Rock Health Winter 2012 Class 10/30/12

Rock Health announced last week the newest class of startups for its fall/winter incubator. I thought the class would be a bit smaller considering the increase in funding from $20K to $100K per startup, but there are 14 startups included. I guess if YCombinator can do a class of 80 startups (though I’ve heard this number is going to go down with future YC classes), 14 startups seems small.

With that, here are the new Rock Health companies.

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Beam Technologies is a connected toothbrush. It’s the dental equivalent of the Withings scale or Asthmapolis inhaler sensor. The idea is simple — you use the brush with the connected mobile apps and it records your brushing compliance. This can then be e-mailed to your dentist. It looks like Beam is targeting dentists to sell their product. I’m a bit confused by the website pricing, which asks about spending $100 on a toothbrush but then has the listed price as $49 (discounted to $35 for pre-orders). People buy expensive electric toothbrushes, so maybe they’ll buy this. I really can’t imagine having to sync an app to my toothbrush.

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BenefitsMe is a platform to help employers manage benefits packages and help employees understand their benefits. The employee space is very crowded with benefits management offerings, so I think the key will be a great (and well-connected) sales team.

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Clinicast is a population health management tool that takes data from multiple sources (EMR, labs, billing, etc.), risk stratifies patients, and then provides recommended targeted interventions. The initial target is preventing readmissions. It seems like a higher level of integration (and a larger barrier to sale) than some of the other new readmission tools, though Clinicast is trying to do a lot more with the data if it can get it. They key will be getting 1-2 early sales and then getting some good data on ROI and outcomes.

Eligible is exciting to me. It’s relatively simple to describe – it provides a service to get insurance eligibility information in the form of EDI and converts it to easier-to-read JSON. The sell is to developers who want to integrate this type of information into apps and services. It costs $0.05 per successful request, which seems high. Eligible currently connects to 700 payers. If I’m not mistaken, the company started with a mobile app, but now it seems to be focused on the API service for developers and not the app for end users.

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Kit Check is another company I like in this batch. It provides a way to quickly tag and monitor hospital kits and trays. It can proactively monitor kids, check for expiring items, and generate reports. In the process of automation, it lowers the amount of human time required and reduces errors.

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LabDoor is the equivalent of Fooducate for supplements and over the counter medications. The mobile app screens seem to borrow heavily from Fooducate as well. Labdoor enables consumers to look up information about supplements, with the goal of helping them make more informed decisions through product comparisons and grading. I was wrong about Fooducate, which has done pretty well, but I can’t see people using an app like LabDoor. Of course, maybe the same nutrition-concerned Fooducate users take a lot of supplements; I’m betting they do.

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Mango Health is run by former gaming app executives and is focused on using games and apps to make people healthier. The initial app from Mango helps users track meds and other information related to meds, scoring them and comparing them to other users with similar profiles. I think this could work if it could get somebody like Mayo (RockHealth partner) to validate and roll it out. I don’t see chronic med takers finding and using this independently. The company has raised $1.5 million.

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Moxe Health (disclaimer – I know and like the founders of Moxe) develops tools to help link patients with the appropriate care options. One app from Moxe, triage.me, uses the web and SMS to intelligently route patients in need of care to the appropriate community clinic, ideally reducing the burden on and cost associated with ED visits. Triage.me was conceived at an ONC Hackathon in Milwaukee.

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OpenPlacement is creating a marketplace for senior living. It helps those who are seeking placement (either individuals or discharge planners) find and filter options. It also helps facilities fill their openings. This makes sense. The question will be how many different tools do discharge planners have to use? ZocDoc for follow-up appointments, Aidin for home care, and OpenPlacement for senior care facilities. I’m sure companies like Aidin and OpenPlacement will migrate to each other if they are successful.

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SuperBetter is trying to increase individual engagement (the website uses the word "resilience") in their health through game-like experiences. The initial focus is on mental health, but the general idea seems to be the same — you set a goal and get little rewards or points for achieving it. The app looks impressive. I’d be curious what types of consumers and patients are using it.

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WellFrame develops interactive mobile care plans for patients. It’s initially targeting hospital discharge patients, though I think it could be adapted easily to any 30, 60, 90, FILL.IN.THE.BLANK day care plan. From what I can tell, they take the paper form that people are discharged with and turn it into a personalized to-do list. I’m betting it does more than this – it’s probably gamified and measures how the patient is adhering to the care plan. It also might integrate additional sources of data, but I can’t tell that from the site.

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Wello is a marketplace for virtual sessions with virtual trainers. I can’t say much more about it than that. I guess it makes sense, but I’m not the target user. Do lots of people want to avoid working out at gyms?

Wildflower Health is creating apps to help with pregnancy. It’s certainly an engaged population. I wonder if it will be a direct competitor to Alt 12 Apps, which has already raised a bunch of money and has a decent user base? This is probably the fifth time in the last month that I’ve Googled a startup and found its logo design contest website in the top 2-3 sites listed. I’m not sure if companies realize that is out there.

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Zipongo is another one that I’d heard of because it raised some money. The product is GroceryRx, which helps users find healthy meals and then rewards them with points for preparing those healthy meals. I think the business model is through retail stores paying to market or advertise to users. This is another product that reminds me — at least in terms of target users — of Fooducate.

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Travis Good is an MD/MBA involved with health IT startups. More about me.

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