Visual Wednesdays: Healthcare Then and Now

| April 16, 2014|Tags: ,

What’s changed since the days of Don Draper? For one, a 24.4% increase in healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP, 10 extra years of life expectancy and a 32% increase in cancer survival. Dive in to the full infographic. (more…)

Rock Weekly: One last glitch for Kathleen Sebelius

| April 14, 2014|Tags:

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In case you missed the news last week, our portfolio companies dominated the funding charts, including drchrono, Wellframe, and Andreessen Horowitz’s first major health investment — Omada Health.

However, Beltway Insiders had a particularly rough week. HHS got a new Secretary after Sebelius’ flubbed farewell speech and rollout, rumors of the NSA exploiting Heartbleed surfaced, and we got wind of the Medicare Millionaires — the top 2% of providers collecting $15.2B in total payouts.


The lonely universe of autoimmune diseases

| April 10, 2014|Tags:


Dr. Bonnie Feldman

How would you feel if, after years of searching for a diagnosis you finally found out you have an autoimmune disease, and then you realize that your doctors will have to experiment on you to find the right treatment?

That’s the state of the art today in autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, lupus, and MS.

At least 50 million Americans (twice the number of cancer patients) suffer from autoimmune diseases. Each of the 90 or more named diseases is represented by a variety of stakeholders, (patients, specialists, researchers), with little sharing of data across groups, and even less across diseases.

Thinking big in healthcare: Q&A with Haas keynote Lance Scott

| April 09, 2014

Haas Reception Photo courtesy of Haas School of Business

Several weeks ago, we journeyed over to San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko for the 8th Annual Haas Business of Healthcare Conference, presented by UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. This year’s theme, “Exploring New Frontiers,” focused on thinking big, beyond incremental, year-to year advances in healthcare, towards industry innovation in the long-term. In addition to a day-long expo featuring around a dozen disruptive healthcare startups (which we loved), the conferenced offered a fresh lens into pressing industry topics like transforming prevention through technology, the future of care delivery, and using big data to solve grand-scale problems.


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

Visual Wednesdays: The Big Data Cure

| April 09, 2014|Tags:

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Parenting is hard. Kinsights is here to help.

| April 08, 2014|Tags: , ,

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Every parent realizes that annual well-child visits with their pediatrician typically last around 11-20 minutes, hardly enough time to get their shots and measurements. Contemporary parents are looking online for everyday parenting tips and advice on their children’s health for the hundreds of questions that crop up in between appointments. Time spent online actually goes up when U.S. women become mothers, and the top five parenting search terms get over half a billion searches on Google each month, according to Kinsights, one of our portfolio companies.

Rock Weekly: The top digital health deals of Q1

| April 07, 2014|Tags:

Rock Weekly

Digital health is increasingly whetting venture appetites — with a record breaking $700M pouring into the space in the last quarter alone. Dive into our just-released Q1 funding review to get the details.

Elsewhere in the industry, the FDA announced it won’t expand it’s regulatory scope of mobile health, 1/3 of wearable users are ditching their devices after six months, and AI achieved 41.9% better diagnostic accuracy than trained physicians.

Q1 2014 Funding Update: Another record quarter for digital health

| April 03, 2014|Tags:

Q1 2014 saw quite a few exciting milestones for healthcare — POTUS broke his goal of getting 7 million Americans signed up on the exchanges, three digital health companies debuted in public markets, and digital health venture funding saw its best quarter yet.

Digital health is increasingly whetting venture appetites — January set a record month in deals and dollars, and building off that momentum, the first quarter of 2014 set an all-time record for digital health funding in a single quarter. Nearly $700M in funding poured into the space, paving the way for the biggest year ever for the industry. Q1 2014 experienced a mind blowing 87% year-over-year growth versus Q1 2013. Yea, we’re excited too. (Note: As always, our venture funding statistics only include deals above $2M).
Digital Health Funding in Q1 2014


Fixing the background technologies on which health apps depend

| April 03, 2014

Developers are flocking to health IT with the laudable goals of making a difference in people’s health (and earning some money in the process). The complex and balkanized field presents numerous barriers to entrepreneurs breaking into the space,   Here are a few of the dilemmas that health reformers face, and that bedevil efforts to provide useful apps and medical devices:

A lot of developers are offering apps or fitness devices. But without rigorous testing (double-blinded experiments) the FDA probably won’t let apps or devices be used for medical purposes, and insurers won’t cover them. Although people obsessed with good health are buying fitness devices and reporting that self-tracking is changing their lives, the people who need intervention the most (such as obese smokers with diabetes) aren’t widely using digital health products.

A full-press clinical research effort on every app or device would be absurd and would shut down innovation. But it’s not right for device manufacturers to bypass the FDA entirely, either. The FDA’s current position is reasonable, if vendors can understand it, but perhaps we can find a more modern approach to testing apps and devices. Crowdsourcing and data sharing may be the key to trusting apps and devices as well.