SXSW 2014 digital health roundup

We’re finally settling down after SXSW, but still buzzing about the ever-growing presence of healthcare at Interactive.  During the bonanza, we scoured the town to reward innovators and disruptors, mingled with our digital health friends, represented Rock Health at three talks on everything from digital health funding to diversity,  and introduced nine of the best companies in wearables to SXSW at our packed SXSWearables showcase.

Didn’t make it to Austin this year? Don’t worry – here’s the roundup.

Halle Tecco got healthcare entrepreneurs hyped!
Today’s healthcare entrepreneurs need to be savvier than ever about finding capital, but that can sometimes feel impossible in today’s confusing funding landscape. Halle, along with Andrew Farquharson of VentureHealth and Breanna DiGiammarino of Indiegogo, discussed consumer-facing crowdfunding, strategies for mid to late stage companies, and models for obtaining capital.

Anne Wojcicki wants 23andMe to get back to offering health information
The 23AndMe founder told it like it is: everyone has the right to their genetic information—and to use it. She articulated her vision of personalized healthcare, underscoring the benefits of informing people about their genetic markers, partnering with doctors for preventative treatments, and crowd-sourcing genetic research.

Rock Health CSO Malay Gandhi dove into why healthcare is ripe for disruption
His panel, “What Happen When Health And Tech Meetup?” unpacked the future reinvention in healthcare, discussing how innovation in medical technology and big data will impact key concerns like our growing aging population and the rise of chronic disease, while accelerating the transition to a coordinate, holistic health model.

Bill Nye declared that technology, science, and startups are intimately related
Bill Nye, Andy Samberg, and Quirky founder Ben Kaufman were judges in the Shark Tank-esque “Night of Invention” co-hosted by Quirky and GE. The judges shared their thoughts and then left it to the audience to vote on whether it should be created or further explored by Quirky. Memorable product pitches were a self-fluxing toiler, snow-shoveling robot, and smart ski-sensor.

Our own Mara Perman dished about Rock Health in a workshop for minorities in health tech
Rock Health is lowering the barriers for entrepreneurs to break into healthcare by increasing accessibility, lowering costs and aiming to make the healthcare system massively better for everyone. The conversation also featured Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls CODE, who talked about encouraging young minority women to engage with tech. Other panelists included Damon Davis of Health Data Initiative and Ivor Horn of Children’s National Medical Center, who focused more on the importance of building companies that can create new resources for underserved communities through tech.

Leslie Saxon got down with wearable computing  in her talk on the future of networked humans
Technology today can do things that were once completely unimaginable. Saxon, executive director of USC’s Center for Body Computing, schooled her audience on future directions for wearable and implantable device development, as these technologies continue to transform approaches to health and life management.

Rock Health portfolio company ThriveOn was the reigning champ of SXSW Accelerator, taking home the gold for best healthcare startup.
Beating out social networking apps to win Best in Show, ThriveOn came out at the top of the pack at SXSW.
The San Francisco-based company won for their game-changing, online and mobile health platform that is transforming the way people access mental health care. ThriveOn offers an on-demand mental health service comprised of an interactive and personalized health program and a remote personal coach. Way to go!

The SXSWearables line was around the block!
Wearable enthusiasts and people dipping their toes in digital health lined up (some for more than two hours) awaiting our SXSWearables showcase, featuring booze, bacon and biosensors and a huge Misfit Shine giveaway. More than 9K people registered for the event, which was stocked with a proper Southern breakfast and featured nine wearable companies, including Athos, Atlas, Cuff, Garmin, Netatmo, Misfit, Spree, Epiphany, and Withings.


On top of the Shine-anza at SXSWearables, we hunted down innovators, movers and shakers doing great thing in digital health and beyond and rewarded them with even more Shines. Here’s a few of the folks we met:

Tech entpreneur Leila Janah, founder of  Samasource (@Leila_C), two friends from Japan, Ikki Ishikawa and his awesome buddy (@ikkieGoNippon), men’s accessories buff Yuvi Alpert, founder of  Ruby Kobo and (@yuvialpert) and one of the fabulous ladies from Women.Design.Build (@WomenDB)