‘startups’ Category

How to build a digital health company: learnings from female founders

| March 31, 2015|Tags: ,

Rock Health female founders

Only 6% of funded digital health companies have a female founder. #wecandobetter

Last week we released our State of Women in Healthcare report and today we’re hosting our sixth XX in Health Retreat with 200 women across the industry. To celebrate the occasion, we wanted to share wisdom from our own incredible female founders on what they’ve learned working in the trenches building digital health companies.


Welcome Collective Health

| March 23, 2015|Tags: , ,

Collective Health tools

Each fall, tens of millions of people are subjected to the annual ritual of open enrollment. This staple of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESHI)—itself an artifact of a war-time wage freeze in the 1940s—has become a painful process, wrought with uncertainty and fear of making the wrong choice.

The yearly decision around health benefits—determining how much we each pay for our healthcare and what access we are afforded to physicians, hospitals, and treatments—has a significant impact on a company and its employees. It’s a process that begins long before open enrollment, with a sea of service providers spanning health insurers, analytics vendors, and consultants advising companies on forecasted spend and the optimal plan designs.

What entrepreneurs need to know about health insurance tax penalties

| February 05, 2015

Noah Lang, Co-founder and CEO, Stride Health

your subsidy and your taxes.002

A significant portion of the American population will be influenced this spring new tax penalty regulations. It’s predicted that up to six million households will have to pay a penalty not buying health insurance last year. Others will be surprised with a penalty for under-estimating their income when applying for a government subsidy.

How Rock Health helps startups grow

| January 14, 2015|Tags: ,

Kit Check co-founders Tim Kress-Spatz and Kevin MacDonald in their office in Washington D.C. last year

Kevin MacDonald, co-founder and CEO, Kit Check

Earlier this week, Kit Check announced our Series B funding of $12 million led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures. We successfully raised our Series A of $10.4 million in July 2013 after joining Rock Health’s portfolio. In the eighteen months between funding rounds we grew from seven to 144 hospital customers with over 5,000 users on our cloud-based system and 3.6 million medications tracked.

Kit Check represents the only successful Internet of Things success story for hospital consumables to date. We believe it is also the best example of successful cloud software adoption in hospital operations. We are helping hospitals reduce cost and increase patient safety related to medication dispensing and use, which is an important industry contribution. It’s a great story and far from over. One constant throughout has been strong support from Rock Health.

Where are they now? Kinsights

| November 17, 2014|Tags: , ,

Calling all founders! Only three more days to submit your business plan to receive funding and support starting in January. To give you an inside scoop of what it means to be part of the Rock Health family, we checked in with Kinsights, one of Rock Health’s very first portfolio companies. Kinsights is an advice-sharing network for parents that integrates your child’s health record to further personalize your experience and connect you to parents who are dealing with similar issues. We’re lucky enough to work in the same office as this stellar team; here’s what they have to say about Rock Health, what’s new, and what snacks get them through the day.

What are you working on? Any new projects or focus areas?
We’ve put a lot of our focus on rare pediatric conditions, helping thousands of parents connect with each other, access resources, and share health information with their care team. Seeing parents, at different stages in their journey, share insights and advice with each other has been incredibly rewarding. We have 30+ groups for rare pediatric conditions, and for many of these parents, their child’s condition is so rare that they have never met another parent who is dealing with the same issues and concerns.

Why virtual pharmacists could bridge the healthcare provider gap

| November 12, 2014|Tags: , ,

Roby Telepharm Rock Health

“Pharmacists are the most underutilized healthcare provider.”

Roby Miller, founder of Rock Health portfolio company TelePharm weighed in on the future of telemedicine and how virtual pharmacists, are fitting into the health tech conversation today.

Like many of us, Roby knows that the word “telemedicine” is becoming the word in the health tech industry. But what does telemedicine mean to most people? It has been Roby’s experience that “when people hear the term, they think of a video chat between a provider and a patient.” And when most people hear the word ‘provider’, they think of the doctor, not the pharmacist. Why? Most of us think of pharmacists as the dispenser of medication—that’s all. But what happens if pharmacists start spending more time counseling patients virtually? “We’ll see a shift in how pharmacists are reimbursed because their value will be realized shortly from a payers’ standpoint,” says Roby.

Ideas we’d like to fund

| November 10, 2014|Tags: ,

Our experience funding companies at the intersection of healthcare and technology for over three years has been humbling—we are continuously surprised (both pleasantly and unpleasantly) by the problems that plague our healthcare system and the ingenuity of the solutions we see.

Entrepreneurs in our portfolio spotted—and are now tackling—problems in emergency kit processing, continuous monitoring, and diabetes prevention, in addition to many, many others. As early stage investors, we seek to invest in these types of relentless problem solvers, not underlying technologies.

While entrepreneurs enlighten us to most of the problems, a few are top of mind for us as well. The below list is clearly not comprehensive (in fact, you should read our last post on this topic for even more—all of which remain of high interest), but hopefully this helps jog some ideas.


The best way to build a digital health company

| October 20, 2014|Tags:

Alejandro Foung, Co-founder and CEO, Lantern

Last week our team launched Lantern, an online and mobile tool that evaluates your mental health in minutes. Personally, this moment was one of great pride for what our team has been working on for over a year—but also one of anxiety and worry.  (Luckily, we now have an app for that). Will people actually buy our product?  Will anyone even notice?  If people buy it, will they continue to use it?

Founders in any industry ask themselves these questions every day, so these aren’t novel feelings.  But running a startup in healthcare adds an additional layer that’s even more important than the fundamentals of your business and market opportunity: will user health actually improve? And will it be significant enough to publish results (i.e. through a randomized controlled trial)? I believe most digital health companies fail to get off the ground trying to answer this. It’s much easier to get someone to buy something than it is to get them to buy something AND also prove to the scientific community that your product is effective.

Introducing the latest Rock Health additions

| August 18, 2014|Tags:

With much pride and delight, today we’re announcing the newest Rock Health portfolio companies that are using technology to tackle broad and pressing issues in healthcare. We’ve also brought on three new corporate partners to provide key strategic support to our startups and Rock Health’s operations.

These latest companies are tackling broad areas of healthcare, including issues in biotechnology, chronic disease, and healthcare regulation. We are thrilled by not only the sheer number of entrepreneurs building digital health companies, but also the incredible diversity of ideas.  With these additions, we have a diverse and active portfolio of 55 digital health companies across the country.

Without further ado, meet the latest Rock Health companies:

Uber for your teeth: A founder’s story

| July 10, 2014|Tags: ,

studio dental truck

We stepped into our portfolio company, Studio Dental’s brand new office-in-a-truck parked outside Rock Health HQ to catch co-founder and dentist Sara Creighton between patient visits. Here’s what she had to say about her path from dentist to entrepreneur, the role of design in healthcare, and advice for those who are thinking of taking the ultimate plunge into entrepreneurship. Full disclosure: Sara cleaned my teeth in the Studio Dental truck. I emerged with a gigantic smile—and not because of my new pearly whites.

Firstly, we’re so excited about what you’re doing. Can you tell everyone what Studio Dental is?
Studio Dental is the first dental office on wheels that will visit you at work. We prioritize service, design, and expertise to deliver an unmatched dental experience.

What inspired you to build the first mobile dentist office? What about the dental industry needs to be revolutionized?
Studio Dental was founded with the idea of providing better dentistry to more people. Dentistry is in serious need of sprucing up—the industry is stigmatized as old, smelly, and often times scary. I previously had a practice in North Beach in San Francisco where many concepts for Studio Dental were born—specifically, how we could use experiential design (a truck), beautiful branding, unparalleled care and easy access to encourage—dare I say, entice—more people to get to the dentist. 2 out of 3 people just don’t go to dental appointments, which is crazy to me. As a profession we’re clearly missing something in terms of reaching our consumers—and technology is critical to this. From scheduling appointments online, to texting or chatting online with our office, to digital x-rays and impressions, Studio Dental has a very modern feel.