‘startups’ Category

Meet the founder who is redefining chronic care management

| May 07, 2015|Tags: , ,


Update: In July, 2015, Welkin Health closed their $2M seed round, with participation from Rock Health, Asset Management Ventures, Great Oaks VC, iSeed VC, and others.

Treating patients who suffer from a chronic disease costs the U.S. 86% of its healthcare dollars, and Chase Hensel is out to change that. As the co-founder of Welkin Health, Chase and his team are creating effective tools for case managers to maintain relationships with patients with chronic disease—ultimately, bettering the care continuum and decreasing the need for costly visits and services. We caught up with Chase to find out what inspired him to become an entrepreneur in digital health, and lessons he’s learned along the way.

3 things we discovered while making the Spire Apple Watch App

| April 13, 2015|Tags: , ,

Jonathan Palley, Co-founder, Spire


For the past few months we’ve been working on an App for Apple Watch. As a “wearable” that focused on tracking the 85% of your day when you are not moving and isn’t worn on the wrist, Spire is a perfect complement to the Apple Watch’s functionality.

Here are 4 things we discovered while making the Spire App:

1. It’s all about notifications. 
By putting notifications right on your wrist—and demanding short and quick interactions, the Apple Watch will change the conversation we have with technology. Users will not only demand higher value from notifications, but also expect the most helpful information to be immediately available to them.

And this is good for the health tracking industry because it’s no longer about “tracking”. Instead, designing for the Apple Watch means tracking serves the purpose of providing interventions or other types of interactions through notifications.

We know this works. Spire’s main form of interaction is through notifications (such as reminders sent to users when the device senses they are tense). We’ve seen that the more notifications Spire sends, and the more value they provide, the less interested people are in the “tracking” aspects of our product. We’ve also seen that the results are more impactful. For example, 75% of the time we’ll notice a distinct change in behavior immediately after sending a notification. Tracking rarely has that strong and direct of an impact.


Welcome Honor

| April 06, 2015|Tags: , ,

Gawande Quote

Being Mortal was my favorite health care book of 2014. It forced not only a national conversation about aging and how society will care for the elderly, but also a personal one that dredged up one of my deepest concerns—how my parents and my older sibling will live as they grow older. When I visited my family over Thanksgiving, everything suddenly appeared acute. I was closely eyeing their graying hair, listening intently as they ambled up and down the staircase, and raising my eyebrows over every dietary choice.

It is embarrassing to admit that the only thing I did was leave behind a digital copy of Being Mortal for my mother to read, hoping she would give it some thought and discuss it with my father. I want them to plan their own future, because, selfishly, I know that I will not be going to Kansas more than once a year or moving out there to live with them as they get older. As it turns out, I’m not alone. Many of the individuals from my generation live far from their parents. And we don’t know what to do as they get older.

When I first met Seth Sternberg, one of the co-founders of Honor, he began our conversation by recounting a visit to his mother in Connecticut in which he witnessed her declining driving ability. That single observation prompted Seth to think about options for his mother as she grew older. He didn’t like any of them.

Three companies using technology to tackle nutrition

| April 02, 2015|Tags:


Lauren DeVos, Rock Health Strategy Fellow, MBA/MPH Candidate at UC Berkeley

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its latest set of recommendations last month. While the experts quabble over the fine print (no, we don’t recommend reading all 571 pages), more than 110 million Americans with lifestyle-related chronic disease struggle to make sense of what they should and should not eat. Most consumers fall short of meeting recommended nutrition goals, and public policy is only slowly addressing the issue. Fortunately, a number of innovative digital health companies have popped up to address the gap.

These digital health companies must not only incorporate the most up-to-date evidence-based guidelines into their programs—which is no easy feat since nutrition research is constantly advancing—but must also crack the code on how to get consumers to change their behavior for the better. This last point, I’d argue, is the hard part; it takes at the minimum a combination of evidence-driven interventions, tailored recommendations, and savvy insight into consumer behavior.


Want to build something useful? You should know about Stride Health

| April 01, 2015|Tags: ,

Stride Office-4

The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and the explosion of health data set the stage for a huge number of innovative digital health companies. Among them is Rock Health portfolio company Stride Health, which is building a fast, reliable, consumer-friendly product that allows more Americans to get covered and access their healthcare. (Health insurance in 5 minutes via my smartphone? Yes, please.) We stopped by their office in the Mission District in SF to get an inside look at how they’re building the first personalized health insurance recommendation engine (and an amazing team). Interested in digital health? Good news. They’re also hiring like crazy. Here’s what co-founders Matt Butner and Noah Lang had to say:


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.