Rock Health is back at it again, this time in Boston. The health-specific incubator, based in San Francisco, is taking the incubator on the road this summer and hosting a class of seven startups at Harvard Medical School. Between UCSF on the West Coast and Harvard on the East, Rock is connected to some very impressive academic institutions. It also calls Mayo a partner.
Rock Health Boston includes seven startups, about half of the number it has taken in the past for an incubator class. I had heard of only two of them, Podimetrics and PrescribableApps. Below are the startups and what I could piece together from the description and websites.
Founded by an engineer, a physical therapist, and an orthopedic surgeon, HomeTeam aims to gamify home-based physical therapy. Instead of getting a printout of instructions to follow at home, HomeTeam uses web apps to provide interactive instruction as well as motion-based sensors to monitor therapy technique and progress. With a great team and a cool concept — especially if it targets the right PT population that’s really motivated to get back to baseline function — this seems like a potential big winner. I’m wondering if this will be offered to patients through PTs and MDs or through insurance or a mix of both. I think the right target populator would self-pay for this and that would be a faster way to prove the efficacy of the tool and model.
I heard of this one because of the founders, an MD, recently wrote an article about his experience doing a field trip with his MIT MBA program to the Bay Area to meet with investors and startups. Podimetrics is developing a patent-pending tool to detect diabetic foot ulcers early, preventing progression to catastrophic events like amputations. I like the approach of targeting a negative outcome of diabetes and not diabetes itself. I think of it in the same class as a camera to capture diabetic retinopathy. According to Podimetrics, ulcer treatment and amputation cost $71 billion annually.
This is the other of the seven startups that I’d heard of. The founder is the son of John Moore of Chilmark Research, one of the industry commentators that I like to read and whose views I respect. Prescribable Apps is trying to make it easy for clinicians to create and run secure, customized mobile, both SMS and mobile apps, campaigns for patients. I love the concept of leveraging mobile to connect patient and physician on a more regular basis. I’m curious to see how this grows. Below is a pitch video from a couple of months ago.
One thing I found funny on the home page was the most recent Tweet, which Prescribable puts on the bottom of the homepage. It’s below.
Not much out there on them. According to Rock, it "developed a suite of behavioral assessment tools that efficiently and effectively prognose oncoming Alzheimer’s disease and/or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in individuals three to four years in advance of clinical diagnoses." Presumably catching it early leads to early treatment and delayed progression.
Another one without much information. The company is apparently developing data-driven technologies to measure and manage health under stress. I’m curious where the data is coming from and how they define "under stress."
I love the tagline – Making Acne History. It is building a platform for telederm to allow for remote diagnosis and management of skin disorders. I like targeting acne because I think this is a good population that is motivated to find convenient care. I think Blueprint health is now the only incubator that doesn’t have a telederm startup. Healthbox and StartupHealth both have one.
The description sounds similar to Prescribable Apps, but that’s probably because it is very high level. ZeroSum is developing a tool for medical experts (that might include MDs, extenders, PhDs, scientists, etc.) to create custom mobile interventions.
The startups will have until Demo Day on August 24 to get pitches together. Demo Day Boston is considerably cheaper than Rock’s San Fran Demo Day, but maybe that’s an early bird special.
Travis Good is an MD/MBA involve with health IT startups. More about me.