Rock Health, a new seed accelerator devoted exclusively to interactive health care applications, opened up their offices last week to eleven start-ups who are in the process of developing mobile and web based healthcare technology.
Rock Health is using the Y-Combinator model of making extremely early stage investments in a number of different startups in hopes of nurturing them to viability. They plan on doing this by providing access to office space in San Francisco, branding, communications and legal support as well as access to mentoring and Rock Health medical partners like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.
I had the opportunity to speak with Rock Health co-founder and Managing Director Halle Tecco who explained that while things were somewhat chaotic in the new office space people were settling in and great work was being done.
Rock Health’s initial group of startups will all be working from within the new offices and they’ll be joined by at least 20 other ‘member startups’. These companies will have access to Rock Health support and expertise as well as access to the office space for meetings but Rock Health is not, at present, funding them.
We started our conversation by discussing the expectations that Rock Health had for this initial group of startups. According to Halle “the 11 startups came to us at different stages of their development. Some came to us with just a great idea and a great team while others had teams that had already released a product to the market. So across that spectrum we have different expectations based upon where they started.”
She continued by saying “generally we hope they make significant progress in two places. One is the product, getting a really well designed meaningful product up and running and being testing with our hospital partners, patients and medical professionals. And second there is the business behind the product. Thinking through the financing model and how they’ll get access to capital to grow. Coming up with the business plan and the revenue model, coming up with a really solid story and then connecting them with the investors.”
As a seed accelerator Rock Health wants to be able to remove the hurdles that most startups face when trying to launch their businesses. By providing access and support to the founders while they focus on building their applications Rock Health will significantly smooth the pathway to building the type of sustainable company that venture investors are actively looking to invest in. Of course the relationships that Rock Health has with their medical partners should be invaluable to new healthcare technology companies as well.
According to Halle “we’re at the point where more and more folks that are technologists, people that really know how to build a great product are starting to look at healthcare as an opportunity”. She continued by saying “We’ll see a lot of innovative new solutions that are tech driven, that are more user centric, that respect the user and give the user a quality experience.”
If she’s correct, and I believe she is, this will allow us to look forward to some much needed improvements to workflow, usability and interoperability in Health Information Technology.
It’s time for some new thinking in HIT and anyone willing to invest time and money into the bright young minds that can provide that thinking is to be commended. I look forward to seeing what this first group of Rock Health startups is able to produce.
Here is the initial list of Rock Health Startups:
- BrainBot (technology to improve mental performance)
- CellScope (at-home diagnosis of diseases)
- Genomera (personal health collaboration)
- Health In Reach (medical procedure marketplace)
- Omada Health (clinical treatment social networking)
- Pipette (patient monitoring and education)
- Skimble (mobile fitness)
- WeSprout (connecting health data and community)
There are three additional start-ups that are currently in stealth mode.
Photo Credit – Evgenia Eliseeva