Amplify Health, Benefitter, MedWhat Among DC to VC Showcase Finalists

[Updated 3:00 pm 9/30/13 with a list of the winning startups—see below]

Wondering which digital-health startups are most likely to hit the big time? Then you’ll want to keep an eye on Morgenthaler Ventures’ fourth annual DC to VC Startup Showcase, coming up Sept. 30 at the Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley.

Morgenthaler sorted through more than 100 applications to choose just eight finalists for the showcase—four offering enterprise-oriented products or services, and four selling directly to consumers. The companies will be paired with venture capital partners to help them craft their pitches before a panel of judges, who will pick two winners for cash awards of $10,000 each.

“We are excited to pair these finalists up with venture capitalists to help mentor and assist them on stage with their final pitch,” Morgenthaler partner Rebecca Lynn said in a statement. “With the industry’s growth over the past four years, we now have several accelerators focused exclusively on digital health, but no one is giving direct access to venture capitals as mentors and sponsors. We thought this would be a strong addition to the event this year.”

The VC mentors include Lynn herself; Psilos Group founding and managing member Lisa Suennen; Aberdare Ventures partner Mohit Kaushal; Silicon Valley Bank accelerator director JC Simbana; Interwest Partners executive in residence Michelle Snyder; Qualcomm LIfe Fund director Jack Young; Social + Capital Partnership general partner Ted Maidenberg; and HLM Partners partner Marty Felsenthal.

Morgenthaler invited any digital health startup doing business in the U.S. with under $3 million in funding, a working product or prototype, and a defined monetization strategy to apply to join the showcase.

Here’s a rundown of the eight showcase selectees. The company descriptions are courtesy of Morgenthaler and/or the companies themselves.


Amplify HealthAmplify Health San Francisco; Eric Page, CEO

Amplify Health enables primary care physicians to reduce avoidable health care costs. Our suite of products allow primary care groups to directly contract with self-insured employers, proactively manage patient populations and perform data analytics that reduces total healthcare spend with improved outcomes while increasing patient satisfaction.

BenefitterBenefitter San Francisco; Brian Poger, Founder & CEO

Benefitter helps employers and employees confidently navigate the evolving healthcare reform legislation. We work closely with agents, brokers and consultants to deliver straightforward software-as-a-service (Saas) solutions to employers and employees. For example, Benefitter ReformCommunicator helps U.S. employers meet the October 1, 2013 Department of Labor (DOL) deadline under the updated Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). In addition to providing required notices to employees of coverage options, Benefitter helps uninsured employees understand their options and enroll in coverage within the state health insurance marketplaces. Benefitter is funded in part by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, and Mayo Clinic.

QualarisQualaris Pittsburgh, PA; James Wolfe, Founder & CEO

Qualaris Healthcare Solutions, Inc. is a health information technology company whose patient safety software helps hospitals to reduce hospital acquired conditions, such as infections, falls, and other adverse events. Qualaris enables hospitals to measure compliance with best practices in patient safety, analyze enterprise compliance data, and use communications for improvement. Qualaris offers a web and mobile-based software service with simple setup and no in-house IT staff requirements.

DaisyBillDaisyBill New York; Catherine Montgomery, Founder & CEO

DaisyBill is a SaaS-based revenue cycle management tool for providers to electronically submit and manage workers’ compensation medical bills. It tracks bills, payments, patterns, and compliance and offers granular data.  DaisyBill makes sure that providers get paid while taking away the opportunities for bad behavior on the part of providers, billing staff and insurers. DaisyBill makes workers’ comp a win-win for all stakeholders and is one of the first companies that can electronically submit workers’ comp bills. This turns a losing proposition – getting paid for treating injured workers – into a much easier, more transparent and actually profitable part of a medical practice.


OMsignalOMSignal Montreal, Canada; Stephane Marceau, Founder & CEO

OMsignal has developed a revolutionary line of bio-sensing clothing (designed for everyday wear) that connect seamlessly with mobile devices. Through the garments, physiological signals are read from the body, filtered and interpreted to deliver useful information and actionable insights to consumers and health practitioners and to researchers in a variety of human related fields of research. The information and insights derived from OMsignal include ECG, activity and respiration rhythms as well as a measure of tension levels or “emotive” states. Current applications span medical and consumer markets to include arrhythmia detection, chronic condition management and personal wellness.

Kinsa HealthKinsa Health New York; Inder Singh, Founder & CEO

Using mobile technologies, Kinsa is creating the world’s first real-time map of human health. With it, we will empower society with information to track and stop the spread of disease, and simultaneously transform the way people care for their children, families and communities. Our first product is an ultra-low-cost smartphone-connected thermometer. It allows us to communicate with people who have just fallen ill. The world’s smartest thermometer does not simply tell you your temperature, rather it transforms the way you care for your family. With a few simple taps, you can track your symptoms to show your doctor later, get advice from a medical professional, or see the “health weather” in the local area to know whether it’s strep or flu going around. It also allows you to take a sick child’s temperature easier. Using the smartphone’s display, we have created an engaging, “gamified,” experience for kids. Members of our team previously built international health programs that put millions of people onto life-saving treatments, built best-selling apps and smartphone-connected toys for children, and have started successful technology ventures.

MedWhatMedWhat Palo Alto, CA; Arturo Devesa, Founder & CEO

MedWhat is a personal medical assistant app providing automatic personalized answers to your health and medical questions.  Users can create a quick anonymous health profile telling MedWhat their age, gender, and current medical conditions. This allows MedWhat to provide personalized answers and have a contextual conversation with the user by following up with questions and pushing health notifications to your phone. MedWhat uses natural language processing and bioinformatics to understand and create medical logic.  The team is made of statistics and computer science engineers, and a medical adviser from Stanford University Hospital. The free MedWhat app is currently ranked as a new and top medical app by the Apple app store and already being used by thousands of people.

Sandstone DiagnosticsSandstone Diagnostics Livermore, CA; Greg Sommer, Founder & CEO

Sandstone Diagnostics is a Bay Area biotech company developing instruments and consumables for point-of-care medical testing. Sandstone’s leading product, Trak, is a consumer semen analysis platform that provides a simple and accurate way to monitor sperm quality from the comfort of home. Trak is a tool for men to take charge of their fertility, boost their sperm quality, and improve their chances of conception. Sandstone was cofounded in 2012 by Ph.D. scientists developing medical technologies for national defense applications at Sandia National Laboratories. 

Update 3:00 pm 9/30/13

According to a release from Morgenthaler Ventures, the winners of the just-completed DC to VC Startup Showcase were as follows:

Enterprise Category $10,000 Cash Winner: Amplify Health

Consumer Category $10,000 Cash Winner: Kinsa

Enterprise Category People’s Choice Winner: Benefitter

Consumer Category People’s Choice Winner: OMSignal

A judging panel comprised of providers (Dignity Health), employers (Google and Safeway Health), and telecom and device industry representatives (Philips and Sprint) picked the cash winners. “With over 100 applications this year, the pipeline for health IT startups has never been more impressive,” said Morgenthaler executive-in-residence Missy Krasner in a statement. “This year we saw way more mature companies who spanned across enterprise and consumer solutions.”

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

Trending on Xconomy