TechStars Boston: 13 New Startups, from Super-Springs to Baby Makers

11/15/12Follow @curtwoodward

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spring for the first time since its invention some 250 years ago. It does this, CEO Arron Acosta says, with a “patented mechanism that bends carbon fiber in an unprecedented way.”

If the spring technology does what it’s supposed to, there are obviously industrial, aerospace, and military uses ahead. But Urban Hero is focusing first on making consumer products for the “action sports” market, that crowd of younger folks who take their daredevil athletic inspiration from the worlds of skateboarding, skiing, and freestyle biking.

An early video posted online shows a wild-looking pair of prototype boots that give the wearer a jackrabbit-like spring in their step. At Wednesday’s demo, Urban Hero got everyone to sit up in their seats and lean forward as one of the team members demonstrated a springboard-like contraption—he gingerly hopped on its springs, and was launched up a good five feet in the air, landing on top of a big black box onstage.

Software for Healthcare
Three of the 13 companies were focusing on some kind of software application or data analysis (or both) to help improve a piece of the healthcare system. And with President Barack Obama newly re-elected and his Democratic Party holding onto its majority in the U.S. Senate, there were plenty of mentions of the drive for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in healthcare spending, a big feature of Obama’s health care overhaul.

Careport Health, founded by former Harvard medical students, is developing a Web-based software system that promises to connect hospital staff and patients with rehab clinics, nursing facilities, and other parts of the disjointed healthcare system that patients often need to navigate on their own after leaving hospital.

BetterFit Technologies employs data analysis to help patients and doctors avoid problems with drugs. By comparing a patient’s specific conditions and other information to a database of other people, and linking that profile with troves of clinical trial reports and FDA data, BetterFit says it can create an ever-improving system for tracking drug interactions. It also plans to continue monitoring patients with a text message-like system that improves the database over time.

Ovuline is a consumer application, squarely aimed at women and couples trying to conceive. There are already plenty of apps and books and programs for tracking your body and health and pregnancy, of course. But Ovuline says it can do them one better by building a personalized, machine learning system that predicts the best times for getting pregnant.

And it’s based in a real-life example—co-founder Alex Baron wrote a machine-learning algorithm to help him and his wife conceive faster, and she’s due to give birth any day now, CEO Paris Wallace says. The startup plans to extend its service from getting pregnant into pregnancy monitoring.

That’s just a sampling of the topics covered onstage. If you want to learn more about the companies participating in this latest class, check out the TechStars blog for links and thumbnail descriptions.

And stay tuned for more—there’s another class in the works, with applications being accepted for next spring’s Boston class.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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