Healthrageous Snags $6M to Combat Unhealthy Behaviors

We eat ice cream before bedtime. Sleep in rather than rising early to jog. And forget to take our medicine. Those are three of many unhealthy behaviors that cause millions of Americans to become obese, diabetic, and plain sick. Enter Healthrageous, which says it has scooped up $6 million in a Series A venture round to advance its technology-driven approach to changing peoples’ unhealthy behaviors.

Healthrageous (previously called HopSkipConnect) is a spinout of Partners Center for Connected Health, the unit of Partners HealthCare System in Boston that studies the use of technologies like text messages and the Internet to keep people healthy outside of hospitals and other traditional clinical settings. The startup’s software is designed to automatically give people personalized advice to help them reach health goals such as losing weight, lowering blood pressure, or controlling their diabetes.

North Bridge Venture Partners, of Waltham, MA, and San Mateo, CA, led the startup’s first-round financing, which also included investments from Boston-based Egan-Managed Capital and Long River Ventures in Amherst, MA. Rick Lee, a veteran managed healthcare executive, is CEO of Healthrageous (and a speaker at Xconomy’s XSITE innovation forum next week—register here). He said the new financing enables the startup, which is temporarily operating from North Bridge’s Waltham office until it finds its own digs in the Boston area, to hire more engineers and other staff. It also plans to develop a mobile application that would allow people to access its services on their smartphones.

Healthrageous plans to design health programs for self-insured companies, disease-management firms, and other customers. For a company with a high number of diabetics, Lee said, his firm could offer a program in which diabetics could monitor their blood sugar with wireless glucose meters. People could log their blood-sugar readings with the firm’s online software, which they could access with any Internet-connected computer. The firm’s software would provide automated feedback to each user based on their individual health data. The system’s feedback would be sent to the person over the Web, via text message, or even with traditional mail delivery, Lee said. The firm also plans to incorporate a social networking component for people to share their progress with their peers.

“If we can make healthcare fun and different and something that people want to own as opposed to something that people want to shirk and blame their … Next Page »

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