MedStartr Challenge at the AMIA Annual Symposium 5 November

Alex Fair, CEO of MedStartr, has posted this Editor on their latest Crowd Challenge, this time at the AMIA Annual Symposium in San Francisco, 3-7 November. There are over 40 companies competing for five presentation spots in the AMIA 2018 PitchIT Competition on 5 November. What’s at stake? AMIA’s Informatics Partnership Council (IPC) sponsoring PitchIt has a prize of up $12,500, plus MedStartr has $25,000 in grants and entry into the MedStartr Acceleration Program. The link to the eligible companies is here on MedStartr, the leading crowdfunding platform exclusively for healthcare. Review, vote, and fund! 

Beyond crowdfunding–startup funding through blockchain cryptocurrency, smart contracts

Bitcoin + Smart Contracts or Bust! A surprise to this Editor was that Bitcoin (on 14 Aug an eye-blinking $4,400) has a host of ‘currency token’ competitors–Ethereum‘s Ether ($286), DCorp‘s DRP, and others in the wings waiting for their initial coin offerings (ICOs). These cryptocurrencies, while still hard to use (don’t try to shop for groceries with them), are demonstrating credible, real-world value despite shady uses in hacking.

The tech behind currency tokens, blockchain, with its distributed data ledger also offers another more intriguing development beyond what this Editor has noted in healthcare [TTA 16 July 165 Apr]–smart contracts. These are built on blockchain that stores, verifies, and executes the terms of an agreement without a middleman. This is proving to be high value–Royal Bank of Scotland is building a distributed clearing house to speed cross-border payments based on Ethereum’s distributed ledger and smart contracts tech. 

The combination of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts could create the next unregulated startup funding vector, according to this article in Forbes. It would more closely resemble an IPO, but using currency tokens. Smart contracts can also assure startup investors that entrepreneurs will be accountable and that investment and loan agreements will be enforced. The nearly unregulated world of crowdfunding has been surprisingly lucrative, with $34 billion invested in 2015. However, startups going this route had a high failure rate, nearly 40 percent, and crowdfunding is now more frequently used to test concepts and cause fundraising. We’ll see if blockchain-enabled funding becomes the Next Big (Funding) Thing. Hat tip to fellow NY Financial Writers Association member Katherine Heires of Mediakat.

KOMPAÏ seeks €250,000 to develop next gen assistive robot (FR/EU)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Kompai-photo017B-low.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]KOMPAÏ, which has been developing assistive robots under that name for older and frail people with their caregivers since 2009 (Founder Steve saw the KOMPAÏ-1 in 2011), has spun off as an independent company after acquiring the IP from the developer ROBOSOFT. They are marketing the current KOMPAÏ-2 (see left) which has been on the market since early 2016 [TTA 24 Sept 15]. KOMPAÏ CEO and founder Vincent Dupourqué announced in their press release they are seeking €250,000 to fund the development of the KOMPAÏ-3 as a scalable physical and cognitive assistive robot, primarily for the assisted living/nursing home market. The new iteration will include improvements from technologies which were unavailable or unaffordable only two to three years ago: cloud computing, artificial intelligence, conversational agents, and affective computing. The KOMPAÏ-2 had a ‘face’ which was far more ‘reactive’ than the original and an overall friendlier look, and that would be expected to continue with improvements in the last area.

The KOMPAÏ company and funding is profiled on the European crowdfunding site Hoolders. Investors can join them for as little as €250. They are located on the Basque Coast of France in Bidart in the Izarbel Technopole (la Technopole d’ Izarbel). Website and KOMPAÏ-2 product flyer (English) Hat tip to Founder Steve Hards

Ebola and health tech: where it can help, where it failed (Updated)

 [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keep-calm-and-enter-at-own-risk-3.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Ignore the sign…come on in, we can be quarantined together! Everyone is on Ebola-overload, so we will keep it short and sweet. The Gimlet Eye (recovering after an argument with a box, see below) advises a calm, adult-beveraged, low-media weekend with Mantovani, Bert Kaempfert or Percy Faith on the stereo.

  • Yes, digital health is addressing the needs that Ebola screening and care are generating. MedCityNews spotlights Medizone International’s AsepticSure peroxide/ozone aerial mist sterilizer which was originally developed to kill MERS and MRSA in field hospitals, to be tested by Doctors Without Borders in a 40-bed unit. Startup AgileMD launched a free mobile app for clinicians containing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Ebola prevention treatment guidelines (for what anything from CDC is worth….) Text message alerts used first in Sierra Leone are being expanded to seven West African nations for use by the Red Cross and Red Crescent (also BBC News). Sanomedics International has the TouchFree InfraRed Thermometer which is being used at US airports which are screening for passengers originating in West Africa, and Noninvasive Medical Technologies is promoting their ZOE fluid status monitor because it applies electrical currents externally to determine hydration levels.
  • Even crowdfunding’s getting into the act. Researcher Erica Ollmann Saphire and her colleagues at Scripps Research Institute  (more…)

Faux Glass: not just a knockoff, but a sendup

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/gI_147093_Faux-Glasses-Sample-Picture-Spotlight-On.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Need to impress your Silicon Valley/Alley buds, but the exchequer is low? Didn’t get to be a Glass Explorer on the first round? Fret no more! Faux Glass is here. It’s missing a few things that Glass has–like a phone, photo/video camera, a GPS, internet search access smack in your eye–but does have a magnifier, a spotlight and eight LED indicator lights which light in sequence to a “crack me up” command, like Where the Faux (the product’s built in GPS to nowhere), Faux-to Shop (for fixing photos never taken), and What the Faux (for general searching). All on Indiegogo for $1,480 less than Glass! “They’re not fake anything; they’re real Faux” says Faux-In-Chief Robin Raskin (who’s also a tech journalist, author and founder of Living in Digital Times and FashionWare). The full court press on Faux Glass is of course leading up to International CES in January and their conferences including the Digital Health Summit. Ms Raskin through this also reminds us that crowdfunding and digital tech is not to be taken too seriously. PRWeb release. Website.

Of course there’s the possible faux that presents itself as seriously real, or what’s been dubbed ‘scampaigns’ on crowdfunding sites like…Indiegogo. (more…)

Rock Health opens new HQ to wonder, sums up 2013

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/RockHealth_Photo©BruceDamonte_02.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]As seems to be the way in the West Coast Digital Health scene, the opening of accelerator/funder Rock Health’s new HQ in the Mission Bay district of San Francisco gained more heavy-breathing hype than its mostly positive 2013 digital health investment report. The soireé during last week’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, glowingly reported in Xconomy with plenty of pics of the achingly trendy interior design and Health Digerati/D3Hers (Digital Health Hypester/Hipster Horde) at play also was a demo of a different type–how insular interests interlock and circle in Fog City. Star guest San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee spearheaded the remaking of the district into a life sciences/tech center; the Xconomy-moderated panel discussion paired him with Rock Health founder/CEO Halle Tecco and Alexandria Real Estate CEO Joel Marcus;  Alexandria underwrites Xconomy and has a huge investment in life sciences real estate; the new Rock Health HQ is on the ground floor of an Alexandria-owned building. Of course Mission Bay is now hyped as the ‘US Digital Health Hub’ for all those Rock Health-accelerated, funded startups. It does give one pause: how much of this is substance, or is it the peak of style before tipping into The Trough of Disillusionment? The tartest takedown on this is courtesy of Neil Versel’s Meaningful HIT News column. Pointed pokes abound: at Silicon Valley for its health tech failures (Google Health among them), the odd duplications (Google-funded telemedicine provider Doctor On Demand sounds like American Well, Ameridoc, etc.) and the even odder lack of considering integration with payer/provider systems and workflows.  Keep wasting your money, Silicon Valley venture capitalists (Note to Neil: the circular swings seem to be a feature of Alexandria’s properties–they’re present at Alexandria Center NYC too. Image © Bruce Damonte/Studios Architecture)

With that aside, the highlights of the Rock Health Digital Health Funding Year In Review were generally positive, but some of them, looked at critically, weren’t, even when depicted in attractive charts and graphs: (more…)

Owlet baby monitor sock exceeds funding goal

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Owlet-closeup-small.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]In late August, we followed up on the major league cute ‘n’ useful Owlet monitoring sock and its effort to self-fund development. It’s now exceeded its $100,000 crowdfunding goal at over $121,000 with 721 pledged supporters. Along with this of course is the obligation to deliver products in November. What this points to is the appeal of a product addressing the powerful concern of baby wellness and sleep–a ‘job to be done’–and that it can be done outside of the usual East/West Coast accelerator, cocktail party and D3H hype loop in decidedly unfashionable, abstemious Utah. Congratulations in order! Website/pledge tracker.

There’s a bit of a boomlet in baby monitoring products, with Mobihealthnews lining up the Rest Devices’ Mimo onesie plus ‘turtle’ monitor, Croatia’s iDerma Teddy the Guardian teddy bear [TTA 22 July], Pixie Scientific’s Smart Diapers which not only detects wetting but also UTIs or kidney problems and the simpler Huggies Tweet Pee that alerts to changing (and reminds to buy diapers) which is in test in Brazil but reportedly will launch this month. Baby showers and their concomitant oohing and aahhing will never be the same. 6 baby activity trackers announced this summer

‘To Read’ lists for the holiday weekend

With both Easter and Passover coinciding, your Editor’s final post for the week will be a compilation of lists which are poking up like crocuses this week. A happy holiday to our readers!

  • 10 High-Tech Gadgets to Help Grandma and Grandpa.  Andrew Carle (Director, Program in Assisted Living and Senior Housing, George Mason University) and his updated ‘nana tech’ list: GrandCare Systems, VTech, GreatCall featured. Ignore the condescending Forbes headline.
  • Five New Technologies from What’s Next Summit 2013. Laurie Orlov in Age In Place Tech looks at new entrants in the senior tech area such as CareMerge, CareSquared (virtual visits and information exchange between residents in communities and family) and SingFit (music).
  • 6 Companies Cashing in on Obamacare. Like most CNN Money headlines, it’s a writer’s stretch as none of them are cashing in quite yet–most are just past startup or early-stage and are still finding their hospital readmission, insurer, physician, individual insured and health exchange markets: GoHealth, Health Recovery Solutions, Eligible, QuantiaMD, Connecture and hCentive. Since costs will be going up on average 32 percent by 2017 for insurers in the individual market, according to the Society of Actuaries–only 6 percent today but expected to balloon as smaller companies abandon ever-costlier group plans–there is a huge future market in wringing out costs.
  • Which Emerging Markets Are Best Bets for Health Care Returns? If you had $1,000 to invest, what countries would be best? The answers will surprise you! From last month’s 2013 Wharton Health Care Conference.
  • Four Robots That Are Learning To Serve You. Your Friday Robot Fix courtesy of National Public Radio: FURo robot tour guide, Bestic eating assistant, EPFL’s amphibious ‘salamander’, mobility devices for smartphones including Botiful, Romo and SmartBot. For more on robots, quick search TTA.
  • Five Fallacies of Remote Patient Monitoring. Another list from David Lee Scher, MD which will disabuse many of their preconceptions.
  • Five mobile health projects on Indiegogo. For health tech eyeing crowdfunding, here’s a list from Mobihealthnews surveying Indiegogo, which permits but does not specialize in healthcare, unlike MedStartr and Health Tech Hatch, the latter buzzing in The Hive at TEDMED 2013 16-19 April. It also illustrates the drawbacks–for the hits such as Amiigo’s app/bracelet/shoe clip fitness system, there are others that do not make goal.
  • NEW 29 March  16 Billionaires Investing in mHealth Continues to Grow. David Doherty’s mHealth Insight roundup which includes the new $97 million fund started by two founders of RIM/BlackBerry, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin; unfortunately no phone numbers or emails!