Category Archives: Health

Two Startups Bringing Health Innovation to Vulnerable Communities



Because of the nature of the work we do at StartUp Health, we’re often dealing with bleeding-edge ideas and technologies. Just last week on the show we talked to a founder creating what could be the smallest implantable devices on the market. Others are working on molecules that could cure diseases.

But there’s another kind of innovation that we’re equally passionate about at StartUp Health. That’s the kind of business model innovation that brings the best care and technology already available to new places and new people. There are many vulnerable communities that don’t get to benefit from the latest technical advances and it takes creative founders to bridge the gap.

Today on the podcast we’re highlighting two such founders. The first is Shruti Gurudanti, the CEO & Co-founder of Televëda – a member of the StartUp Health community since 2021. Gurudanti and her team are working with Native American veterans with the goal of lowering rates of suicide and suicidal ideation. They’ve got a tech platform that enables community building and telemedicine-style services, but what Gurudanti has found is that sometimes the most meaningful change is something basic: building trust with communities, particularly those long ignored.

After the conversation with Gurudanti we’ll hear from Kehlin Swain, CEO & Co-founder of Greens by Xplosion Technology, a member of the StartUp Health T1D Moonshot Community. Greens is an app designed to help vulnerable communities – particularly Black and Brown communities in the American South – manage diabetes in a culturally competent way. The app is called “Greens” in honor of one of the biggest cultural disconnects a family member faced as he navigated changing his diet after a diabetes diagnosis.

The common thread between Gurudanti and Swain is using the best tech of today to meet people where they are and to really understand what’s holding them back. Sometimes it’s something basic, like improving internet access or tech literacy, or bringing basic accountability to disease management.

Let’s get into the interviews, recorded live at a recent health tech conference.

 



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Qura’s Tiny Implantables Could Revolutionize How We Treat Hypertension



When it comes to health technology, often the next big thing is really, really small.

Our guest on the show this week, Dr. Will Hendren, has seen personally that when it comes to implanting a medical device in the body, size matters.

Dr. Hendren spent decades as a surgeon working with rescue devices like pacemakers, which themselves have evolved from being the size of a pack of cigarettes to being smaller than a triple A battery. It doesn’t take a degree in biomechanical engineering to appreciate that you want a lower profile machine sitting next to your heart.

Now, with his company Qura – a member of the StartUp Health community since 2016 – Dr. Hendren is taking that concept to the next level. He and his team are the leading edge of miniaturizing medical devices to such an extreme degree that it opens up a whole new market for remote patient monitoring.

In our interview we’ll talk about how Dr. Hendren and his team have built an implantable the size of a vitamin that can take blood pressure readings passively and transmit that information to the patient and their caregiver wirelessly. We’ll talk about some of the tiny tech that it was necessary to invent in order to make this breakthrough possible, and we’ll talk about how remote monitoring at scale could be a gamechanger for hypertension and heart disease, which are two of the top causes of death globally.

Let’s get into it!


Innovating in Alzheimer’s disease? Learn how you can join our Alzheimer’s Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? Learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.

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Collaborative Innovation Within Health Systems: Wisdom From an EVP & Chief Digital Officer



At StartUp Health, we get the pleasure of talking with many, many founders of healthcare startups. It’s a perk of the job, because each founder, each new idea, inspires us and gives us hope that we’re on the cusp of some major breakthroughs.

Then reality sets in, and we’re reminded just how hard it is to go from an idea – even a brilliant one with validation – to commercialization and broad use. It’s one thing for a founder to find a single clinic to use their platform or device, but a common question is: How do you get your startup adopted at a large hospital, or better yet, a hospital system? Do you just call up the Chief Digital Officer, or Chief Innovation Officer, and they’ll get it sorted?

Not exactly, according to our guest today. For one thing, the role of hospital’s Chief Digital Officer has changed dramatically.

Sara Vaezy is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer for Providence, where she is responsible for system strategy and digital innovation for the integrated delivery network (IDN), which includes 52 hospitals and 1,085 clinics and serves over 5 million unique patients.

So, how can a startup work with a hospital system effectively? What do hospitals look for in a startup and what are some of the red flags for a project that’s going nowhere? And what are the greatest pain points for which hospitals are actively seeking solutions?

To answer these questions, we invited Vaezy onto a Masterclass, which are virtual sessions we hold in front of a live audience of founders from the StartUp Health community. We’ve cut the session down to share the highlights with you, and we’ve included some of the founder questions from the Q&A as well, since they are very practical and relevant.

Let’s dive in!


Innovating in Alzheimer’s disease? Learn how you can join our Alzheimer’s Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? Learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.

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Phyllis Ferrell Named Chief Impact Officer for StartUp Health’s Alzheimer’s Moonshot



In January, StartUp Health launched the Alzheimer’s Moonshot with support from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and Gates Ventures. The Alzheimer’s Moonshot is an invitation to Health Transformers, Alzheimer’s funders, foundations, advocates, and innovators, as well as leading startups and research teams, to unite in pioneering comprehensive, collaborative approaches to Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Moonshot Community is powered by StartUp Health and our Health Transformer University, an entrepreneurial mastery program and lifelong learning community for ambitious founders and funders who are solving the biggest health challenges of our time.

That brings us to our podcast guest this week. Phyllis Ferrell, DrPH, will serve as the Chief Impact Officer of the Alzheimer’s Moonshot and lead its Impact Board. Ferrell has three decades of related experience, most recently serving as the Global Head of Alzheimer’s and Neurodegeneration at Eli Lilly and Strategic Advisor to the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative. The Alzheimer’s Moonshot Impact Board will also include representatives from the ADDF, Gates Ventures, and a diverse group of stakeholders from industry, clinical medicine, academia, investment and patient and caregiver communities.

As we will discuss in the episode, shortly after Ferrell transferred from a marketing and sales role at Lilly to leading their Alzheimer’s division, her father was diagnosed with the devastating disease. She threw herself into the work and eventually became a leading voice in Alzheimer’s research and drug development. She’s served as a strategic advisor to multiple high-profile Alzheimer’s organizations, and now she’s marshaling her experience to lead StartUp Health’s Alzheimer’s Moonshot. We caught up with her to get a better understanding of where she sees this initiative going and why this is such a unique moment in time for Alzheimer’s innovation.

Enjoy the episode and then learn more about StartUp Health’s Alzheimer’s Moonshot at startuphealth.com/alzheimers.


Innovating in Alzheimer’s disease? Learn how you can join our Alzheimer’s Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? Learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.

Want more content like this? Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

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Mission Aligned: Helmsley Charitable Trust and StartUp Health on T1D Moonshot



Welcome back to StartUp Health NOW, the podcast where we hear directly from the entrepreneurs and innovators who are transforming health.

Typically on this show we talk to founders of startups. We’re all about understanding what’s new and next in health, and that often means talking to the people who are in the early days of creating a product or business. Most early-stage startups – healthcare or otherwise – have one thing in common. They need money. It takes a long time to get a healthcare business profitable, and so founders need outside funds to get an idea off the ground, complete their research, or scale up.

That brings us to this week’s guest, David Panzirer, Trustee at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. To put it in simple startup terms, David is a funder. The Helmsley Charitable Trust is an $8 billion dollar philanthropy renowned for its work funding healthcare research and innovative programs.

Of course David’s a lot more than a funder. He’s a father, for one thing, a fact that’s driven his work more than anything else. David’s also a firebrand and an instigator in an industry that often needs a little push in the right direction.

The reason for our interview, which took place at a recent health tech event, is that the Helmsley Charitable Trust has been the anchor partner for StartUp Health’s Type 1 Diabetes Moonshot, and David has been instrumental in getting that effort off the ground. He’s been part of our T1D Impact Board and has met with founders on multiple occasions to give them invaluable feedback and advice.

In this episode, we talk about the wild west of conversational AI, promising new T1D therapeutics, rural medicine, and why Helmsley has positioned itself as a high risk/high reward funder.

Let’s get into it.



Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? Contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.
Innovating in Alzheimer’s disease? Contact us to learn how you can join our Alzheimer’s Moonshot.

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Gamification in Healthcare: How Two Founders Are Using Games to Heal



This week, we’re talking about gamification in healthcare. Gamification has been a popular buzzword in tech and in health, but it just means using elements we associate with games in non-game contexts. It means capitalizing on the motivations we find in games through things like progress updates and level-up badges to change behaviors and get us to do things that are going to be good for our health.

Today on the show, we’re talking to two founders who are gamifying the healthcare experience in two unique ways.

The first conversation is with Raj Amin, CEO & Co-founder of Arcade Therapeutics, a company that has been in the StartUp Health community since TK. They are a science-first game studio developing games that act like medicine, focusing on mental health. We’ll hear exactly what they’re building and why clinical research is key to their approach.

Then we’ll hear from Farhaneh Ahmadi, PhD, CEO & Co-founder of eddii, a company that is part of our T1D Moonshot. She and her team are using mobile gaming elements to help young people with their Type 1 diabetes management. Her company uses a character named eddii that talks to the user, tells them stories, and plays games with them – making it more relatable and more enjoyable to manage diabetes.

Listen in to learn more about these innovative approaches to improving health.

 


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Innovating in Alzheimer’s disease? Contact us to learn how you can join our Alzheimer’s Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? Contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.
Looking to break down health barriers? Contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot
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Why the CEO of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Joined StartUp Health’s Health Moonshot Impact Board



Since 2020, Charles “Chuck” Henderson has led the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as CEO. In 2023, he joined StartUp Health’s Health Moonshot Impact Board, a unique, multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders passionate about advancing health innovation. On the Health Moonshot Impact Board, Henderson joins top thought leaders like Dr. Toby Cosgrove (former CEO, Cleveland Clinic) and Sue Siegel (former CEO, GE Ventures).

In this StartUp Health NOW episode, StartUp Health’s Logan Plaster sat down with Henderson to learn about his priorities in leading the ADA and why it was important to him to join StartUp Health’s moonshot community.


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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


No More Suffering in Silence: Meet Two Founders Tackling Gut Health



On this week’s StartUp Health NOW episode, we’re talking about the future of gut health with Jeff Glueck, CEO & Co-founder of Salvo Health, and Swathi Arulguppe, CEO & Founder at BetterMeal AI.

There’s no doubt gut health is having a moment.

For a long time, health issues in the gut, like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, were met with outdated pamphlets about diets. The result was millions of people suffering in silence with painful, life-limiting conditions.

It’s not that GI doctors didn’t want to help. There just didn’t seem to be a lot that they could do.

Thankfully our understanding of the importance of gut health – and its connection to mental health and whole health – has resulted in a wave of innovation. And on this podcast episode, we’ll talk to some amazing entrepreneurs working to break this cycle and bring relief to patients.

Our first guest, Jeff Glueck was the CEO of Foursquare before he co-founded Salvo Health. He’s taking on gut health from two innovative angles.

The first is through the establishment of a digital clinic which makes specialty GI care available to patients at scale and on demand. Second, Glueck and his team are capitalizing on the latest research connecting gut health to mental health and other conditions. This connection between the gut microbiome and whole health is just exploding and Salvo is helping patients stay on the cutting edge.

Then we’ll check in with Swathi Arulguppe, CEO & Founder of BetterMeal AI.

You’ll hear how Arulguppe has taken her own journey with a debilitating GI condition, combined it with her passion for data, and built a platform for helping deliver AI-driven personalized meal recommendations to patients. By understanding the biological connections between human gut and food at the deepest level, she has built an app that helps guide its users on how to best manage their gut health through their nutrition.

Let’s jump in and find out where we are in gut health innovation.

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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


10 Years Later: A Health Tech Investor Reflects on Her Early Days at StartUp Health



Ten years ago, Irem Rami became one of the first Fellows to join StartUp Health. In her role she helped vet the very first companies to join our community. That was back when it seemed very audacious indeed to have a goal of supporting 1000 healthcare startups. A few years later and we’ve now welcomed 500 startups into the community and are still going strong. In that time Rami moved on, went to business school, and is now a principle health investor at Norwest, a $3B multi-stage fund.

We called up Rami up for this StartUp Health NOW podcast episode to give us that decade look back – you know, it’s hard to understand where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. She’s got a unique perspective on the durability of the StartUp Health vision and what it means to chase the same seemingly impossible dream for more than 10 years.

We also wanted to hear Rami’s advice for health innovators seeking to raise funds in this difficult market. She evaluates opportunities on a daily basis and had some sage advice to share for our listeners.

Enjoy the episode.

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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


How Two Founders Are Using AI to Tackle Wasteful Healthcare Spending



On this StartUp Health NOW episode, we’re talking about wasteful spending in healthcare. This is one of those topics that’s hard to put in perspective. The institute of medicine says that 30% of healthcare spending could be categorized as wasteful, putting the total tab north of $750 million. It could be a trillion dollars.

Health insurance premiums are up 7% year over year, according to Health Affairs. Analysts point to inflation as a strong cause, but this nearly trillion dollars in unnecessary spending isn’t helping the equation.

Bottom line, healthcare costs are out of control and driving many people into medical bankruptcy. If 30% of healthcare spending is unnecessary, we’ve got to get this under control. Thankfully, we’ve got founders in the StartUp Health community who are passionate about this issue.

Jude Odu, CEO & Founder of Health Cost IQ, and Pinaki Dasgupta, CEO & Founder of Hindsait, will help us understand what constitutes wasteful spending and how advances in AI allow us to root it out at the source.

This is the kind of innovation that takes some courage, because pointing out to a hospital that they’re double billing or telling an insurer that they’re making massive errors doesn’t make you popular with either party. But it’s got to be done if we’re going to get overall health costs under control.

Enjoy the episode.

FundersBecome a Health Moonshot Champion
Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.