At TechCrunch Disrupt in May, ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi addressed an important question: Considering healthcare is such a hot-button issue right now, why is the healthcare space so underrepresented among startups? Part of the reason, the ZocDoc CEO ventured, was that many entrepreneurs don’t realize the size of the opportunity: Healthcare is a $2.7 trillion industry. Of course, there’s also the difficulty of tackling calcified, legacy infrastructures, those historically high barriers to entry, and the fact that many in the past have been burned by becoming too patient-centric.
Yet, in spite of the FDA slowing innovation and the Supreme Court toying with our hearts, the truth is that, over the last two years, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of healthtech startups arriving on the scene. Thanks to conferences like Health 2.0 and TEDMED, along with accelerators like Healthbox, Blueprint Health, and Rock Health, these companies are starting to get the attention (and capital) they need.
Case in point: Late last week, San Francisco and Boston-based healthtech accelerator Rock Health held demo day for its second batch of startups at Practice Fusion’s headquarters. The thirteen companies pitched their ideas for making healthcare cheaper, more social, intuitive, and just generally less of a pain in the ass. Even though these companies have a hard road ahead, there are ideas here that, with some iteration and funding, could have legs. And investors have started to take notice.
In fact, over 300 investors and advisors were in attendance at Rock Health’s demo day, including representatives from Kleiner Perkins, DST, Benchmark, Founders Fund, Kapor Capital, Khosla, and Bain to name a few. What’s more, five of the startups announced that they’d closed (or were soon to close) seed financing, including a $2.5 million raise for Agile Diagnosis and DocPhin’s announcement that it had secured funding from the Mayo Clinic — the practice/research/educator known for treating difficult cases and operating one of the top hospitals in the country.
Aside from helping its founders make industry connections and find funding, Rock Health is providing a valuable service by guiding/educating health startups on the kind of stuff your average consumer tech company doesn’t have to worry about, like government regulations (from the FDA to HIPAA compliance) and institutional sales to health providers.
Rock Health also just kicked off its third batch and the first to be located in Boston. Co-founder Halle Tecco tells us that they actually just sent seven of these startups to build their businesses at Harvard Medical School. “This is the first time that an incubator has sent startups into a hospital to work,” she said, “and we think it will be invaluable for the teams participating.” Think we’ll call this the new “Rock Health residency.”
The accelerator’s second batch of 13 are worth checking out, so, without further ado, here’s a peek at what they’re up to:
AchieveMint powers an intelligent incentive network that rewards consumers who make healthy choices, meaning that users can earn points for eating an entire head of broccoli, checking in from the climbing gym, or connecting their health-tracking device to AchieveMint and getting off the couch.
Sounds a bit like HealthRally and GymPact, no? But the points you earn on AchieveMint from livin’ the healthy life can be redeemed for actual, real world merchandise, like gift cards, and the like. Interestingly, insurance providers put up the money for these consumer rewards in exchange for advertising and branding opportunities on AchieveMint’s platform.
Agile Diagnosis is a web and mobile platform for doctors that provides them with robust, yet easy to consume clinical guidelines and feedback from other physicians to help accurately and efficiently diagnose and treat patients at the point-of-care.
As the ZocDoc CEO said above, it’s all about building solutions that help doctors do their jobs better, and this Y Combinator and Rock Health-backed company is doing that by making critical diagnostic information more actionable, saving time and, hopefully, lives. Read our coverage of Agile Diagnosis’s beta launch here.
Avva is the first online, patient-focused cancer management tool that helps comprehensively organize, manage and communicate important treatment information.
As an example of this, the company is initially targeting breast cancer patients by helping patients and their families create customized lists of questions to ask doctors. Plans to monetize include connecting pharma companies with people willing to volunteer for clinical trials. Using a similar approach to Cancer.net.
Cardiio provides software that turns ordinary cameras into biosensors, allowing people to use mobile devices they already own to gain insight and take charge of their wellbeing. For example, the startup developed technology that allows people to take measure heart rate by scanning their faces with their smartphone’s camera. This tech has application way beyond heart scans for all kinds of remote diagnoses and monitoring. The startup has an iPhone app coming soon.
Care at Hand mobilizes health data beyond the home to clinicians ensuring accountable, post-acute care. If you’ve returned home after treatment, Care At Hand will be able to notify doctors is you, say, stopped taking your medications or are beginning to experience a relapse.
ChickRx is a personalized health and wellness platform for women, delivering Q&A with experts and peers, e-commerce, and engaging content. Existing health sites are clinical, and tend to target everyone, rather than a specific niche. ChickRx, in contrast, is a site built by women for women, allowing them to ask questions, browse products, and buy, giving ChickRx a shopping component on top of its healthy lifestyle content offerings.
Cognitive Health Innovations is the first clinically validated solution for therapists to connect with their clients via social web and mobile apps. The subscription-based therapy tools help patients ask questions and get online treatment through secure messaging.
Docphin is developing information management solutions for health systems, beginning with a platform to access, share and discuss medical news and research. The platform is initially targeted at physicians-only, but is planning to offer an enterprise version of its platform soon.
HealthRally is a crowdfunding platform for personal health motivation that lets friends, family, and brands motivate people to achieve health goals with money and deals. (Read our coverage of HealthRally here and here for more.)
Medmonk, also a Y Combinator company, is a tool for pharmacists that helps them find funding for patients who cannot afford their co-pay. The startup connects patients with discount codes offered by pharmaceutical companies, who are happy to shell out for a cheaper co-pay price, as it means that they can charge insurance companies for the remainder. And thus, everyone wins. Hopefully.
Nephosity shares medical images on the iPad, giving doctors collaborative access to medical images anywhere, anytime. Doctors can disrupt their old image archiving systems with a new mobile solution that lets them pan and zoom and have quick access to images while they’re on the go.
Sessions is a personal, exercise coaching program, helping people to live better, more active lives. Think Meetup meets Foursquare for exercise, as the subscription program connects users with coaches in realtime to help them customize workout routines that make sense for them and help them make the most of exercise.
Sano Intelligence is developing the API to the bloodstream — a powerful mobile health monitoring product (microneedle patch) that will reveal new insights about stage-zero care. The solution will include wearable patches that analyze blood chemistry, sending results to doctors at regular intervals. The hope is that what doctors are able to learn from the analysis can lead to cures for others suffering from blood diseases or abnormalities.