November 12, 2014
Founders' Note

When most people think about the Affordable Care Act, is the first thing to come to mind. The fresh-faced site made headlines this week, but the insurance marketplace is just the tip of the innovation iceberg brought on by the ACA. From ONC startup challenges to the VA Center for Innovation, a treasure trove of opportunities exists for digital health startups under the Act. It’s exciting to see the continued progress from Washington and if the push for net neutrality is any signal, the future of digital health is brighter than ever.

-- Steven Krein & Unity Stoakes, StartUp Health co-founders


How can digital health entrepreneurs drive innovation in underserved communities? Education is key. Explore how education about the ACA is transforming healthcare in high-need populations with Sally Poblete of StartUp Health company Wellthie and Sana Hashmi of EmblemHealth. Interested in more resources to help entrepreneurs bring innovation to underserved communities? Check out Make an Impact, our initiative with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Window shopping and an improved user experience launch on ahead of the new open enrollment period. Consumers browsing the insurance exchange can now compare plans based on costs and see which options offer speciality coverage. The changes come after frequent complaints from the close to 7.3M people covered through federal or state marketplaces. Despite the updates and the recent addition of 1,000 customer service representatives, officials still warn that the site could have unexpected issues during the open enrollment period, which begins this Saturday. New York Times

Provo, Utah, trumps Silicon Valley in dollar-per-deal venture funding this year. With an average deal size of $51.3M over last 9 months, Provo has the highest average venture capital deal size of any US city. So, why are Utah startups taking in so much cash? Local entrepreneurs explains that Utah companies tend to be more established than their Bay Area counterparts. Deeper traction and higher revenue play just one role though — low rent and a welcoming culture also help attract top-notch tech talent. Inc.

Fitness technology startups take in $200M in funding in the past year. With a reported one in five Americans owning a fitness tracker, it’s no surprise that investors are pouring money into the trendy consumer devices. Major players Fitbit, Basis, and Misfit Wearables are leading the way in fitness funding, but non-wearable tech including nutrition tracking platforms are starting to gain traction as well. TechCrunch

Electronic health record giant Epic is moving data to the cloud in 2015. Epic has risen to the top of the EHR game by installing on-site information systems for each of its customers, but with competitors offering remote hosting for years, the Wisconsin-based company started building a massive data center to begin the transition into cloud-based alternatives. While no official release date has been announced, the new service will likely be rolled out first to small hospitals and medical groups that are looking to cut costs. VentureBeat

Only 19% of practitioners are getting paid for telemedicine according to a new survey. In the report released by the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, close to 67% of surveyed providers use or plan to use telemedicine to see patients despite the low rates of compensation. Most of the doctors also agree that while telemedicine might not be the best option for the first visit, the digital service works well for follow-ups. MedCity News


Smart pill bottle AdhereTech is part of an emerging digital health trend focused on improving medication adherence. Close to 50% of American patients do not take drugs as prescribed by their provider, which accrues costs of more than $290B per year according to a 2013 study. With its complementary hardware and software, AdhereTech is working to lower these stats by changing the habits of users and increasing patient adherence. Business Today

Sally Poblete, CEO of consumer engagement platform Wellthie, recommends that insurance companies amp up their website design as the open enrollment period approaches. First impressions only take a split second to make according to Poblete, so it’s important that insurers draw consumers in with welcoming design. What can agencies do to gain customers? Poblete recommends making sure the company site looks great on mobile devices and doesn’t bury the opportunity to connect with a real live human. LifeHealthPro

StartUp Health Academy

For entrepreneurs who are transforming healthcare, StartUp Health Academy is a global, long-term coaching program and trusted peer network focused on increasing the equity value of its startups.


Dec. 1-3 San Francisco, CA
Join the growing global mobile ecosystem as they convene in Silicon Valley for three days of thought-provoking presentations on topics including healthcare. Drawing thousands of mobile leaders from over 60 countries, GMIC aims to look at emerging mobile tech on a worldwide scale. Register with our code GMICSV-SH20G for 20% off gold passes!

mHealth Summit
Dec. 7-11 National Harbor, MD
Join thousands of innovators and industry leaders next month to explore the latest improvements in mobile health. Make sure to check out the StartUp ‘Mobile’ Health Pavilion while you’re there to meet the companies disrupting healthcare. Our partner code SUH14 will save you $100 off your ticket when you register.

For more digital health events, visit our website.


So far, digital health companies have raised $6.68B in 2014, according to StartUp Health Insights. Here are a few of the most recent deals:

Medical imaging device Butterfly Network raised $80M last week to bring its total funding to date to $100M. The company, which is the first startup to come out of Jonathan Rothberg’s 4Combinator accelerator, was launched three years ago by Rothberg and others. Not many details are known about the technology, but the company says its goal is to explore the human body through image databases and artificial intelligence. VentureBeat

Chinese fitness tracker Codoon brought in $30M to further the development of a new social network for device users. The startup — backed by SIG and Softbank China — first made headlines for developing a product nearly identical to Jawbone’s Up Band but now sells a variety of consumer fitness wearables including a kitchen scale and a heart rate monitor. Tech In Asia

New York benefits platform Namely secured $12M from Matrix Partners and other existing investors to continue to grow and scale. The 60-person company provides solutions for employers to manage insurance benefits and has also released an API for its customers to create individualized human resources systems for their companies. Fortune

Mobile liver test Humedics raised $7.8M. The German company’s breath test allows doctors to get real time information about a patient’s liver function and aids them in pre-surgery decision making. The test has been used over 12K times on patients with a variety of liver diseases and a clinical trial is currently in the works. High - Tech Grunderfonds

Digital Health Funding Rankings Q3 2014

Per the latest StartUp Health Insights report, 2014 is shaping up to be another record year for digital health, with $5B invested in the first three quarters of the year. Funding in the sector is on track to nearly double year-over-year.

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