Excerpts from the Innovation Economy blog.
Can a 75-year old health insurer spark radical innovation on the local start-up scene?
That’s the goal of a new partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Healthbox, which runs a three-month “accelerator” program for entrepreneurs working on new products and services for the health care industry. The program, with 10 teams taking up residence in Kendall Square, wraps up with an “Innovation Day” in November, when they will show off their progress.
Healthbox, founded in Chicago, is the second health care-oriented accelerator program to set up shop in the Boston area this year; Rock Health, originally from San Francisco, is about to conclude its first local session, with an investor showcase next Friday. Healthbox offers the companies it accepts free office space, mentorship, and $50,000 in seed funding, in return for a 7 percent equity stake. This year, about 130 start-ups applied.
“We’re looking for things that can help improve the efficiency and affordability of health care,” says Allen Maltz, chief financial officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Another important goal is stimulating innovation and helping to get the economy moving again.”
Blue Cross is the lead investor in the program, along with the venture capital firms HLM Venture Partners and Long River Ventures, and Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager.
The companies in the first Healthbox Cambridge class are:
■ Bon’App: It’s building a website and mobile app to allow users to learn about the nutritional value of food “through simplistic language and graphical displays.”
■ GeckoCap: Designing a cap that fits over existing asthma inhalers to monitor usage and send data to the Web is its goal
■ Uprise Medical: It is creating software that runs on a tablet computer and uses text, video, and animation to help physicians better explain a medical condition to patients.
■ Aavya Health: It’s working on software that presents lab results to patients “in an intuitive and engaging format,” according to the company.
■ iQuartic: Its focus is collecting and organizing real-time data from medical records across different systems, to allow hospitals and health systems to better analyze doctor performance and patient trends.
■ Abiogenix: It’s developing uBox, a smart pill container that will prompt patients to take their meds.
■ Healthy Delivery: It aims to help combat unhealthy eating by delivering meal ingredients, recipes, and short instructional videos to consumers.
■ Yosko: It is developing an iPad app to give doctors on the go access to patient info.
■ Smart Scheduling: The software it is creating would predict whether a patient will show up for an appointment.
■ Gweepi Medical: It’s designing a disposable patch to help nursing homes monitor patients with incontinence.
Investing in future careers
A Silicon Valley company called Upstart, launched last week, plans to make it possible for individuals to invest in the future success of a recent college grad — and potentially earn a return.