AI-enabled platforms, smart needles, and mobile-based healthcare. Just some of the themes pitched by startup founders at Venture Hall’s inaugural Demo Day in Portland, Maine.
The 13-week accelerator graduated its first cohort of six promising early-stage, health and wellness-focused startups, and offered them a chance to present their companies to an audience of roughly 200 people from Maine’s startup ecosystem, including accredited investors. (The event was live streamed online and is available in two parts: here and here.)
David Roux, a Maine native and cofounder of Silicon Valley-based Silver Lake Partners, one of the largest tech-focused private equity firms in the country, kicked off the event with a keynote talk that discussed the nature and importance of entrepreneurship.
“In theory, entrepreneurs are the engines of our advanced modern economy, and they account for about half the growth of the economy,” he said. “They are risk-seeking missiles. At a societal level, risk-seeking is a useful pathology: it helps you get past all the very good reasons you shouldn’t start a business.”
Roux, who also serves as chairman of The Jackson Laboratories’ board, made an impassioned pitch for Portland to start an engineering school in the city.
Venture Hall’s accelerator chose the startups from a pool of 83 applicants from 23 states and seven countries. Each startup focused on frontline caregivers, and have a working prototype of a product, app, or service that helps to improve efficiency, lower costs, increase engagement, reduce errors, and save resources for providers and patients. Venture Hall partnered with Village Capital, a Washington, D.C.-based global accelerator and venture capital firm, to develop the curriculum.
Venture Hall’s inaugural graduating class of startups consists of the following companies:
- SmartSharps (Maine) is now part of CareWorks. They have developed needle systems that help doctors eliminate patient harm from incorrect needle placement. The company is currently miniaturizing its devices for clinical testing, validating regulatory strategy, and securing IP protections for follow-on applications.
- Welnys (New Jersey), has a platform that helps companies manage the logistics of their on-site employee wellness programs. This quarter, Welnys closed partnerships with over 500 health and wellness vendors and signed deals with companies including Jet.com, Justworks, and Venom.
- LIVZO (San Francisco), is a disease management platform designed to help the 26 million chronic kidney disease patients in the US manage a rigorous diet and health regimen. A beta version of the platform has been adopted by more than 200 users, dialysis patients in a consumer discovery pilot, and Kaiser Permanente nurses. LIVZO is also conducting a medical study with Emory University and Fresenius Medical Care.
- Janus Choice (St. Louis), has developed an artificial intelligence platform that helps match patients with post-acute care providers. Janus Choice currently has a sales pipeline of more than 300 hospitals, and it was recently named a Jumpstart Foundry and a Singularity University company.
- SpinDoc (Maine), automates the process of matching the millions of documents physician practices and hospitals receive each year to the patient’s electronic health record. The company recently completed its first pilot with ten physicians and is moving into production in October 2017, with plans to commercialize next year.
- Cliexa (Denver), uses an interactive mobile platform that helps chronic disease patients report their conditions to directly to care teams. The company will continue its work with MaineHealth to integrate and expand its mobile platform to track congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Read more about emerging startups in Maine at TechCo