Algorithm, Inc. recently marked its first year. One year in a start up, coming up to two years since I left the (relative) security of corporate employment. There are a lot of things I pay attention to these days that I didn’t back then, professionally speaking. One of those things is other startups and the state of funding in IT and healthcare in particular. I subscribe to several channels through Twitter and LinkedIn on these topics (free content – in a startup anything with the word free at the front receives serious consideration). Whilst scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day it occurred to me that if you dropped in to this particular corner of the business world from another planet via social media you might conclude that “start ups” are organisms that exist to raise money from “VCs”. What the startup does is often given secondary importance to the “how much” and “from whom”. Yet some of these fledgling companies are doing things that are (to me) genuinely interesting, and many are going to add real value to society. Here are a few I think you should check out, one of which you can fund on Kickstarter and another that is its own crowd funding platform. Only one is a non-profit, there is nothing wrong for me in making money, but the journey and the end goal of the business are what interest me; capital is the fuel for that journey.
The Kanega watch is a medical device that doesn’t look like one – a way for seniors to maintain independence without sacrificing their privacy or dignity – medication reminders, emergency assistance, fall detection, voice controlled and not tethered to a (expensive and complex) smartphone. Go check out their Kickstarter campaign.
One of those ideas that just immediately stands out as both clever and valuable. Meals for cancer patients designed around their dietary needs, machines in hospitals to supply directly, and an online portal that allows friends and family to donate to the patient’s account rather than provide them directly with food they often cannot eat (I call this crowd feeding but Hippo kitchen are yet to take up my innovative and free branding idea).
Each of us needs to take responsibility for our health. That doesn’t just mean diet and exercise but also in dealing with the medical caregivers that treat us and support us. ProPatient take that idea of patient empowerment and run with it, with virtual guides, coaching and mobile applications.
The HeadsUp headband is a head acceleration monitor to allow sports coaching teams to detect concussions as they happen. Initially being developed for women’s soccer, this could likely have many more applications. Aside from addressing a serious issue in impact sports, the team have put a ton of work into getting the design and performance aspects right.
Everyone deserves healthcare. At the risk of getting into politics, I agree. Watsi was the first non-profit member of the Y-Combinator accelerator. They use crowd funding to give us all a way to directly help someone receive healthcare and keep track of how the patient that we helped is doing. Notably they have a transparency document designed to help donors feel comfortable that their money is getting to where it does most good, including screen shots of their bank accounts. Check them out.