Rock Health, the seed accelerator for startups focused on the health space, landed a big, new partner back in August: The well-known Silicon Valley venture firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The result of the new partnership? The promise of a considerably larger seed investment for its next batch of startups, as Kleiner joined Rock Health’s existing partners in offering $100K in seed funding to each founding team.
This represents a five-fold increase in funding for Rock Health’s fourth class, as the startups that launched as part of the accelerator’s first three classes — 36 companies in total — each received $20K. Today, the healthtech accelerator offered the first look at the fourteen startups that will be taking advantage of the additional funding and participating in Rock Health’s fourth batch.
On top of that, the accelerator is adding another partner to its existing lineup, with Kaiser Permanente today joining its existing partners, which include KPCB, The Mayo Clinic, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, GE, Genentech, United Healthcare, UCSF, Harvard Medical School and Nike. According to Rock Health CEO Halle Tecco, Kaiser will participate as a mentor to its startups, offering advice, strategic consulting as well as the opportunity to test products and models within its network — with the potential for Kaiser to become a future partner, or even a customer.
Considering Kaiser has one of the largest integrated healthcare systems in the U.S., the partnership is a big win for Rock Health as it continues to build out a support network for its startups. Like other accelerators, Rock Health offers a value-add for its startups by offering mentorship, office space, operational support and seed capital. But the health industry has its own unique set of problems and requirements that are far different from those a startup finds in the consumer space, so to provide real value, healthtech accelerators have to go beyond office space and funding to offer help in these areas.
As we wrote in coverage of New York’s newest healthtech accelerator, beyond the challenge of getting access to health-focused investors, early-stage digital health startups are hard-pressed to get their products and services in front of their real customers: Doctors, health providers and hospitals.
That’s why adding partners like Kaiser is critical to the success of Rock Health and business incubators like it, providing a venue for startups to test and tweak their products and for those providers to reward them should they succeed in helping them solve their own problems. After all, while there’s a lot of opportunity for innovation in the health space, legacy vendor architecture, backwards incentive structures, long sales cycles and a system focused not on patient outcomes but expediency provide plenty of bumps in the road for early-stage health businesses.
As Rock Health has grown and added a larger framework of support, its startups have begun to show more promise as a result. Its fourth batch have more capital to work with, so it will be interesting to see what they’re able to make out of the added financial — and partner — support.
Below is a brief look at the fourteen startups embarking on the five-month program:
Beam Technologies focuses on the convergence of technology and oral health. Its first product is the Beam Brush, a smartphone-and-app-connected toothbrush that maps brushing behavior in order to achieve a better understanding of oral care’s impact on overall health.
BenefitsMe helps employers more strategically manage their HR benefits approach and helps employees appreciate their HR benefits again.
CliniCast enables providers to improve outcomes and reduce costs through predictive analytics. Its first product, ARTO, helps providers reduce unnecessary hospital admissions in patients with chronic disease.
Eligible is an API that streamlines insurance eligibility checks for doctors and patients.
Kit Check helps hospital pharmacies process medication kits faster and without error, eliminating the need for hand-written paperwork by automatically generating reports. Kit Check allows pharmacies to move their team members to more clinical work and, in some cases, switch to a single checker.
LabDoor builds report cards for supplements and over the counter medications, grading them based on their safety, efficacy, and price.
Mango Health makes fun and engaging mobile applications to help consumers better manage and improve their health.
OpenPlacement empowers people on all sides of the continuing care process with real-time information and tools to more efficiently and effectively match Seniors with Senior Housing and Care Providers.
SuperBetter turns your health goals into an on-the-go game, with a current focus on helping players manage mental health challenges including depression and anxiety.
Wellframe combines mobile technology and artificial intelligence to extend the provision of care from the hospital to the home, empowering patients to optimize their recovery and helping providers thrive in an evolving payment landscape.
Wello aims to make the world a healthier place by making fitness more personal, accessible, and affordable through an online marketplace of fitness professionals who instruct over live, 2-way video.
Wildflower Health is making pregnancy healthier, safer and lower cost through personalized mobile apps.
Zipongo delivers prescriptions for healthy living through its GroceryRx platform which helps families save money on personalized healthy meals and earn rewards for buying nutritious food. [Check out our coverage of Zipongo here.]