Inside Morgenthaler’s Upcoming Health IT Showcase—Videos from the Finalists

At the first DC to VC health IT forum organized by Morgenthaler Ventures last fall, Aneesh Chopra, the chief technology officer of the United States, called for more prize-based competitions to encourage innovation in healthcare and other sectors of the economy. So it’s pretty appropriate that this year’s edition of DC to VC is all about competition. The main event at the invitation-only showcase on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus on September 22 will be a face-off between 11 startups at the seed and Series A stages. They’ll all be vying for the judges’ approval and—even more importantly—the attention of investors.

“The best way to ensure that investments are made in this space is to show people the high-quality companies that are being formed,” says Rebecca Lynn, the Morgenthaler partner who leads the firm’s health IT investing team. “A competition lets us have access to a wide range of entrepreneurs and lets the best bubble to the top.”

On August 24, Morgenthaler published the list of 11 finalists culled from 117 entries, including six seed-stage finalists and five seeking Series A funding. Below we’ve got exclusive in-depth material on each company, including video summaries. They range from a company developing a mobile-phone attachment for inexpensive eye diagnostics to a mobile social network for surgeons to an online platform for cognitive behavioral therapy.

There’s no monetary prize at stake on September 22, but a panel of judges will rank their top choices based on quality of the startups’ presentations. The seed-stage judges include Enoch Choi, an urgent care physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Robert Fassett, chief medical informatics officer at Oracle; Chaim Indig, CEO of Phreesia; Aydin Senkut, managing director of Felicis Ventures; and Jeff Tangney, CEO of Doximity. Series A judges include Brian Ascher, a partner at Venrock; Isaac Ciechanover, a partner at Kleiner Perkins; Tim Chang, a partner at Mayfield (and formerly with Norwest Venture Partners); Alex de Winter, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures; and Lynn herself.

“This competition is not so much about winning as it is having the opportunity to present your thoughts and ideas in front of a key audience,” says Lynn. “Even though you might not win first prize, you might be just the thing that some VC or angel investor in the crowd is looking for. Or there might be somebody who could be a great teammate or senior executive or advisor. It’s really all about the exposure and the connections.”

Lynn was part of a five-person committee from event sponsors Morgenthaler, Silicon Valley Bank, StartUp Health, and the Health 2.0 conference who sifted through the original entries in the competition, which was restricted to US entrepreneurs seeking seed or Series A funding. She says she was excited to see the entrants offering genuinely new solutions to old problems in medicine. “I was blown away by the quality” of the entries, Lynn says. “Everyone is talking about ‘How do we pay for healthcare?’ and that’s just the wrong question. What these companies focus on is how to fix healthcare, and that’s a very different question from how to pay for it. A lot of that is driving out the cost inefficiencies and the procedural inefficiencies, but if they can get these tools in the right hands—in some cases doctors, in some cases payers, in some cases patients—then we can actually fix it.”

On to the finalists. The text summaries, videos, and graphics were provided by the finalists themselves and are used by permission.



Careticker is the world’s first platform that help patients plan in advance for a hospital or outpatient procedure. Patients on Careticker can register with providers, provide advance notice of their visit and coordinate all of the people, medical supplies and services they need to have a safe recovery at home. With Careticker’s web and mobile application, patients also can create group messaging accounts for receiving and sending messages from doctors, nurses and providers. Patients can coordinate with providers, schedule delivery of medical equipment and supplies, and receive pending status updates. Once at home, Careticker helps patients to manage all aspects of their follow-up care.


Coming from MIT Media Lab, EyeNetra is the most affordable mobile eye diagnostic ever made. A combination of a mobile phone and a clip-on eyepiece, NETRA allows anyone to quickly measure their own eyes and get a prescription for glasses as well as a diagnosis for cataracts. Through mobile connectivity, our system allows users to easily access back end service providers and caregivers for consultation and treatment, enabling a complete solution from awareness to treatment. Our aim is to empower hundreds of millions around the globe by democratizing access to eye care.


Skimble is powering the mobile wellness movement with a cross-platform ecosystem of fun and dynamic social coaching applications. Their latest title, Workout Trainer, is ranked top 10 in health & fitness on iPhone/iPad, and helps members get fit with multimedia workouts led by expert trainers. Skimble’s GPS Sports Tracker allows members to keep track of all their sports activities and share accomplishments with friends.


SurgiChart is a mobile, cloud-based, social-clinical network for surgeons to exchange relevant perioperative, case-centric information.


Telethrive provides patients an instant connection to doctors for a medical consultation using any telephone or computer with complete audio and video conferencing. With no appointments, no waiting, and 24/7 availability,Telethrive eliminates existing and systemic barriers to health care access. Telethrive provides its highly scalable and customizable platform to a variety of healthcare organizations looking to cut cost, improve patient access to care, and better manage the time of the healthcare professionals providing services. A prototype of the platform is currently available direct to consumers in 18 states through Ringadoc (


Viewics is an analytics and business intelligence software company focused on hospitals. The Viewics Health Insighter cloud based platform caters to ancillary departments such as the laboratory, radiology and pharmacy which are key drivers of cost and clinical decision making within a hospital. Our solutions enable hospitals to drive enhanced operational, financial and clinical outcomes.



Started in 2008, AbilTo creates and delivers set-price, fixed-duration behavioral health programs – via videoconference – that address prevalent, treatable conditions – e.g., depression occurring after a heart attack. The company currently offers programs addressing conditions, such as depression, anxiety and ADHD, as well as life transitions – e.g., career return at the end of family leave. AbilTo’s unique approach has clear advantages over traditional approaches. First, providing remote service, improves access and attendance. There are no office visits. Second, quality service is assured. AbilTo recruits its own network of licensed therapists who utilize proprietary manuals that are based on best practices of cognitive therapy and allow for consistent progress tracking. Third, participants make rapid, positive behavioral changes because each participant works worth both a therapist and a behavioral coach. AbilTo currently offers Cardiac Health Forum to Aetnamembers and Momentum (family leave to career transition) as recently reported about in Forbes.

Axial Exchange

When a patient transitions between care settings, information gaps can drive up both costs and patient safety issues. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has cited care transition as the single biggest risk in patient safety today. Axial solves this problem by providing proactive clinical summaries for patients that move into and out of hospitals — from ambulance transport arrivals at the emergency room to patients arriving at a primary care physician’s office for post-discharge treatment. Axial’s technology-approach bears more similarity to that of a modern consumer web startup than to that of traditional health IT vendor. Axial has a cloud-native, open source infrastructure that translates data and presents it via a consumer-like experience that accommodates virtually any device with a Web browser.

Empower Interactive

Empower’s online services deliver proven psychotherapy methodologies via an e-learning platform to greatly improve the economics and accessibility of solutions for mental and behavioral health, starting with depression and anxiety. The underlying Empower platform generates customized learning experiences for each user based on Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) with content including videos, text, quizzes and interactive exercises. Clinicians can be assigned various levels of access to each user, as appropriate, to track individual progress. Overall, the program’s structure ensures that end users will benefit from cost-effective, evidence-based methods to help them improve their psychological well-being.


Jiff, which plans to remain in stealth mode until September 22, has created the first HIPAA-compliant iPad platform for patient communication and education—used by doctors, nurses, patients and more. Jiff chairman James Currier is a serial consumer Internet entrepreneur who co-founded WonderHill, a social gaming company, which registered over 30 million people and was acquired in late 2010. In 1999, James founded Tickle, which became the world’s largest self-assessment company, registering 100 million people. Tickle became the 18th largest website in the world and was acquired by in 2004. James also co-runs Ooga Labs, an investment and incubation company in Palo Alto. is a health care staff communications company that allows the health care industry to instantly allocate staff and providers where and when they are needed by two-way phone, text and email messaging. Instead of calling staff one by one, 30 people per hour, can contact dozens of providers, and have answers in seconds, saving both time and money while improving patient outcomes. CLICK: Instantly contact and confirm your staff by multiple communication methods, including 2-way text, phone and email on any device. CONTACT: For open shift coverage, routine and emergency communications, compliance communications and continuity of operations. CONFIRM: The YNIO communications platform recognizes staff members’ responses and responds appropriately. RESULTS: saves time and money while improving patient outcomes and staff satisfaction

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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