Dapper in Halloween colors, Bob Saunders chairman of XLerateHealth, opened the Demo Day for the first cohort at XLerateHealth.
(Saunders later explained when they picked the colors for the XLerateHealth logo – orange and black – they weren’t thinking about the fact Demo Day would be the day before Halloween).
The event was held in the auditorium of the new Nucleus Building at 300 E. Market St. There were more people than seats at this event – attendees were a veritable who’s who of Louisville’s tech, entrepreneurship and investment communities.
Zach Pennington, CEO of US Chia and a director at XLerateHealth, emceed the event.
Six companies demoed their companies to the packed house:
• Angus Mclachlan presented Liberate Medical.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmanary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. It causes severe shortness of breath. Early stages are treated with an inhaler, but late stages require oxygen therapy.
Hyperinflation occurs when a COPD sufferer takes a breath before exhaling the previous breath. This causes shortness of breath and chronic hyperinflation leads to activity abstinence, physical deconditioning and eventually can lead to social isolation and depression and increased hospitalization
Liberate Medical has created a device called Second Breath. It is a belt COPD sufferers can wear under their clothes that provides an electrical stimulation every time the wearer breathes out. Second Breath has produced a 45 percent reduction of breathlessness in wearers. One customer even said: “I feel like I don’t even have COPD any more.”
The device costs $500, and the wearer will also spend around $450 a year in disposables to maintain it. Liberate Medical plans to bring it to market in 2016.
• John Cullen presented LockupLead.
LockupLead is helping families and communities mitigate toxic lead exposure. Lead exposure is pervasive across the world and humans have one hundred times more lead in their bodies than is naturally occurring. Lead comes from exhaust and industry and is also present in house paint and in the soil. We know lead poisoning can lead to violent aggressive behavior, memory loss and ADHD.
LockupLead is a foam that turns lead into something that cannot be absorbed by the body.
The LockupLead team worked together with a West End community group to detox 55 vacant properties in Louisville. Cullen said the cost of mitigation by LockupLead is approximately four percent that of other mitigation methods.
• Jan Sevcik presented Medical Search Technologies.
Sevcik says eighty percent of medical data is unstructured. Medical Search Technologies has created a text mining algorithm to convert unstructured to structured data using Semantic Search. This technology can search biomedical journals, EMR’s, FDA drug labels and patient forums.
Potential customers include biotech and pharma, payers and providers. The revenue model includes an upfront licensing fee and recurring monthly fees.
• Garrett Flanagan presented CredentialedCARE.
CredentialedCARE booth is a hiring solution for the long term care industry. Long term care is an industry where hiring is especially challenging. You’re hiring people for “low wage position to deal with the most vulnerable people,” says Flanagan. The long term care industry is a bit of a hiring “revolving door.”
CredentialedCARE will pre-qualify workers with background checks. It will also provide an “on demand” care service, where workers are able to respond with a moment’s notice.
Workers can register for the service for free or become “certified” with a background check for $40. Since the site has been up, says Flanagan, seven percent of the people who have come to the site have applied and a quarter of those have paid to be “certified.”
• Tao Le presented Medsparq.
Le calls Medsparq the “Open Table of patient scheduling.” It is a patient scheduling program for small hospital systems. Doctors still call doctors to schedule follow-up appointments or specialist appointments for their patients. Many medical office workers say they spend one-third of their time on the phone scheduling appointments.
Medsparq is a cloud-based system which coordinates patient care and is both hospital-facing and patient-facing. The company signed Hardin Memorial Health in Elizabethtown, Ky. in the past week.
• Chris Kincade presented GoodMedicine.
GoodMedicine is an interactive media network where consumers can obtain pertinent information on a number of chronic conditions. The platform aggregates information from bloggers, mainstream media and journals to allow people with chronic health conditions to have access to the best and newest data about their health. Bloggers are vetted and can earn revenue from their posts.
Kincade compared this collaborative blog system to SBNation which aggregates 310 blogs and whose valuation is around $140 million.
Saunders, Mark Crane and Mayor Greg Fischer addressed the crowd. Crane and Saunders gave a little history of the program and explained the program’s Lean philosophy.
Saunders said the mission of all accelerators is to help young startups swiftly move through the commercialization process.
While XLerateHealth is brand new, he says, no health care accelerators are more than 2.5 years old. When he, Ted Smith and Bobby Ferreri, the founders of XLerateHealth, were putting the organization together, they realized there were healthcare accelerators in the Midsouth. Saunders said this was criminal considering the number of healthcare businesses that have come out of Louisville.
Saunders introduced the funding partners the Cabinet for Economic Development for Kentucky, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, Metro Government of Louisville, Louisville Downtown Development Partnership and ID+A.
Mark Crane, chief development officer at MD2U, co-founder and board member at Velocity and all-around entrepreneur, spoke to the crowd about Lean Startup philosophy.
Crane was one of nine Louisvillians who recently attended Steve Blank’s Lean training sessions in California. He said, “Lean Startup is a philosophy of being extremely fast, capital efficient, customer focused.”
The most important variable in Lean Startup is the “product-market fit,” says Crane. Blank is adamant that founders have to get out of the building and get face-to-face with their customers.
Crane says he sat in a Steve Blank class, and Blank threatened to toss a kid out of class for conducting customer discovery via the phone.
One of the things that makes healthcare companies so complicated to get up and running is the many different types of customers for a healthcare company. Customers can include: patients, physicians, payers… and you must find a product-market fit for each of these customer segments, says Crane.
Each of the demo companies’ representatives stressed the number of customer discovery interviews they performed during the 100 day accelerator program. Numbers ran from around 40 to more than 100.
At the event, Saunders also paid tribute to George Emont, who passed away suddenly in September.
Emont was managing partner of Triathlon Medical Ventures, one of XLerateHealth’s venture partners. Other venture partners include Chrysalis, OCA Ventures, Tristar Technology Venture and River City Capital Funds.