Dallas Startups Pitch for Better Living at Health Wildcatters Day
Hosting the second annual Health Wildcatters pitch day at the 1920s-era Majestic Theater in Dallas made sense, said the accelerator’s co-founder Carl Soderstrom, as he asked the crowd to consider the innovators who had previously graced the stage.
Soderstrom gestured to a photo of Harry Houdini, wrapped in locks and chains. “The only person who could consider a situation like that an opportunity,” he quipped.
Last week, Soderstrom kicked off festivities for Health Wildcatters’ second class of health-related startups. About 500 investors and entrepreneurs assembled at the downtown theater during an unusually blustery November afternoon.
Health Wildcatters, which launched its first class last year, makes an initial investment of $30,000 in the startups and takes an 8 percent stake. Hubert Zajicek, co-founder and executive director, said that last year’s crop has so far raised $6 million and that nine of the dozen companies are now based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
One of those startups is Dallas-based Cariloop, a website to connect seniors with home care, residential centers, and other services. It raised $400,000 in seed funding in June.
Looking at this year’s crop, what struck me was the sheer variety of startups Health Wildcatters brought in for the 12-week program.
Entrepreneurs came from around the U.S. as well as from Romania and Israel. They offered new ways to better manage patient data with doctors; a teabag-like “strainer” that could filter out the impurities in red wine that cause some of us distress; and a film barrier that reduces surgical adhesions inside the body. Here are the startups that made their debut last week:
—EasyEye: This startup has retail kiosks where people can take a reading test for lenses and pick out frames, all in one stop. The frames can be snapped into the frames immediately. Zachary Poll, co-founder and CEO, says he sees the kiosks in retail stores and airports, and has former Walgreens CEO Jeffrey Rein on the startup’s board.
—Platform Orthopedic Solutions: Based in Tel Aviv, this startup uses 3D scanning and modeling technologies to create personalized orthopedic devices.
—Fitter: Entrepreneurs from Romania have created an app geared to frequent travelers by connecting users with health coaches who give them tips to healthy while on the road. The app would target corporate wellness programs.
—Sintact Medical Systems: Founder and CEO Erik Robinson says this company has created a film that acts like an adhesion barrier separating internal adjacent organs from forming surgical adhesions.
—Silicone Arts Labs: This startup is already on the market selling its $50 tubes of “synthetic skin” though plastic surgery practices. The product goes on like makeup foundation and conceals scars. CEO Oscar Atkinson says the company has had $400,000 in sales this year and counts TV broadcaster Dan Rather as an early “guinea pig” of the product.
—INRFood: This startup has created a web platform and app with nutritional and cooking information to encourage healthy eating. Among the features include definitions of cooking methods and of items on ingredients labels, as well as recall notifications and special alerts related to allergies and vegetarian diets.
—BreathalEyes: This is an app that says it measures intoxication by tracking nystagmus, or involuntary eye flutters caused by alcohol. It uses facial recognition to identify specific users and, upon review, flashes “not-to-drive” warnings and brings up apps for taxis and car service companies.
—Lantern Pharma: This company was the sole therapy company among the class. Lantern says it is developing a new class of drugs to fight late-stage cancers with multiple drug resistance. It is focusing on advanced prostate and ovarian cancers.
—Puravino: Founder and CEO David Meadows says he developed this product because of his own adverse reactions to red wine. The startup makes a sachet resembling a tea bag, which, when dunked into a glass of red wine, removes sulfite preservatives and histamines.