A Shark Tank-style competition in Toronto in May will see health care start-ups vying for $20K from wealthy venture capitalists at HealthKick 2015.
With $20K in funding from some of the wealthiest venture capitalists in Canada and the US at stake, it’s no wonder that 39 of Canada’s top early-stage health care ventures are charging their styli (aka sharpening their pencils) and heading to MaRS HealthKick 2015.
The gathering is touted as Canada’s largest showcase of health startups and will feature 39 of Canada’s top early-stage health care ventures covering all sectors of the health industry, including medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and health information technology.
A nine-minute pitch
These ventures will showcase their businesses to a 300-person audience of leading Canadian and U.S. venture capitalists, investors, entrepreneurs and industry partners.
The rationale behind the competition?
Celebrating and encouraging innovation.
Technology startups are at the vanguard of the disruption in health care. As we all know, inventive entrepreneurs are delivering services that give citizens access to their health records, and designing devices and platforms that enable people to manage their own treatments.
No wonder the theme of MaRS HealthKick 2015 is Patient Empowerment.
It is a carefully curated program that brings the best startups in this country to the most discriminating investors. After the huge success of last year’s inaugural showcase, HealthKick saw an increase in the number of entries from other provinces - Dr. Zayna Khayat, lead of MaRS Health and Director of MaRS EXCITE.
Almost a third of the 39 companies selected to compete in the Shark Tank-style competition work in the area patient empowerment, which is also the theme of this year’s showcase.
The demand by consumers for patient self-care is driving a new generation of innovative technologies, MaRS HealthKick 2015 said in a news release.
A sampling of competitors
- Although not all of the companies vying for the $20K can be classified as digital health startups, many are, including Cogniciti, a novel diagnostic tool that offers a scientifically and clinically validated website to self-assess brain health. I particularly like the tagline on their home page. “Finding it more difficult to remember faces, names, and dates? Wondering "Is my memory normal or should I see my doctor?" Hello. Where do I sign up? The company promises a “science-based brain health score and a personalized plan for what to do next.”
- Then there’s the disruptive innovation Medella Health, a smart contact lens that continuously measures glucose levels. “We make diabetes management seamless,” boasts their tagline.
- For big data lovers, there’s Infonaut, a health informatics and performance management company that takes infection prevention and control to a whole new level. “We use big data and advanced analytics to predict risk and behaviours that improve patient safety,” says the company’s online profile.
- Aprilage gives the words “reality check” a whole new meaning by providing “Face Aging Software to motivate people to change lifestyle behaviours leading to chronic diseases.” The software shows patients how smoking, obesity and sun damage, for example, affect their aging from the present to age 72.
- Evolution Health Systems helps pharmaceutical companies expose barriers to the prescription of and adherence to taking medication. “We data mine the risk factors for each indication and formulation so we can design solutions that have the highest impact, whether text messaging with live support, brief interventions, or expert-moderated online communities.”
The relationship between citizens and health providers is evolving. The era of passive consumers of health services has been overtaken by a new paradigm of people-powered healthcare.- Dr. Zayna Khayat, lead of MaRS Health and Director of MaRS EXCITE.
Last year’s HealthKick winners were:
"PlantForm is commercializing a low-cost, plant-based manufacturing platform for the production of drugs to help make biologic drugs affordable and more accessible to patients. The technology is geared to produce a wide range of biopharmaceutical products, including monoclonal antibodies, protein drugs and vaccines — both innovator and biosimilar."
"Profound Medical Inc. is commercializing a medical device that integrates the state-of-the-art sophistication of MR image guidance with the power and accuracy of ultrasound ablation. The non-invasion approach provides for a safe, accurate and precise treamtent for localized prostate cancer."
"Newtopia is a personalized health company leveraging personal genetics and the latest engagement science to inspire at-risk individuals to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Newtopia’s patented enterprise health engagement platform combines a mobile interaction online dashboard with personality-matched coaching and genetically tailored health products to keep clients motivated and on track."
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