‘Uncategorized’ Category

What payer M&A activity means for digital health entrepreneurs

| July 24, 2015|Tags:

The ACA has set off a wave of M&A activity within healthcare.  Hospital networks have been consolidating, resulting in dominant regional and national players.  Now, with the uncertainty of King v. Burwell comfortably in the past, some of the nation’s largest payers are also considering the potential benefits of merging with competitors.  M&A activity in the space suggests the importance of scale and the allure of government business, especially the administration of Medicare Advantage plans.  High-profile examples in recent weeks include Aetna’s acquisition of Humana for $37B and today’s news that Anthem is buying Cigna for $54B, provide evidence that in size there is security.

Increased interest in consolidation within the payer space raises questions about underlying motivations.  Some skeptics might argue it’s about insurance companies trying to increase their negotiating power and drive higher profits.  These goals are certainly important in the short-term, but they only partially capture what payers hope to achieve. (more…)

We can land spaceships on comets. Why can’t we design prosthetics for Veterans?

| July 20, 2015

Andrea Ippolito, Presidential Innovation Fellow at Veterans Affairs

Army Veteran Lisa Marie Wiley is faced with the everyday reality of people staring at her below knee amputation caused by an injury inflicted by an IED in Afghanistan in November 2010. While strong-willed and resilient, Lisa can’t help but feel frustrated that only a handful of the 10,000 prosthetic legs available can meet her specific body type and needs to function and resume her quality of life. As Lisa stated, “if we can land spacecraft on comets, why can’t we build personalized devices for our Nation’s Veterans?” By leveraging the growing movement of 3D printing in healthcare exploding across the US and the world—we can.

While we often think of personalized and precision medicine related to providing the proper dosage of medications based on individual’s genetic information, personal predilections, and environmental context, additive manufacturing or fabrication (often more commonly referred to as 3D printing) offers a new paradigm to design devices based on individual needs and preferences. 3D printing is emerging across healthcare in surgery, patient education, prosthetics, and bioprinting tissue and organs. We’ve seen the power of 3D printing to inspire a global network of volunteers in the eNABLE community to build prosthetic 3D printed hands for over 1500 children missing their fingers or arms below the elbow.

Imagine losing your ability to use a utensil, use a video game controller or even continue a beloved hobby like photography.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is aiming to accelerate the development of technologies to improve the quality of life of Veterans and invites all designers, engineers, and problem solvers alike, to the first VA Innovation Creation Series: Prosthetics and Assistive Technology Challenge.

Rock Weekly: #YouOnlyLiveOnesie

| July 20, 2015|Tags:

July 20, 2015

Choosing the right surgeon can be a matter of life or death, but how reliable is thisSurgeon Score Card database that took the Interwebs by storm? Some sing its praises while others cry methodological foul. In other matters of life and death—the first government-approved medical drone delivery dropped Friday in rural VA.

We’re proud to announce our investment in Welkin Health, a company led by former Googlers to help case managers provide care to patients with chronic illness. (Oh, and you might have caught wind of our other investment in Silicon Valley’s hottest new wearable company, Ubsie.) #YouOnlyLiveOnesie

The startup hiring an elite team of health-conscious people

| July 09, 2015|Tags:

headshot-4Cofounder and CEO Munjal Shah (right) with their newest hire Jack Dunham

Health IQ is on a mission to celebrate—and reward—the health-conscious. Users can take a nearly limitless amount of quizzes covering 300 unique topics certified by experts in various fields of medicine, nutrition, and exercise. Afterwards, they are coached about the healthy decision.

Health IQ wants their team to genuinely reflect their customer—and they have a highly unique hiring process to do so.

“We don’t believe in resumes or in-person interviews,” Munjal Shah, Cofounder and CEO of Health IQ and former Cofounder and CEO of Like.com (aka Google Shopping). Why? “Work is not done on the fly—it’s project-based and testing people in an interview doesn’t provide insight into how a person actually performs at work.” In addition to scoring well on Health IQ’s own test (a core element of their product), potential employees present their work to the team and spend a few hours hanging out and getting to know them.

Rock Weekly: Wearables: we’re doing it wrong.

| June 29, 2015|Tags:

June 29, 2015

SCOTUS stole the show last week with two huge rulings affecting healthcare’s future. King v. Burwell went the way of Obamacare, with subsidies remaining intact, while the long-awaited marriage equality ruling promises to alter the health insurance landscape.

On the wearables front, Google wants to change clinical research with its new wristband. Health execs see positive ROI from patient-generated data but is the technology accurate enough to turn the devices into digital medical tools?

Learn from the best in digital health. Watch our just-released Startup Elements videos featuring 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki, Omada Health’s Sean Duffy, and more.

How Evolent Health grew to a billion dollar company and IPO in just four years

| June 10, 2015|Tags: ,

Evolent Health

On Friday, June 5th, Evolent Health debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $195M. Earlier this week, Evolent closed above a $1 billion market cap—a meteoric rise for a company that was founded in just 2011 with the backing of The Advisory Board Company and UPMC.

Shortly after the market closed on Tuesday, Rock Health spoke with Frank Williams, the CEO of Evolent Health, about the company and the market for value-based care. Few people understand how provider organizations are approaching the shift away from a fee-for-service environment better than Frank. A lightly edited interview follows.

Insights from digital health’s most active investors

| May 21, 2015|Tags:

Last Friday we co-hosted the third annual Digital Health Investor Summit with Fenwick and West to a packed audience of investors specifically interested in the digital health space. Here are some of the day’s memorable moments:

  1. “Data is like air—it’s necessary, but you can’t sell anyone two ounces of it.” -David Brailer of Health Evolution Partners on collecting more and more data points, without creating value
  2. “It finally doesn’t suck. Technology can do video much better, waiting time is almost instantaneous, you can close the loop by connecting to pharmacy, and the market has really expanded with everyone having smartphones.” -Bob Kocher, Venrock on why telemedicine is so hot right now
  3. “The 5 Customer Journeys that matter: browse and shop, evolve with my needs, help me help myself, take control of my health, and help me in my time of need.” -Janet Widmann, Executive VP of Markets for Blue Shield of CA on the kinds of technologies payers are interested in investing in
  4. “Differentiated tech models are more important than ever” -Navtej Bhullar, Goldman Sachs on key investor perspectives from recent IPOs
  5. “Investors should focus on optimizing all the 4 P’s (patient, physician, provider & payer)” -Casper de Clercq, Norwest Venture Partners on whether high valuations will hold
  6. “It’s not about disruption, it’s about implementation.” -Jack Young, dRx Capital on how digital health companies are performing compared to other portfolio companies

Rock Health’s Malay Gandhi ran an interactive session regarding The State of Digital Health Funding (you can check out a breakdown here). The audience was live-polled on their feelings about the digital health investment landscape. Here are some results:

Sales cycles are the biggest concerns for digital health investors

digiital health challenges 2 rock health


Digital health investors believe companies are currently overvalued

rock health are companies overvalued?


And finally—on the bullishness of digital health investors:

digital health investing sentiment rock health



Deconstructing the Fitbit S-1

| May 11, 2015|Tags: , , ,

Fitbit is the latest iconic digital health company planning to IPO, with a drastically different operating history than another iconic company from last year’s group. Quote from Health Innovation Summit (2013).

Beginning early last year, whispers of Fitbit’s revenues started to circulate. Testing the numbers with investors, responses were mixed—some thought the figures were outlandish, and others confirmed them as absolutely true or undersold. This is the story of wearables, a polarizing category that has been misunderstood, underestimated, and perhaps wrongly maligned. And this narrative will shadow Fitbit’s public offering—with one journalist already calling it a “sucker IPO” and another praising the company’s “surprising profits.” Fitbit’s S-1 provides answers to questions many of us have debated for years, and leaves a number of others completely unanswered.

Objectively, Fitbit represents a tremendous growth story. In less than six years from the launch of its first device—and on the back of less than $70M in venture financing—the company has built a billion dollar plus revenue (run rate) business (at 50% gross margin), legitimately pioneering the category of “connected health and fitness” trackers. Regardless of any S-1 analysis, IPO price, or post-IPO price change, what James Park and his team have done at Fitbit should not be shortchanged. It is an incredible startup tale from a determined, visionary founder—a founder that no one wanted to fund. And yet here they are, on the cusp of an IPO.

Rock Weekly: Deconstructing the Fitbit IPO

| May 11, 2015|Tags:

Rock Weekly

May 11, 2015

Digital health IPOs are finally heating up. Off the heels of another filing last week, both Fitbit and Evolent Health sent off S-1s to the SEC—each for $100M. No time to read all 130K+ words? Enjoy the tl;dr version of Fitbit’s filing we wrote just for you.

What’s next for these soon-to-be-public companies? The activity tracking pioneer will be defending against the Apple Watch, while, perhaps, population health management company Evolent can stem the rising tide of ER visits the ACA has not prevented.


Taking over the boys’ club: learnings from the XX Retreat

| April 29, 2015|Tags: ,

XX Retreat Rock Health

Last month Rock Health hosted its sixth annual XX in Health Retreat bringing together over 200 women leaders in the healthcare field. The stellar list of speakers touched on a number of topics, ranging from deeply personal stories to broader lessons about how one can overcome gender bias and make your mark as a woman leader. Here are some learnings from the day:

“Women need to be bold enough for the responsibility of success AND failure.” -Mecca Santana, VP of Cultural Affairs and Diversity for Westchester Medical Center

Mecca Santana had a number of great quips during her panel session, but this quote struck close to home. Being able to talk candidly about failure inspired many to confront fears of hearing ‘no’ and risk-taking in general. One young woman at my lunch table spoke about her failed grassroots campaign to engage co-workers in addressing their company’s woman retention problem. The older women at the table contributed their thoughts regarding similar battles they’ve fought, and how in the long run they were able to come out on top. Though the approaches were varied, one woman spoke about “how keeping her head down and constantly producing good work” served her well, while others debated about when it’s time to give up the good fight and join a more positive work culture. The conversation ended with one of the table’s entrepreneurs extending a job offer to the frustrated young woman.