Matter Announces its First Batch of Startups

Chicago has a new accelerator program for health startups called Matter that announced its first class this week.

Matter is a non-profit supported by both private and public funds. It has good public support and I believe it is trying to incubate companies that are based in Chicago, with the added benefit of creating business and jobs locally. As a non-profit, Matter doesn’t take an equity stake in the companies. Apparently companies that don’t make progress are asked to leave. Matter is targeting companies across health IT, pharma, and devices.

Beyond the investment, Matter also offers companies office space. The 25,000 square foot Matter Chicago offices are attached to 1871, a huge co-working space and startup hub. I was in Chicago last Friday for a hackathon and toured some of the Matter space. I don’t think expense was spared in the buildout. I’m always most impressed when I see chef-level appliances in shared kitchens.

The inaugural class for Matter is below. The office space officially opens in 2015, but it looked pretty close to complete, so I’m wondering if these companies are already moving in.

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Altathera Pharmaceuticals focuses on intensive care and patients with rare diseases. The latter seems to be a strong business strategy.

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CareTree is a centralized patient health record that allows for selective sharing of data between family members. It feels like patient-controlled health records are back on the up and up after what seemed like a few years of stagnation. I think it took a while to get past the death of Google Health.

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CancerIQ is a big data analytics company focused on cancer. It is commercializing IP developed at the University of Chicago. With all the recent massive funding for cancer-focused analytics, it seems like a very expensive field to get into.

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Coeus Health is commercializing evidence-based interventions delivered using digital health apps and services. The initial focus on on weight loss. Taking existing evidence and applying it to digital health data and services is a good route in health IT.

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ProVazo is building a minimally invasive blood sampling system based on the way mosquitos get blood. Once set up, the system can continuously sample blood without human intervention. 

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Qualia Health is creating personalized care plans that providers can use to track and stay in touch with patients on a continuous basis (between visits). It’s a good idea that needs to implemented into care delivery so providers can use it easily.

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Regroup Therapy is a telemedicine company focused on behavioral health. The idea is pretty simple. Mental health providers sign up, add patients, schedule sessions, invite clients to those session, then have video visits. The focus on mental and behavioral health is good. What practice management and documentation software is big in those specialties?

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Resonance Medical is building devices (and improving existing devices) for people with hearing impairments. The focus on improving existing devices, such as cochlear implants, is interesting to me.

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Sparrow Pharmaceuticals focuses on acquiring drugs whose development was stopped in clinical stages of trials and development for non-clinical reasons.

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TeleHealth Robotics is enabling remote robotics procedures. The initial offering enables remote ultrasound. I think the military would be a big potential customer for this company.

Travis Good, MD/MBA, is co-founder of Catalyze. More about me.

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