Rock Health’s latest crop of startups

Rock Health, probably the leading healthcare focused accelerator programme announced their latest class of companies this week. They are profiled on Techcrunch here and briefly summarised below.

I’ve written a reasonable amount on here about the coming opportunity in health and as regular readers will know I think the most exciting opportunity is in consumer oriented healthcare services delivered online and over mobile. Many of these will be cheap enough that they can bypass traditional health distribution systems (e.g. the NHS here in the UK and insurance companies and doctors in the US) and many will leverage smartphone technology for diagnosis or data capture purposes. The big question for this investment thesis is unsurprisingly timing. I am confident we will see a wave of companies coming, but the key to making successful investments is to time your activity with the first burst of market growth. One way to think about that is when penetration moves from say 0.25% to 5% – that is typically when companies can grow really fast and valuations sky rocket as analysts and incumbents come to recognise that a major market shift is underway. Founders need greater prescience and will be best placed start their companies a year or two earlier, but probably not five years earlier.

So when I saw the Rock Health list of companies I read the profiles in search of pointers about the timing of the market for my hypothesis about the opportunity in healthcare, as well as for signs of other potential investment theses.

Going through the list of 13 companies I found 4-5 that are consistent with my hypothesis (Agile DiagnosisCardiioCare At HandSessionsSano Intelligence) which I take as evidence that the timing for this market may well be now.

The Rock Health companies

Achievemint – rewarding consumers for healthy behaviour – with real world goodies paid for by insurers

Agile Diagnosis – web and mobile app for doctors to improve speed and accuracy of diagnosis

Avva – patient focused cancer management tool – helps patients and families get the information they need

Cardiio – technology that turns a smartphone camera into a sensor – e.g. to measure heart rate by looking at someone’s face

Care At Hand – monitors patients at home – e.g. to report on non-compliance

ChickRX – health Q&A site for women, will also sell products

Cognitive Health Innovations – service allows therapists to communicate with their patients via mobile and social

Docphin – health information system, initially providing doctors with access to medical news and research

HealthRally – crowdfunding platform to enable friends and family to reward healthy behaviour

Medmonk – a tool to help pharmacists find discounts for customers who cannot afford to pay

Nephosity – medical images on the iPad

Sessions – a personal exercise coaching platform

Sano Intelligence – wearable patch that tests the blood via micro-needles and sends results to doctors at regular intervals