November 5, 2014
Founders' Note

As Microsoft becomes the latest tech giant to enter the wearables game, fitness trackers are making more headway in the mainstream market than ever before. But despite the media’s focus on trendy consumer trackers, startups across the industry are pioneering more advanced medical-grade wearables, including pulse oximetry watches, activity sensors and gait analyzers. These devices offer an exciting glimpse into the future of personalized healthcare and we can’t wait to see them become household names.

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


Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove has some advice for healthcare entrepreneurs: Move fast, stay focused on patients and tackle big problems with new ways of thinking. For more, check out the latest episode of StartUp Health NOW and watch his full interview with StartUp Health’s Steven Krein at last week’s Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit.


Microsoft is the latest player in the growing fitness wearables game, with the release of its $199 wrist-worn device, the Microsoft Band, and accompanying fitness tracking software, Microsoft Health. Like the Apple Watch, it combines health and exercise data collection with text messaging and Facebook update alerts, but at a cheaper price. We are still early in discovering the value of consumer wearables: a recent study reported that one-third of consumers stop using their trackers within one year. The New York Times

Visionary VC Peter Thiel says internal politics prevent big companies from acting like startups. Despite more capital and resources, large corporations lose focus once shareholders and activists come into play, according to Thiel. So, who drives change? Founders are the key to success says Thiel and investors should take note to maintain relationships with a charismatic leader. Wall Street Journal

Digital health will go mainstream when millennials who grew up with new technology start aging, says McKesson Ventures exec Thomas Rodgers. He dismisses data security, privacy and lack of interoperability as big obstacles to adoption and said that, in 15-20 years, the shift away from fee-for-service and generational change will bring health technology to the mainstream. MedCity News

Risks aside, your future in the cloud is inevitable. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, by 2017, two-thirds of all business workloads will be processed in cloud data centers and the percentage of organizations using the cloud for some kind of database-as-a-service (DBaaS) is expected to double to 44 percent. Inc.


1EQ takes home the gold in 1776’s DC Challenge Cup. The startup’s BabyScripts app, which allows pregnant women to monitor their vitals and update their doctor in real time, won first place in the health division of the competition. Next year, 1EQ will compete against 60 companies in the global Challenge Cup finals. Washington Post

BrainPaint, an automated EEG biofeedback company, is as efficient in treating addiction as clinician-run technology, according to a new study. The independent joint study run by UCLA and UNC Wilmington showed that BrainPaint’s system provided improvements in patients with ADD/ADHD and was more cost-effective than machines operated by professionals. News Medical

Canadian app Shift Health is opening difficult communication lines between children and their patients. Developed from founder Dr. Sandy Whitehouse-Penn’s experience as a pediatric physician, the TickiT platform is a simple survey that gives doctors a holistic view of a patient’s existing issues. The startup, which targets young patients who are uncomfortable discussing medical problems, recently conducted a user study that found 11% of those surveyed had significant disease risk factors that may have gone unnoticed without the app. The Vancouver Sun

Helped by state funding, Vheda Health is using its patient engagement platform to help manage chronically ill patients. One of 14 Maryland startups benefiting from the state subsidized TEDCO, Vheda Health took in $100,000 earlier this year to boost its platform and increase the number of supported diseases. The Maryland program is a smaller scale version of a new federal program providing for-profit entrepreneurs cash to grow and scale their tech startups. Washington Post

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.


HITLAB Innovators Summit
Dec. 1 New York, NY
Discuss solutions for leading public health concerns at this inaugural event sponsored by the Clinton Foundation and others. The summit also includes the HITLAB WorldCup, which offers $20,000 to startups developing creative fixes for global health issues. Companies can submit ideas until November 10th to be considered for the challenge. Make sure to use our StartUp Health Insider code startuphealth to take $150 off the price of your conference ticket.

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 $6.48B in 2014, according to StartUp Health Insights. Here are a few of the most recent deals:

Running and cycling tracking app Strava led this week’s deals with $18.5M from Sequoia Capital and others. The fitness tracking software, which links with most major GPS systems, can generate routes and provide fitness analysis when synced with supported activity trackers, including Google Fit and Apple HealthKit. With the new funding, the San Francisco-based app says it plans to expand globally. MobiHealthNews

Care coordination system myNEXUS took in $13.6M from MTS Health Partners to expand its user base and broaden its appeal to payors and providers. The platform, which uses biometric sensors, alerts caregivers about changes in patient health and ultimately aims to decrease hospitalization for the chronically ill. Nashville Post

Big data company Mousera secured $8.8M from nine private investors to continue its early stage development. The 1.5-year-old company aims to use algorithms and emerging sensor technology to increase efficiency in the pre-clinical process of drug development. Led by a former Proteus Health VP, the startup is remaining tight-lipped about its specific technology but plans to release more information to the public early next year. MedCity News

Newly-launched app Vida took in $5M from Aspect Ventures, Khosla Ventures and others in its first funding round. The young startup, founded by former Google executive Stephanie Tilenius, charges $15 per week for access to health coaches trained to help users battle chronic illnesses including diabetes and hypertension. The app is currently only available to iOS consumers but is in pilot testing for payors and will have an Android counterpart in the future. Reuters

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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