Benefitter (1 of 2)

Benefitter (1 of 2)

The first four companies presenting at Demo Day, starting with Benefitter, were still in stealth mode. Benefitter CEO Brian Poger said the complexity of healthcare reform will create counterintuive, multi-million-dollar opportunities for startups.

Photo by Wade Roush

Benefitter (2 of 2)

Benefitter (2 of 2)

Benefitter hopes to help employees, employers, and brokers save millions of dollars while navigating healthcare reform. The company has already raised $3 million in seed funding.

Photo by Wade Roush

Superbetter (1 of 2)

Superbetter (1 of 2)

At last year’s South by Southwest festival, Superbetter launched an iPhone game designed to help users recover from illness or injury and achieve health goals.

Photo by Wade Roush

Superbetter (2 of 2)

Superbetter (2 of 2)

Superbetter CEO John Solomon says the company “believes in taking the best parts of gaming and using it to solve people’s health challenges.” He says nearly 250,000 people are already using the app to battle depression, anxiety, and stress.

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Moxe (1 of 2)

Moxe (1 of 2)

Moxe Health CEO Dan Wilson says the company is focused on improving access to appropriate care for the newly insured and the underserved. “There are no silver bullets but there are common themes," he says. "How do you make sure each [patient] is receiving the right help?"

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Moxe (2 of 2)

Moxe (2 of 2)

Moxe has built an app called Triage.me that directs patients to appropriate non-emergency care facilities depending on their condition, and another is a “navigation system” that helps healthcare providers guide patients to the right resources based on system capacity.

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MangoHealth (1 of 2)

MangoHealth (1 of 2)

Co-founder and CEO Jason Oberfest says half of the people who take prescription drugs in the U.S. don’t follow directions, leading to medical complications that cost $3.5 billion a year. Most efforts to improve drug adherence, he says, have focused on improving medication tracking, when the basic problem is really behavioral: forgetfulness, lack of motivation, and lack of consequences.

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MangoHealth (2 of 2)

MangoHealth (2 of 2)

Mango Health’s iPhone app reminds patients when to take their medications and lets them earn points that they can use to unlock rewards. “We are applying what we have learned about game design to change consumer behavior,” says Oberfest.

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Wildflower Health

Wildflower Health

Pregnancy and childbirth complications cost hospitals $86 billion a year, according to Wildflower Health CEO Leah Sparks. The company has built a mobile app called Due Date Plus that helps women track milestones of pregnancy, offers them personalized suggestions about how to reduce pregnancy complications, and gathers data that helps clinicians predict the risk of preterm delivery. “We can’t prevent what we can’t predict,” Sparks says.

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Wellframe (1 of 2)

Wellframe (1 of 2)

CEO Jacob Sattelmair says Wellframe is all about making it easier for patients to engage in cardiac rehabilitation programs after a heart attack. The company makes an app providing a personalized daily task list and a private social network that connects patients, family members, and clinicians.

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Wellframe (2 of 2)

Wellframe (2 of 2)

The Wellframe app also collects data on patient behavior, giving clinicians insight into what’s happening between office visits. Patients who have tested the app say it’s easy to use and “helps them feel cared for even on days they don’t go to the clinic,” says Sattelmair.

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Open Placement (1 of 2)

Open Placement (1 of 2)

OpenPlacement helps manage elderly patients’ transition from hospitals or skilled nursing facilities into long-term care facilities. The current process is haphazard and inefficient, says co-founder Dan Trigub. OpenPlacement’s system can help families find available beds, filtered by budget, geography, and level of care.

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Open Placement (2 of 2)

Open Placement (2 of 2)

So far 500 facilities, mostly around the San Francisco Bay Area, are participating in Open Placement’s platform. After long-term care facilities, OpenPlacement hopes to expand to match patients with rehabilitation programs, transportation resources, and durable medical equipment.

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Wello (1 of 2)

Wello (1 of 2)

Wello is building a two-way Internet video network connecting personal trainers with people who need help getting motivated to exercise at home. Founder and co-CEO Ann Scott Plante says the system combines “the convenience and ease of working out at home with what’s missing---accountability and motivation.”

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Wello (2 of 2)

Wello (2 of 2)

Wello matches users with trainers and lets them connect at a specified time over its video platform; all users need is a laptop with a webcam. Recently the company introduced group workouts, and Genentech signed up to provide the program to its employees as a perk.

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LabDoor (1 of 2)

LabDoor (1 of 2)

LabDoor evaluates nutritional supplements, energy drinks, and other foods to see whether their ingredients match the labels, and what contaminants they may contain. “Wouldn’t you like to know what’s really in your kid’s gummy vitamin, or how safe that case of 5-Hour Energy Drink in your startup’s office is?” asks CEO Neil Thanedar.

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LabDoor (2 of 2)

LabDoor (2 of 2)

LabDoor’s site assigns A through F grades to nutraceutical products based on their safety and efficacy. So far, 70 percent of the products the company has tested have had inaccurate label data and 90 percent have contained pesticides or heavy metals, Thanedar says.

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Eligible (1 of 2)

Eligible (1 of 2)

CEO Katelyn Gleason says Eligible’s goal is to streamline insurance eligibility checks and other types of communications between patients, doctors, and insurance providers. Such transactions are currently handled by data aggregators using archaic EDI (electronic data interchange) standards, she says.

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Eligible (2 of 2)

Eligible (2 of 2)

Using the Eligible platform, software engineers at healthcare companies can easily integrate their office and billing systems with existing data exchange protocols. “Just three lines of Eligible code enables them to connect to over 700 health insurance companies and instantly speak their language,” Gleason says.

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Beam (1 of 2)

Beam (1 of 2)

CEO Alex Frommeyer says Beam has taken an everyday manual toothbrush and embedded a sensor that collects data about the user’s brushing habits. The company has partnered with gamification and mobile advertising startup Kiip to provide rewards to users who meet their brushing goals.

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Beam (2 of 2)

Beam (2 of 2)

Frommeyer says Beam will focus first on selling the brushes to parents with children aged 5 to 10, but eventually plans to target dental insurance companies like Delta Dental, who might pay for the brushes to reduce the overall cost of oral health care.

Photo by Wade Roush

CliniCast (1 of 2)

CliniCast (1 of 2)

Jack Challis, CEO of Clinicast, says the healthcare industry is in need of a risk scoring system similar to the FICO score in the credit industry. The company has built a Web application that helps providers sift through their data to identify high-risk patients and provide appropriate preventive care.

Photo by Wade Roush

CliniCast (2 of 2)

CliniCast (2 of 2)

Using CliniCast’s platform, health plans and providers could monitor their popuations and figure out which types of medical interventions actually save money. “We could become the language of data-driven healthcare,” Challis says.

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Zipongo (1 of 2)

Zipongo (1 of 2)

Zipongo makes an app called GroceryRx that employers can use to incentivize employees to eat healthier meals. The app shows discounts on healthy foods at nearby stores, personalized according to the user’s specific health conditions.

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Zipongo (2 of 2)

Zipongo (2 of 2)

“If someone learns they have hypertension, our personalization engine can show them that soup and bread are their top sources of sodium and close the loop by giving them a discount on low-sodium soup,” explains Zipongo founder and CEO Jason Langheier.

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KitCheck (1 of 2)

KitCheck (1 of 2)

CEO Kevin McDonald says U.S. hospitals spend $330 million per year restocking drug kits---trays of medications used in emergency-room and surgical settings. Kit Check has built an automated system that scans kits to see which drugs need replacing.

Photo by Wade Roush

KitCheck (2 of 2)

KitCheck (2 of 2)

When a used kit comes back from the floor, pharmacy technicians “put it in our scanning station, hit the scan button, and five seconds later they know what’s in the kit and what’s wrong and what they need to replace.The system generates all the regulatory paperwork. Customers love it.”

Photo by Wade Roush

Rock Health Group Portrait

Rock Health Group Portrait

The entire February 2013 class of Rock Health startups gathered on stage for a photo op.

Photo by Wade Roush

The Rock Health Team

The Rock Health Team

At the end of the Demo Day session, the Rock Health founders, organizers, and volunteers soaked up some well-earned applause.

Photo by Wade Roush

Networking Hour

Networking Hour

The real business of Demo Day took place over drinks in the lobby.

Photo by Wade Roush

UCSF's Genentech Hall

UCSF's Genentech Hall

The dramatic building in Mission Bay has served as the venue for several of Rock Health's West Coast demo day events.

Photo by Wade Roush

San Francisco’s Rock Health startup accelerator held its fourth semi-annual Demo Day at UCSF’s Genentech Hall Wednesday afternoon. Investors and journalists heard pitches from 14 startups working to introduce new health-related services for consumers and new ways to improve the efficiency of the U.S. healthcare system.

On the consumer side, one intriguing presenter was Beam Technologies, which is building a toothbrush embedded with motion sensors to detect how long a person has been brushing. A Bluetooth radio sends the data to a smartphone app. (Perhaps it should have been called the Bluetoothbrush.)

At the opposite extreme, aiming to introduce software-based improvements that will lower overall healthcare costs, were companies like Eligible, which is building software connectors to make it easier for hospitals to check patients’ insurance eligibility, and CliniCast, which wants to assign patients FICO-like risk scores to help healthcare providers decide how to allocate care.

Rock Health is a competitive, three-month program exposing startup teams to intensive product, design, and business mentorship. Companies admitted to the program receive $100,000 in funding from a group including Aberdare Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Mayo Clinic, and Mohr Davidow.

Rock Health founder and CEO Halle Tecco said 49 companies have now completed the Rock Health program. They’ve raised a collective $43 million in angel and venture funding, or $900,000 each, on average. According to data from AngelList, the valuations of Rock Health startups are higher than those of startups from all other accelerators except Y Combinator and StartX, Tecco said.

For summaries of the presentations see the photos and captions above. Here’s a list of the companies, with links to their sites:

Beam Technologies
Benefitter*
CliniCast
Eligible
Kit Check
LabDoor
Mango Health*
Moxe Health*
OpenPlacement
SuperBetter*
Wellframe
Wello
Wildflower Health
Zipongo

*Stealth mode companies.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy.