That’s where we’re at now, thanks to investors who have reached into their pocketbooks to fund a pool of emerging digital health companies.
Granted, there’s a lot of noise in this market, especially among mobile health apps, and there are a few challenging barriers to adoption. But there are also some companies doing really interesting work with some high-powered partners and investors.
We’ll be watching these companies closely over the next several months. Share other up and coming companies you think we should all be watching in the comments.
PUSH Wellness. Unlike many corporate wellness programs that incentivize participation, PUSH has companies designate dollars to be dealt out to employees as monthly cash rewards for achieving measurable improvements to their health. It also sends employees targeted messages to help them improve their PUSH score — a proprietary health score based on biometrics — and earn more dollars.
Zeo. Founded by a group of sleep-deprived Brown University students, Zeo makes a system (available in a bedside or mobile-compatible version) that helps people manage and improve their sleep quality and quantity. Users wear a headband that measures brainwaves to determine what sleep stage they are in, which triggers an alarm to wake them up at the optimum time. The system also collects and organizes sleep data, which enables a user to see relationships between lifestyle and sleep quality.
Reviews of the product reveal that it could use some tweaking, but it seems to be an accessible, consumer-friendly way to address a problem that many people wouldn’t likely address otherwise. The company has gotten the attention of some high-profile investors that include Trident Capital, Best Buy Capital, iD Ventures America, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. and numerous angel investors.
FitOrbit. Launched in 2009 by Jake Steinfeld (aka the “Body by Jake” guy), this company’s first product, FitOrbit, is a Web and mobile platform that matches customers with a personal trainer who will develop personalized meal and fitness plans for them and provide virtual support. The platform includes tracking and progress monitoring capabilities along with access to a few other features.
Although it removes the face-to-face element of personal training that many people struggling to lose weight need, it costs significantly less ($40 per month) and allows 24/7 access to trainers. Perhaps the most interesting thing about FitOrbit is the list of heavy hitters supporting it. Early investors include angel investor Ron Conway, AOL President and CEO Tim Armstrong, Spark Capital, Polar Capital and WellPoint Inc.
Meddik. Aiming to streamline the way the general public gets health information online, this platform asks users to input information about themselves, their symptoms and their medical conditions (if known), which it uses to build a network of people with similar conditions and symptoms. It customizes the user’s page to deliver news, crowdsourced content and discussions that similar users found helpful.
Meddik recently graduated the Blueprint Health accelerator program and closed a $750,000 seed round with investments from Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Silicon Badia and five angel investors.
BitGym. Lots of companies are working in the health gaming space; this one aims to use existing devices to make going to the gym more fun. Through a partnership with Virtual Active, BitGym created an app for the iPhone and iPad that, when the device is set on the magazine rack of an exercise bike or elliptical machine, places users in a virtual world. Existing technology on the devices picks up vibrations in the exercise machine to determine the user’s speed in the game and steering is controlled by the device’s camera, which picks up small head movements.
This one is a relatively young company, having graduated from the Rock Health accelerator last year. It hasn’t disclosed any investors but is reportedly in talks with two major fitness industry players for collaborations.