Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

What is the name of your organization?


What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

A multi-channel messaging platform that connects Sickle Cell Disease patients, allies and professionals with tools to improve the healthcare journey.

What specific problem are you solving?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a rare genetic disorder that predominantly affects around 100,000 Black Americans and others of African descent. The rarity of the disease brings forth a set of challenges such as limited awareness, inadequate support systems, and insufficient access to specialized healthcare resources and frequent (expensive) trips to the emergency room.

While many SCD symptoms start presenting in children as young as 5 months old, many of the problems associated with sickle cell patients between the ages of 6-10 years old. 2

The lack of information surrounding SCD impacts the entire medical system. According to the CDC, SCD patient have much higher than average number of doctor visits per year:   

  • In a single year,

    • About 5 in 10 patients with SCD had no treat-and-release ED visits (No ED use),

    • About 3 in 10 patients had between 1 and 3 visits (Low ED use),

    • About 1 in 10 patients had between 4 and 10 visits (Medium ED use), and

    • About 1 in 30 patients had 11 or more visits (High ED use).

These problems are compounded by social, economic and historic  disparities that undergird many of the systems that serve this often isolated and under resourced population.  These compounded problems often manifest through distrust and fear, ultimately delaying diagnosis, decreasing the quality of SCD patients' experience, and creating a burden on the health care system.  

According to Kennedy, Mathis and Woods:

“The perception of mistrust from the African American community is in large caused by their previous experiences with the health care system. However, the mistrust is not only in perception, but has many other reasons. Mistrust of the health care system by African Americans is a major problem that has to be addressed and corrected." 1

Mistrust leads to other problems which are amplified by:

Lack of Awareness: SCD is a relatively rare disease, and there is often a lack of awareness and knowledge among healthcare providers about its symptoms and complications. This can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, prolonging the patient's journey to receiving appropriate care.

Stigma and Misunderstanding: SCD is sometimes misunderstood, and patients may face stigma or discrimination due to misconceptions about the disease. This can create barriers to accessing timely and appropriate healthcare, as well as emotional support.

Limited Access to Specialized Care: SCD requires specialized care from healthcare professionals familiar with the disease. However, not all healthcare facilities or regions may have adequate expertise or resources to provide comprehensive SCD care. This can result in limited access to specialized healthcare services, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment

Socioeconomic Factors: Socioeconomic factors, such as limited financial resources, inadequate health insurance coverage, and transportation challenges, can create barriers to accessing healthcare services, including diagnostic tests and specialist consultations. These obstacles may contribute to delays in the diagnostic journey for SCD patients.

Language and Cultural Barriers: Language barriers and cultural differences can pose challenges in effective communication between patients and healthcare providers. It is essential to have culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate healthcare services to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.

1 AJMC. (2021, May 20). A patient’s journey with sickle cell disease. AJMC. 

 2 Kennedy, B. R., Mathis, C. C., & Woods, A. K. (2007). African Americans and their distrust of the health care system: healthcare for diverse populations. Journal of cultural diversity, 14(2), 56–60.

What is your solution?

Koko is a conversational marketing platform designed to support individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) and their families. It's like a digital trusted messenger hub that provides various tools and resources to help people navigate their SCD journey more easily. Here's a simplified explanation of how our solution works:

1. Community Outreach: To reach the grassroots level and engage with parents of undiagnosed children, and the SCD community and their allies, Koko utilizes a multifaceted approach. Deploying Geo targeted out-of-home and social media advertisements, the platform raises awareness and captures the attention of the target audience about the symptoms and signs of sickle cell and what triggers outbreaks amongst children and adults. By incorporating QR code-driven lead generation software, Koko enables individuals to easily connect with the platform, creating a seamless user experience and fostering engagement.

Through these targeted advertising strategies, Koko ensures that the platform reaches the SCD community and allies, facilitating meaningful interactions and connections. The SMS and ChatBot lead generation tech plays a pivotal role in triggering machine learning and AI processes, allowing the platform to provide accurate information, resources, and support tailored to each individual's needs.

2. Messaging Services: Our platform integrates messaging services, allowing SCD patients and their families to communicate with healthcare professionals, support groups, and other community members. Tailored messaging interventions are used to support individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD). These messages are based on research findings regarding factors linked to negative experiences and emergency room visits.The integration with ChatGPT, an advanced language model, enables Koko to deliver intelligent and contextually relevant responses, addressing the specific needs and queries of SCD patients. Additionally, customized ChatPDF libraries enhance the platform's capabilities, providing secure and efficient document handling for sharing essential resources and educational materials. Video chat, call and agent deployment tools are also integrated into our messaging services. 

3. Educational Resources: We offer a wealth of educational materials about SCD, including articles, videos, and guides. These resources cover topics such as managing symptoms, treatment options, lifestyle recommendations, and general information to help users better understand the disease and make informed decisions about their health. Users can engage this knowledge via personified SMS bots, Chatbot or live agent features. These resources are voiced in the language and culture of the target audience. 

4. Community Support Groups: In the future we will facilitate online support groups where individuals with SCD and their families can connect, share experiences, and provide emotional support to one another. These groups foster a sense of community, allowing users to find comfort and understanding in others who are going through similar challenges.

5. Facilitating Access to Specialized Care: Through our platform, we can help connect SCD patients with healthcare providers who specialize in the disease and specialist via IRV and telehealth servicing. By providing a centralized platform for accessing specialized care, we can address the challenge of limited access to appropriate healthcare services. 

6. Integration of Care Coordination Tools: Our platform helps streamline care coordination by providing features that allow users to manage their appointments, access medical records, and collaborate with their healthcare team and integrating into other platforms existing APIs provided by health care providers.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Koko serves individuals and families affected by sickle cell disease (SCD), a hereditary blood disorder that predominantly affects people of African descent. This product  is designed to make a positive impact on the lives of SCD patients by addressing the challenges they face throughout their healthcare journey.

The target population for Koko includes SCD patients of all ages, their caregivers, and the healthcare professionals involved in their care. SCD presents unique challenges, including recurrent pain episodes, organ damage, and increased susceptibility to infections. These challenges often result in a complex and fragmented healthcare experience, making it crucial to provide targeted support and resources to this population.

To ensure that our solutions truly meet the needs of SCD patients, we have taken a proactive approach to understanding their experiences and requirements. One of our dedicated Product Managers has personal experience with sickle cell disease, providing firsthand insight into the daily struggles, frustrations, and aspirations of individuals living with the condition. This deep understanding helps shape our platform's features, functionalities, and user experience, ensuring they align with the specific needs of the target population.

By having a Product Manager with sickle cell, we are uniquely positioned to empathize with the challenges faced by SCD patients and incorporate their perspectives into the development and enhancement of our platform. This firsthand knowledge allows us to prioritize features that address pain management, provide educational resources, facilitate efficient communication with healthcare providers, and foster a sense of community among SCD patients.

Additionally, we actively engage with the SCD community through focus groups, surveys, and collaborations with advocacy organizations and healthcare providers. These interactions allow us to gather valuable feedback, insights, and suggestions from the target population. We take these insights seriously and leverage them to continuously improve our platform, ensuring that it remains relevant, effective, and user-friendly.

By understanding the needs of the SCD population and incorporating their perspectives into our platform, Koko aims to have a profound impact on their lives. We strive to streamline the diagnostic process, provide access to accurate information and resources, facilitate communication and coordination among healthcare providers, and foster a sense of community and support among SCD patients and their families.

Through our tailored solutions, we aim to empower SCD patients to take an active role in their healthcare management, improve the coordination of their care teams, and enhance their overall quality of life. By addressing the unique challenges faced by this population, Koko envisions a future where SCD patients have improved healthcare experiences, better access to resources, and a stronger support network, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and improved well-being.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, our team came together to form the foundation of PopUp.Pro (formerly known as United by a shared vision and a deep sense of responsibility, our team comprising product owner Robert Baker PhD, CTO Frank Masby, product manager Kortni Blackmon, and digital strategist Enchanta Jackson, developed an application to counter misinformation and challenges faced by Black American organizations during this critical time.

Our journey began with a realization of the dire need to address the rampant spread of misinformation within the Black community, which was exacerbating the impact of the pandemic. Understanding the power of technology and communication, we embarked on a mission to develop messaging applications that amplified the voices of trusted messengers across multiple markets and regions.

We partnered with an organization focused on community empowerment and faith based organization called Live Free. Armed with a clear vision and inspired by the urgent need to protect vulnerable communities, they received a generous one million-dollar grant from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey for a program called "Mask for the People." Live Free tasked us with developing the software to facilitate the distribution of masks and educate about their importance.

Harnessing our collective technical prowess and marketing background, we worked tirelessly to create intuitive and user-friendly applications. These applications not only served as a conduit for distributing masks to those in need but also became powerful tools for disseminating accurate health information, debunking myths, and combating the spread of misinformation. By leveraging our expertise in both technology and marketing, we aimed to bridge the gap between communities and reliable, life-saving information.

As our team continued to make strides in their mission, we fostered partnerships with influential Black American organizations, such as the Church of God in Christ and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Together, we harnessed the collective power of technology, culture, and community to combat misinformation, protect vulnerable populations, and promote public health.

As the pandemic unfolded, we began partnering with a key partner in this project, Inpower, a Black and women owned marketing firm based in

Milwaukee that was coordinating strategies with the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health and the Milwaukee County House of Corrections. 

We  took on new projects as leaders looked for new ways to have direct connections with their target audience. Recognizing the vital role of municipal public health agencies in curbing the spread of the virus, our team extended our efforts to develop tailored solutions for these agencies. We collaborated closely with public health officials, understanding the unique challenges they faced in disseminating critical information and managing resources. Through our technological expertise, we developed innovative features and strategies that enabled municipal public health agencies to efficiently communicate with the public, provide real-time updates, and promote preventive measures.

However, we believe our solutions can have an impact long after the pandemic is ended. That's why we started in 2023. We believe in the power of culture and its influence on technology. 

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Improve the rare disease patient diagnostic journey – reducing the time, cost, resources, and duplicative travel and testing for patients and caregivers.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Milwaukee, WI, USA

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • United States

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model, but which is not yet serving anyone

Please share details about what makes your solution a Prototype rather than a Concept.

During the pandemic, we developed a similar solution and similar features for a nationwide segment of the Black American population. But while our technical features, and approach has been tested to deploy messaging and community conversations around COVID-19, we have not yet applied this set of technologies to specifically target SCD patients. 

We are, however, in the process of setting demos for perspective partners which include the Medical College of Wisconsin, All of Us Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee County Department and Health and Human Services. 

We believe targeting Milwaukee and medium sized markets in the Midwest will help us develop a stronger case study that measures the impact of our solution.

Why are you applying to the Prize?

We are thrilled to submit an application for the MIT Horizon Prize, as it aligns perfectly with our mission to improve the diagnostic journey for sickle cell patients. The grant's focus on advancing healthcare innovation and addressing pressing challenges resonates deeply with our team at PopUp.Pro, who are committed to making a meaningful impact on the lives of sickle cell patients and their families.

The diagnostic journey for sickle cell patients is often fraught with obstacles and delays, leading to suboptimal healthcare outcomes and increased burdens on individuals already facing significant challenges. We recognize that improving this journey requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses technological innovation, community engagement, and a deep understanding of the unique needs and experiences of sickle cell patients.

With our expertise in conversational marketing and community-building, we aim to develop innovative solutions that streamline the diagnostic process for sickle cell patients. By leveraging emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can create intelligent diagnostic tools that enhance accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility. These tools will empower patients to navigate the diagnostic journey with greater ease, reducing delays and improving the overall healthcare experience.

Moreover, our emphasis on community engagement aligns perfectly with the MIT Horizon Prize's objective to create a patient-centered approach. We firmly believe that involving patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups in the development process is crucial to understanding their unique challenges, needs, and preferences. Through partnerships with grassroots organizations and direct engagement with the sickle cell community, we will ensure that our solutions are co-designed and effectively address the barriers faced by patients.

By receiving the MIT Horizon Prize, we will have the resources and support to further refine our diagnostic solutions, conduct rigorous testing, and gather real-world data to validate their effectiveness. The grant will enable us to collaborate with leading experts and researchers in the field, leveraging their knowledge and insights to drive continuous improvement and innovation in our diagnostic platform.

Additionally, the prestige and recognition associated with the MIT Horizon Prize will significantly enhance our credibility and reach. It will open doors to key stakeholders, including healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers, facilitating collaborations that can drive systemic change and adoption of our diagnostic solutions. We envision our partnership with MIT to be a catalyst for transforming the diagnostic journey for sickle cell patients nationwide, ultimately improving health outcomes and quality of life for this vulnerable population.

In conclusion, the MIT Horizon Prize presents an exceptional opportunity for PopUp.Pro to advance our mission of improving the social determinants of health for Black Americans. With our expertise in conversational marketing, community engagement, and technological innovation, we are well-positioned to develop cutting-edge solutions that address the specific challenges faced by this often distrusting community. By receiving this grant, we can amplify our impact, collaborate with leading experts, and drive meaningful change in the healthcare landscape. We are excited about the potential of this partnership. 

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Dr. Robert "Biko" Baker

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

Dr. Robert "Biko" Baker, the founder of PopUp.Pro, brings a unique combination of academic focus, grassroots organizing experience, and technological expertise to his role as the team's leader. With a Ph.D. in History from UCLA, Dr. Baker's research and deep understanding of Black culture, particularly in communities like Milwaukee, equip him with valuable insights into the challenges and aspirations of the target audience. His academic background enables him to analyze and interpret the stories and narratives that motivate people to take action, which is crucial for developing effective solutions for the sickle cell disease (SCD) community.

Dr. Baker's background as a grassroots organizer further strengthens his suitability for leading the team. Having been actively involved in building tech solutions for community based and governmental agencies since leaving the League of Young Voters Education Fund in 2015, he possesses firsthand knowledge of the issues faced by marginalized communities. This experience not only informs his understanding of the needs of the SCD community but also shapes his approach to developing solutions that are rooted in inclusivity, empowerment, and community engagement.

Furthermore, Dr. Baker's self-training as a technologist showcases his commitment to leveraging technology to drive social impact. His journey in developing SMS bots that reach people at scale since 2008 demonstrates his early recognition of the potential of mobile messaging in reaching and engaging with diverse audiences. Dr. Baker's experience in building messaging apps for Palm Trios as far back as 2004 underscores his long-standing interest in leveraging technology to improve communication and accessibility.

By combining his academic focus on Black communities, grassroots organizing experience, and technological expertise, Dr. Baker is uniquely positioned to lead the team at PopUp.Pro. His multidimensional background allows him to bridge the gap between academia, community organizing, and technology, enabling the development of innovative solutions that are culturally sensitive, inclusive, and impactful. Dr. Baker's leadership ensures that PopUp.Pro remains at the forefront of addressing the needs of the SCD community, leveraging technology to drive positive change and create meaningful impact in the lives of those affected by the disease.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative and sustainable?

Koko is both innovative and sustainable, driven by our unique approaches to tackling the challenges faced by sickle cell disease (SCD) patients. Our platform stands out by combining technological advancements with a deep understanding of Black culture, language, and historical forces that shape our target audience. This distinctive combination enables us to deliver effective, culturally sensitive, impactful solutions all while reducing the cost of healthcare and its impact on the planet. 

1. Innovative Approaches: Koko leverages cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and conversational marketing to provide personalized and contextually relevant support to SCD patients. By incorporating natural language processing and deep learning algorithms, our platform can understand and respond to the specific needs, concerns, and preferences of parents of undiagnosed SCD children and individuals and families living with SCD. This level of innovation ensures that our solutions are tailored and effective, facilitating a more positive healthcare experience for Black Americans who have a unique voice and perspective. 

2. Unique Cultural Understanding: Our team's deep understanding of Black culture, language, and historical forces that have shaped the experiences of our target audience gives us a significant advantage. We recognize the historical distrust and marginalization that Black Americans have experienced within the medical system, which extends to SCD patients. By incorporating this understanding into our platform's design and approach, we can build trust, address cultural sensitivities, and deliver solutions that resonate with the target population. This cultural competency enhances the effectiveness and relevance of our interventions.

3. Broader Positive Impacts: The innovative and sustainable solutions provided by Koko extend beyond individual patient experiences. By reducing barriers in the diagnostic journey and creating a supportive community, we contribute to better health outcomes and improved quality of life for SCD patients and their families. Additionally, our platform facilitates more efficient communication and coordination among healthcare providers, leading to streamlined care processes and improved patient outcomes. By empowering SCD patients to actively participate in their healthcare management, we foster a sense of agency and self-advocacy, positively impacting their overall well-being and reducing the life-time cost per SCD patient.

4. Sustainability: Koko’s sustainability is rooted in its long-term commitment to the SCD community. But we are also reducing the cost that SCD have on healthcare systems by distributing the costs to agents, bots and the community. Telehealth not only reduces travel and unneeded visits, but it also has a positive impact on the industry's carbon footprint. 

Our understanding of Black culture, language, and historical forces gives us a distinct edge in delivering solutions that are tailored, culturally sensitive, and ultimately make a meaningful difference in the lives of SCD patients and their families.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Next Year:

1. Reduce the number of ED visits: Koko  willconnect SCD patients to resources, including telehealth options through a simple text. Frequent AI engagements will help SCD patients take preventive measures to reduce symptoms. 

2. Improve Care Coordination: Measure the increase in the number of healthcare professionals actively engaging with our platform, as well as the improvement in communication and coordination among care teams through our integrated messaging and collaboration features.

3. Enhance Patient Education: Measure the increase in patient satisfaction and knowledge through regular surveys and assessments, focusing on the availability and effectiveness of educational resources provided on our platform.

4. Foster Supportive Community: Measure the growth of our user community, including the number of registered users, active participation in support groups, and engagement in community activities, reflecting the sense of community and support experienced by SCD patients and their families.

5. Collaborate with Research Institutions: Measure the number of partnerships established with research institutions to conduct studies and analyze data collected through our platform, contributing to a deeper understanding of SCD patient experiences, health outcomes, and effective interventions.

Next Five Years:

1. Long-Term Health Outcomes: Measure improvements in key health indicators such as reduced hospitalization rates, emergency room visits, pain crisis frequency, and overall quality of life assessments among our platform users compared to non-platform users and historical data.

2. Empower Patient Advocacy: Measure the increase in patient empowerment and self-advocacy through qualitative feedback, user testimonials, and surveys that assess patients' confidence in navigating the healthcare system, actively participating in their healthcare decisions, and advocating for their needs.

3. Influence Healthcare Policies: Measure our impact on influencing healthcare policies and guidelines by monitoring the adoption of best practices informed by our platform among healthcare professionals and organizations, as well as our collaborations with advocacy groups and policy influencers.

4. Increase Early Diagnosis: Develop a framework to measure the reduction in the average time it takes for individuals with SCD symptoms to receive an accurate diagnosis by leveraging our platform's diagnostic support tools, educational resources, and improved communication channels for Black Americans that connect them with healthcare professionals.

To achieve these impact goals, we will employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures, including data analysis, surveys, user feedback, collaborations, and partnerships. Regular monitoring and evaluation will allow us to assess our progress, identify areas for improvement, and refine our strategies to maximize our impact on the lives of SCD patients and the medical health professionals who care for them.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

To measure our impact goals, PopUp.Pro utilizes a comprehensive approach that incorporates various quantitative and qualitative metrics. Here is an overview of the measurement methods for each goal:

1. Increase Early Diagnosis:

- Quantitative Measurement: Track and analyze the average time from symptom presentation to diagnosis among platform users compared to non-platform users, utilizing data collected through our platform.

- Qualitative Feedback: Conduct surveys and interviews with patients to gather insights on their diagnostic journey, including perceived improvements in the timeliness and accuracy of their diagnosis.

2. Improve Care Coordination:

- Quantitative Measurement: Monitor the frequency and quality of interactions between patients and healthcare professionals through our platform's messaging and collaboration features.

- Qualitative Feedback: Collect feedback from both patients and healthcare professionals through surveys and interviews to assess improvements in communication, coordination, and overall care experience.

3. Enhance Patient Education:

- Quantitative Measurement: Evaluate user engagement with educational resources on our platform, such as the number of views, downloads, and completion rates of educational materials.

- Qualitative Feedback: Gather feedback from patients on the relevance, usefulness, and comprehensibility of educational resources through surveys and user feedback mechanisms.

4. Foster Supportive Community:

- Quantitative Measurement: Monitor the growth of our user community, including the number of registered users, active participation in support groups, and engagement in community activities.

- Qualitative Feedback: Solicit feedback from users through surveys, focus groups, and testimonials to assess the sense of community, emotional support, and impact on overall well-being experienced by SCD patients and their families.

For the next five years, the measurement methods would be similar, but with longer-term data analysis and evaluation. Additionally, partnerships with research institutions would enable the collection and analysis of comprehensive data on health outcomes, patient empowerment, policy influence, and collaborations with the medical community.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

At PopUp.Pro, we believe that our solution will have a significant impact on the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) and the healthcare professionals who support them. We base our approach on a theory of change, which outlines the causal pathway through which our activities lead to desired outcomes. Here's a simplified explanation of our theory of change:

1. Activities: We have developed a conversational marketing platform specifically designed for SCD patients and their families. Our platform integrates features such as messaging services, educational resources, community support groups, and care coordination tools.

2. Outputs: Through our platform, we provide a range of outputs, including improved access to information, enhanced communication channels, educational materials, community engagement, and streamlined care coordination for SCD patients.

3. Immediate Outcomes: We expect that these outputs will result in immediate outcomes such as increased awareness and knowledge about SCD, improved communication between patients and healthcare professionals, enhanced patient empowerment, and a sense of community and support among patients and their families.

4. Intermediate Outcomes: As a result of the immediate outcomes, we anticipate that SCD patients will experience improved healthcare experiences, more timely and accurate diagnoses, better care coordination, increased self-advocacy, and improved overall well-being.

5. Long-Term Outcomes: Over time, these intermediate outcomes contribute to long-term outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations, decreased emergency room visits, lower pain crisis frequency, improved quality of life, and increased patient satisfaction with their healthcare journey.

To ensure the validity and effectiveness of our solution, we will partner with third-party evaluators and research institutions. These partners will conduct independent evaluations and assessments of our platform's impact, collecting and analyzing data to measure outcomes and validate the effectiveness of our activities.

By following this theory of change and leveraging our platform's capabilities, we aim to create a positive impact on the lives of SCD patients and the healthcare professionals who support them. Through continuous evaluation and improvement, we remain committed to driving meaningful change and improving the experiences and outcomes for individuals affected by sickle cell disease.

If your solution is tech-based, describe the core technology that powers your solution.

PopUp.Pro is a technically advanced conversational marketing platform built using Node.js seamlessly integrating AWS and Twilio messaging services with ChatGPT and customized ChatPDF libraries. This robust technological foundation enables Koko to engage with sickle cell disease (SCD) patients using real-person SMS functionality, triggering machine learning and AI-powered interactions. The platform leverages the power of natural language processing and deep learning algorithms to provide personalized responses and valuable insights to SCD patients.

By integrating AWS and Twilio messaging services, Koko ensures reliable and scalable communication channels, allowing seamless interactions between patients and the platform. The integration with ChatGPT, an advanced language model, enables Koko to deliver intelligent and contextually relevant responses, addressing the specific needs and queries of SCD patients. Additionally, the customized ChatPDF libraries enhance the platform's capabilities, providing secure and efficient document handling for sharing essential resources and educational materials.

To reach the grassroots level and engage with the SCD community and their allies, PopUp.Pro utilizes a multifaceted approach. Deploying out-of-home and social media advertisements, the platform raises awareness and captures the attention of the target audience. By incorporating QR code-driven lead generation software, PopUp.Pro and products like Koko enable individuals to easily connect with the platform, creating a seamless user experience and fostering engagement.

Through these targeted advertising strategies, Koko ensures that the platform reaches the SCD community and its allies, facilitating meaningful interactions and connections. The SMS functionality plays a pivotal role in triggering machine learning and AI processes, allowing the platform to provide accurate information, resources, and support tailored to each individual's needs.

In summary, PopUp.Pro's technical architecture, built on Node.js and integrating AWS and Twilio messaging services with ChatGPT and customized ChatPDF libraries, forms a robust foundation for engaging with the SCD community. Leveraging real-person SMS functionality, machine learning, and AI-powered interactions, PopUp.Pro delivers personalized responses and valuable insights to SCD patients. By deploying out-of-home and social media advertisements and utilizing QR code-driven lead generation software, PopUp.Pro connects with the grassroots level and ensures meaningful engagement with the SCD community and its allies.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications

If your solution has a website, app, or social media handle, provide the link(s) here:

In which countries do you currently operate?


In which countries will you be operating within the next year?


Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

Four individuals work on our project at the moment.

How long have you been working on your solution?

We started scrumming in 2020, and have been offering a number of our features as SaaS to a handful of clients. We started working on this particular solution in 2022 as we started brainstorming with key community members on new ways to help the Black American community. 

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

At PopUp.Pro, we deeply value and prioritize equality and diversity in all aspects of our work. We firmly believe that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves equitable access to healthcare and support. Our commitment to equality and diversity is reflected in our mission to address the specific needs and challenges faced by individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) and their families, particularly those from marginalized communities.

We are dedicated to promoting inclusivity within our organization, ensuring that our team is diverse, representative, and inclusive of individuals from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and lived experiences. We recognize the importance of diverse perspectives in driving innovation and understanding the unique needs of our target audience.

In the development of our solution, we actively seek to incorporate cultural sensitivity, linguistic accessibility, and historical understanding. By deeply understanding and respecting the diverse cultural and historical forces that shape our target audience, we can create a platform that effectively addresses their needs and fosters an inclusive and supportive environment.

Furthermore, we are committed to collaborating with community organizations, grassroots initiatives, and healthcare professionals who share our values of equality and diversity. By partnering with these stakeholders, we can ensure that our solution is informed by real-world experiences and benefits from the collective wisdom and expertise of diverse voices.

Through our work, we aim to contribute to a healthcare landscape that embraces equality and diversity, where healthcare disparities are diminished, and individuals from all backgrounds can access the care and support they need. We believe that by championing equality and diversity, we can make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society as a whole.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our business model at PopUp.Pro revolves around providing value-added services and generating revenue through several key streams. Here is an overview of our business model:

1. Subscription-Based Model: We offer subscription plans for individuals, families, and healthcare organizations to access the full range of features and resources available on our platform. Subscribers gain unlimited messaging services, access to educational materials, participation in support groups, and utilization of care coordination tools. The subscription fees are based on the level of access and usage required.

2. Partnerships with Healthcare Institutions: We collaborate with healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, and medical centers, to provide our platform as a value-added service for their patients. These partnerships involve licensing agreements or revenue-sharing models, where healthcare institutions integrate our platform into their existing systems and leverage our tools to enhance patient care and engagement.

3. Sponsorships and Grants: We actively seek sponsorships and grants from foundations, corporations, and government agencies that align with our mission and values. These financial resources support the development and expansion of our platform, allowing us to improve our services, reach a wider audience, and drive impact in the SCD community.

4. Data Analytics and Insights: Anonymized and aggregated data collected through our platform can provide valuable insights and analytics on SCD patient journeys, healthcare utilization, and treatment outcomes. We offer data analysis services to healthcare researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and public health agencies, helping them gain insights into the disease, refine treatments, and contribute to advancements in SCD care.

5. Consulting and Customization Services: We provide consulting and customization services to healthcare organizations and institutions seeking to develop their own conversational marketing platforms or enhance their existing systems. Our team of experts offers tailored solutions, training, and support to optimize their patient engagement and care coordination capabilities.

As we grow and expand our user base, we aim to continually innovate and evolve our business model, exploring additional opportunities for strategic partnerships, collaborations, and revenue streams that align with our mission of improving the lives of SCD patients and their families.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

We are currently in the pre-seed friends and family round. It is our goal to raise between $500,000 and $1,000,000 as SAFE notes so that we can balance our current SaaS opportunities and leverage our growing connections to the public health space to come out boldly as a MedTech solution. While bootstrapping has allowed to build a very effective way for regular people to have conversations at scale, we are raising funding so that we can drill down on this opportunity. 

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

PopUp.Pro currently has around $20,000 a month in revenue due to our SaaS business that was formerly called We anticipate that this will grow to $40,000 by the end of 2023 However, we are seeking funding to grow our team and help launch our new product offerings like KoKo. 

Solution Team

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