After five months of testing, iterating, spit balling and pavement pounding, today Rock Health’s fourth class of HealthTech startups took the stage at Demo Day to pitch their fledgling businesses to investors. More than anything, these fourteen startups confirmed that digital health is not just alive and well, but beginning to gain some real traction. (More on that here.)
Like education, the healthcare industry is in the early stages of a massive sea change, and Rock Health’s startups collectively addressed some major pain points for the industry — from leveraging better coordination and patient engagement to lower the costs and simplify the tangled mess of health insurance, to incentivizing healthy behavior and improving secondary care.
There were trendy, pure consumer plays like Wello, which is looking to make exercise and fitness more affordable and accessible by providing live, two-way video sessions with personal trainers. The platform allows trainers to fill up their downtime and make some extra cash by connecting with individuals or groups of aspiring exercisers, who, in turn, are able to exercise from the comfort of their home or hotel room — really any place that has Internet access. Users pay a fee for each session, and Wello then doles out 80 percent of the fee to trainers, pocketing the rest.
Then there were those playing on the “Internet of Things” trend. Startups like Kit Check are attempting to reduce the operational costs and simplify the business processes for hospitals by placing RFID tags on the various devices and elements in medical kits, allowing them to quickly analyze and update the contents of those kits. This kind of inventory management represents a huge cost and time drain for hospitals.
There were also the requisite healthcare IT niche plays like Eligible (also a Y Combinator grad), which is looking to be “the Stripe for healthcare transactions” by creating a set of standardized APIs that enable healthcare providers to automatically determine whether or not patients have health insurance (and whether they’re eligible for treatment), saving both sides from a lot of pain and time on the phone. Eligible has been growing fast and is already generating revenue. [Check out our coverage here.]
One of the more ambitious plays comes from Zipongo, which is tackling obesity in the U.S. and the massive consumer spend on healthy living products by incentivizing healthy choices — specifically around the most important health-related purchasing decisions: Those involving food.
Zipongo has developed relationships with several major grocery chains to provide users with deals on healthy food items and is attempting to make buying “green” or “organic” more affordable for the average consumer. But the startup wants to be more than just a “healthy coupons” company, and, after paying a monthly subscription fee, Zipongo users can access personalized, healthy meal plans, recipes, visibility into dietary habits and suggestions for healthier consumption. [Check out our coverage here.]
These were four of the stand out companies from Rock Health’s fourth batch and, rather than rehash the full list again, if you want to check out the full roster of companies, see our previous coverage of the batch here.
Rock Health Progress
The other stand-out part of Rock Health’s fourth Demo Day was just how far the digital health accelerator has come over the last two years. In August, Rock Health landed Kleiner Perkins as a partner, which means that the startups presenting today have been able to take advantage of a considerably larger amount of seed funding than prior batches. Each member of the fourth class received $100K in seed funding, a five-fold increase from the $20K doled out to its first three classes.
The accelerator’s partner roster has also grown considerably in the past year and now includes Aberdare Ventures, Accel Partners, Fenwick & West, GE, Genentech, Harvard Medical School, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, NEA, Qualcomm Life, Silicon Valley Bank and UnitedHealth Group — to name a few.
But, really, what defines success for an accelerator is its ability to not only help its startups secure partnerships and find business development opportunities, but assist in fundraising. Follow-on funding tends to be a good sign that the incubator itself isn’t the only one who sees value in the nascent business. To date, Rock Health has 49 companies in its portfolio and, as of today, those portfolio companies have raised over $43 million in funding, averaging almost $900K/startup.
It still has a long way to go, granted, but Rock Health is already closing the gap with what is probably the most well-known accelerator in the country, Y Combinator. Paul Graham recently said that YC startups average about $3.18 million in funding, although it’s launched 380 companies in comparison, and the median, Graham says is between $800K and $1 million.
Clearly, Rock Health is gaining. All it needs is one Airbnb or Dropbox. Especially if AngelList can be believed, as it puts Rock Health as third behind Y Combinator and StartX in terms of the average valuations of the companies in its portfolio.
Fourth Class Highlights
Thanks to the increased seed capital and Rock Health’s expanding partner network, the fourth class is showing the benefits of the accelerator’s incremental growth and seems to be off to a faster start than previous classes. To date, the fourteen startups have a raised a total of $13.9 million (about a third of its total portfolio) — not including Rock Health’s investment.
Kit Check is now doing “six-digit revenue from each of multiple paying hospital customers,” while Benefitter has raised $2.7 million from angels. As previously mentioned, Eligible has raised $1.5 million from investors like Esther Dyson and is now processing over 12,000 transactions each day (and its revenue growth reflects that). Wello has secured $1 million in seed funding and just launched group workouts, while Mango Health has raised $3.1 million from an impressive list of investors, including Floodgate, First Round, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, Keith Rabois and others.
For more on the class, check out our prior coverage here.