11 health IT startups go for the money

By Bernie Monegain
10:26 AM

Morgenthaler Ventures, a venture capital firm, has named 11 finalists in the firm’s nationwide contest to find the most promising health IT startups looking for seed and Series-A funding.
The 11 company founders will present in front of leading venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs at a gathering dedicated to health IT innovation on Sept. 22 in Mountain View, Calif. The event is invitation only.

Venture capital investments in health IT – loosely defined as medical software and information services – increased in the second quarter of 2011 to $198 million, a 27 percent increase from the $156 million invested during the same period in 2010, according to research from Dow Jones VentureSource.

"The tremendous response we received shows that health IT is becoming as sexy a sector as social media and games," said Rebecca Lynn, partner at Morgenthaler Ventures and head of the firm's health IT investing team. "We received 117 applications that reflect how entrepreneurs are 'thinking big.' They are building powerful applications and services on top of today's Web, mobile, social media, and cloud-based infrastructures to transform our healthcare system."

She added that "many of the applicants were driven to build health IT companies because of their own personal experiences battling the deficiencies in our healthcare system. They are incredibly smart and motivated, and I am humbled by their passion. I believe that entrepreneurs – not corporations or the government – will ultimately fix healthcare."

The Finalists

The 11 finalists of the DC to VC: HIT Startup Showcase are grouped into two categories: companies seeking either seed or Series-A funding. They include:

Seed-Stage Finalists:

  • Careticker is the world's first platform that helps patients plan in advance for a hospital or outpatient procedure. (Miami, Fla.)
  • EyeNetra is the most affordable mobile eye diagnostic ever developed, allowing anyone to take their own eye test, get a prescription for glasses, and connect to eye-care providers all on a mobile phone. (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Skimble powers the mobile wellness movement with a cross-platform ecosystem of fun and dynamic coaching applications. Its latest title, Workout Trainer, ranks top 10 in the free Healthcare & Fitness category on iPhone/iPad. (San Francisco)
  • SurgiChart is a mobile, cloud-based, social-clinical network for surgeons to exchange relevant perioperative, case-centric information. (Nashville, Tenn)
  • Telethrive provides patients an instant connection to doctors for a medical consultation using any telephone or computer with complete audio and video conferencing. (Los Angeles)
  • Viewics provides hospitals with cloud-based analytics and business intelligence solutions which enable them to drive enhanced operational, financial and clinical outcomes. (San Francisco)

Series-A Finalists:

  • AbilTo develops and delivers online mental health programs to managed care members and enterprise workforces that help reduce payer costs while improving overall health outcomes. (New York)
  • Axial Exchange moves healthcare organizations towards pay-for-performance, enabling providers to coordinate care and measure clinical quality across disparate settings. (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Empower Interactive's online services deliver proven psychotherapy methodologies via an e-learning platform to greatly improve the economics and accessibility of mental and behavioral health solutions. (San Francisco)
  • Jiff is the first HIPAA-compliant iPad platform for patient education in the medical industry – used by doctors, nurses, patients and more. (San Francisco)
  • YourNurseIsOn.com employs bi-directional text, phone and email communications to help hospitals and agencies put "the right healthcare providers, in the right places, right now." (New Haven, Conn.)

CareyinSync, a real-time care collaboration platform for smart-mobile devices such as iPhones or iPads to radically transform patient care, was an honorable mention (referred by BluePrint Health IT).

About the Competition
Organized by Morgenthaler Ventures with co-organizers Silicon Valley Bank, Health 2.0 and Practice Fusion, the contest was opened to U.S. entrepreneurs looking to raise seed or Series-A capital for their health IT startups. Applications were judged by Rebecca Lynn, partner at Morgenthaler; Shai Goldman and JC Simbana directors at Silicon Valley Bank; Matthew Holt, founder of Health 2.0; and Steven Krein, founder of StartUp Health and CEO of Organized Wisdom. The judging criteria can be found here.

The finalists will present in front of the following judges at the event on Sept. 22:

Seed stage judges include: Aydin Senkut, managing director of Felicis Ventures; Jeff Tangney, founder and CEO of Doximity; Chaim Indig, co-founder and CEO of Phreesia; Robert Fassett, MD, chief medical informatics officer at Oracle; and Enoch Choi, MD, urgent care physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Series-A judges include: Rebecca Lynn, partner at Morgenthaler Ventures; Brian Ascher, partner at Venrock; Isaac Ciechanover, partner at Kleiner Perkins; Tim Chang, partner at Norwest Venture Partners and Alex de Winter, partner at MDV.