Author Archive

Expanding our footprint: three new East Coast investments and a new office

| April 23, 2015|Tags: , , ,

Rock Health NYC officeThe new Rock Health office in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of NYC.

After eight wonderful years in the Bay Area, I recently moved to the East Coast to help broaden the footprint of Rock Health. We want to invest in great companies regardless of where they are located, and that’s just what we’re doing.

Today we’re announcing three investments we’ve made in East Coast companies.
(more…)

The State of Women in Healthcare: An Update

| March 23, 2015|Tags: ,

Exactly a year ago, we decided to publish the gender data on founders at Rock Health. Despite women being the majority of our team and our board, only 30% of our portfolio companies had a female founder (today, we are at almost 34%). Because we’d like to help our portfolio companies access a diverse talent pool, we began the XX in Health initiative nearly four years ago.

The aim of this initiative is to bring women together to network and support one another. The 2,400 members of the group share resources and ideas on LinkedIn and meet regularly across the country. This week we’re hosting a webinar on the topic for both men and women, and next week we’ll host our sixth XX in Health Retreat in NYC.

Today, through this initiative, we are proud to share our third annual report on the state of women in healthcare. Our past reports on this topic have been some of our most popular content, and we encourage you to share this report with your colleagues.

(more…)

Nine exceptional leaders in digital health

| January 19, 2015

Top5007

On January 11th, we co-hosted the fourth annual Top 50 in Digital Health dinner along with Fenwick & West and Goldman Sachs.

This year we honored nine leaders and organizations making exceptional impacts in digital health:

Angel of the Year: Sami Inkinen
Few angel investors so wholly embody their investment theses like Sami Inkinen. This world-class triathlete and self-proclaimed “data geek” knows how to spot technologies that will hugely impact our health and wellbeing. He’s invested in Augmedix, Lantern, MyFitnessPal, and Rise. 

Crowfunding Hero: Empatica
Empatica’s Embrace is the first-of-its kind medical grade watch that measures epileptic seizures, among other things. To date, Embrace has raised 401% of its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo.

Diversity Leadership Award: Castlight Health
Tackling complex problems in healthcare requires not only the brightest minds, but diverse ones too. Castlight has led by example for all digital health companies in assembling talented executives with distinct backgrounds to lead their mission. The Castlight leadership team includes doctors, developers, and 55% female executives.
(more…)

Rock Weekly: Why tech companies are flocking to healthcare

| December 15, 2014|Tags:

rockweeklycropped

In the last decade, healthcare innovation has gone from “the entrepreneurial equivalent of Siberia” to…well, Silicon Valley. As healthcare finds new entrants from tech, consumers expect them to be closely watched over by the government. Surgeons on the other hand, perhaps they should be self-regulating.

Speaking of entrepreneurs from tech, today we are excited to announce the launch of Hi.Q, led by Rock Health entrepreneur and Like.com founder Munjal Shah. Download Health IQ.
(more…)

Healthcare conferences still a sad place for diversity

| December 02, 2014


A snapshot of the Cleveland Clinic Innovation Summit, October 29th, 2014, where only 20% of speakers were female

Last year, Rock Health took the first look at gender diversity on the stages of a dozen high-profile healthcare conferences. We knew from experience that women were largely confined to the attendee list at these events, and we were appalled when our research  confirmed that only a quarter of speakers in 2013 were women.

We launched the XX Speaker Project as part of our larger XX in Health initiative to promote and support female leaders in healthcare. Opening up a dialogue about this imbalance, our goal was to make tangible changes and improve the numbers in 2014.

First, we called it out. Making these numbers transparent helps conference organizers, attendees, and the public at large realize there’s a problem. (You can view the data here).
(more…)

The 10 Most Beloved CEOs in Digital Health

| October 22, 2014

DigitalhealthCEOS

It’s no secret that a company’s vision and culture stem from the top. Without the right leader at the helm, even the best ideas fail to gain traction. Sometimes this leadership takes the form of a benevolent chieftain (Richard Branson); and other times s/he is a ruthless perfectionist (Steve Jobs).

So with the deluge of growing digital health companies, we wanted to know which CEOs had the most respect from their teams. According to Glassdoor, an online jobs and careers community where employees rate CEOs, Evolent Health’s Frank Williams took first place with a 98% approval rate, followed by Castlight’s Giovanni Colella (95%) and Fitbit’s James Park (94%).

The distinguishing characteristic apparent in employee testimonials is that good CEOs hire well: nearly all the positive testimonials pointed to smart, supportive co-workers as a “pro” (followed only by ping pong tables).
(more…)

Kickstarter finally ends long-time ban on health campaigns

| June 05, 2014|Tags: , ,

Photo by Thomas HawkPhoto by Thomas Hawk

Kickstarter recently announced an end to their long-time ban on health and medical products. As the largest crowdfunding platform, with $1B in pledges since it launched in 2009, Kickstarter originally opted out of the digital health space to focus on creative campaigns such as design, art, and film. (Check out this spreadsheet that details funding amounts raised on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter by category).

Indiegogo has since emerged as the de facto platform for digital health crowdfunding, with $7.8M in funded projects in 2013, and $2.1M raised thus far in 2014.  They’re known as the open platform, which means there is minimal (or no) formal vetting of campaigns and a higher percentage of campaign failures. In fact, the majority of healthcare campaigns on Indiegogo fail to raise their goal.

Digital health crowdfunding campaigns in 2013

(more…)

Meet the sixth group of Rock Health companies

| May 19, 2014|Tags:

It is with much excitement and pride that we present seven of the newest Rock Health startups, who are part of a portfolio of nearly 50 active companies tackling some of the most significant problems in healthcare. Over the past five months, they have received funding and support from Rock Health and will continue to receive support throughout their lifespan. This diverse group of companies ranges from an analytics tool for the ICU to an impeccably designed dentist office on wheels.

(more…)

Omada Health seals a $23M Series B to bring digital therapeutics to diabetics

| April 09, 2014|Tags:

The Rock Health team is proud to announce that portfolio company Omada Health has just closed their $23M Series B (full press release here) from Andreessen Horowitz and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.

I first met with the Omada co-founders three years ago when they were still employees at IDEO. We chatted over lunch at South Park Cafe, and they quickly won me over with their vision for a software-based therapy to prevent diabetes more effectively and for less money than a drug. We offered them a $20,000 grant to quit their jobs and join us at Rock Health’s first class.


The Omada Health co-founders, Adrian James, Sean Duffy, and Andrew DiMichele, at the original Rock Health office
(more…)

Rock Health entrepreneur breakdown: female founders

| March 25, 2014

I thought it would be a good time to look into (and publish) data on entrepreneur demographics at Rock Health. The data is interesting. I’ll spread this over a few posts, today’s post will focus on gender.

Looking at the active Rock Health startups, 30% of our portfolio companies have a female founder.

My initial thought was “we need to do better,” so I decided to also look at the application data to get an idea of the supply with which we’re working. In 2013, to my surprise, exactly 30% of the companies that applied to Rock Health had at least one female founder. 19% had a mix of male and female founders, 11% were all female founders, and 70% were all male founders.

All applicants are treated equally when applying to Rock Health. We look at the experience and capabilities of the founding team, along with the sustainability and scalability of the business. We’d love to see more diverse applicants, and have invested quite a bit into supporting women in particular (via our XX in Health initiative).

I think one of the best ways to encourage more women to join us at Rock Health is to show off the amazing female founders we currently support. So without further ado, here are the incredibly bright, inspiring, and hard-working women leading the digital health revolution:
(more…)