Got a dodgy spot on your skin that you’re a little bit worried about? Your smartphone may be all you need to find out early whether it’s skin cancer.

New Zealand health innovator Firstcheck earlier this month opened up shares in its smartphone technology business that helps detect skin cancer.

Sun-lovers can take photos of a suspicious mole with their phone camera and send them directly to a skin cancer doctor for review within 72 hours.

And it’s not just your standard camera: Firstcheck’s phone lens attachment enables smartphones to capture highly-magnified images clinically validated for melanoma detection. 

The company is seeking up to $NZ1.2m from retail investors from New Zealand and wholesale investors from around the world via Equitise.

The campaign is already 77 per cent towards its minimum of $NZ500,000 and was backed initially by New Zealand angel investment group Enterprise Angels and Kiwi skin health clinics owner, Skin Institute, which has 17 dermatology and skin clinics across the country.

Hayden Laird, the founder, said his inspiration for the app was his grandfather.

Firstcheck founder Hayden Laird

“The idea behind Firstcheck came when my grandfather was diagnosed with melanoma,” he said.

“Following a visit to a local mole-mapping service, we realised the power of skin specialists to diagnose skin conditions and skin cancer through photographs needed to be made more accessible.

“Our innovation helps raise awareness of skin cancer and then makes a personal skin checking tool widely accessible and affordable.

“Early detection really is key. We have developed a thriving product with over 35,000 app downloads, have been credited with saving lives, and we’re excited to be opening up our business for the public to be able to invest alongside our new investors.”

Firstcheck works to overcome accessibility issues for people that may mean suspicious spots and moles go left unchecked or not checked early enough.

Nearly nine in 10 melanomas are self-detected by patients, or family or friends, meaning people play a vital role in melanoma detection.

Firstcheck’s early detection focus also helps tackles skin cancer treatment costs, which currently total over $1 billion across Australia and New Zealand.

“They’re a company with tremendous growth potential and opportunity ahead, but more importantly they are a company which is geared towards social good in detecting skin cancer early, saving lives,” added Chris Gilbert, Equitise co-founder.

View the campaign here.