty member of Columbia University and Yale University Business School, he went on to launch a successful career as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. One of his latest projects is Eco-Fusion, a digital therapeutics firm of which he is chairman and founder. The firm focuses on providing an individualized stress management solution through a smartphone app, Serenita, which acts to both accurately measure the stress level of its users, and advise them in appropriate breathing exercises.
Dr. Fuerst has first-hand experience of the uniqueness of Israel as an environment, and why it produces a huge amount of innovations relative to its minuscule size:
“For one thing, the Jewish mindset is very based on education and accumulation of skills, starting at an early age. When I was growing up and had my Bar Mitzva, I invested my [gift] money in computers, and created a few pieces of software. I also had experience assisting in my dad’s business before the military.”
Dr Fuerst believes the Israeli military, and particularly his former unit the famed and secretive 8200, has an influence on the Jewish States’ innovative prowess.
“The army puts Israeli youths in situations most other young adults in the world are not exposed to. Specifically, in our unit you are commonly required to produce technologically based solutions with very limited resources and with severe time constraints. This forces you to think creatively, and practice makes perfect.”
Today, he is working on Serenita, his latest brainchild, a smartphone which seeks to address a wide array of health conditions through detecting and reducing stress using breathing exercises. Could an age emerge in which doctors are no longer necessary thanks to technological solutions? For the near future, Oren seemed skeptical and focuses on his app as a compliment to existing procedures:
“These services should not be used in place of doctors to treat serious conditions, digital therapeutics and medicines can enhance medical treatment by adding tools to the doctor’s tool box. For example, we are seeing that many conditions such as diabetes or migraines are in fact, caused by stress. So when we can reduce the stress a lot of the symptoms are improved the stress index we measure is highly correlated with the gold standard of stress and is now used as a new digital biomarker. We even showed significant improvement in the sugar levels of Type II diabetics who were out of normal range in spite of their medications.”
As well as a pioneer of Israeli technology, Dr Fuerst, sees a wave of interest in Israeli innovation coming from the markets in the East.
“It is clear there are at least four powerhouses the East, namely China, Japan, Korea and India. That being said, though there is a good chance that they will overtake North America and Europe as Israel’s chief business partners, The West is expected to maintain its position in near future. Nevertheless, every company should look at the Asian markets, even at its early years, as important target markets.”
Dr. Oren Fuerst is a successful, Israeli-born entrepreneur and investor. He is an advisor to AlmaLinks.