Rock Health reveals 8 new startup investments

Steven Loeb · August 18, 2014 · Short URL:

Rock Health announces partnerships with Abbott, Blue Shield of California and Deloitte Consulting

(Updated with comment from Acumen)

Messing with someone's healthcare can be a scary proposition, especially if they are happy with the way things are. We've seen that in the response to the Affordable Care Act over the last few years. Yet most people seem to agree that healthcare in the United States needs some kind of  an upgrade. We've fallen behind many other countries, and its unacceptable.

Rock Health is a seed fund that invests in digital health startups in order to  help facilitate those advancements. Now the firm has added eight new companies to its portfolio, it was announced on Monday.

No specific investment numbers were disclosed by Rock Health; neither the amount put into each startup, nor the total amount invested. Chase Hensel, co-founder and CEO of Welkin Health told me that "the investment is the standard rock health agreement - a 100K convertible note," though it is unclear if the other companies received the same amount of funding. 

The companies that received the  investments are:

  • Accountable, an online platform that guides companies step-by-step through the process of becoming HIPAA compliant. A graduate of TechStars in 2013, the company has raised a total of $400,000.
  • Acumen, which is building a digital platform to allow doctors to evaluate and manage neurological disorders through analysis of patient video.
  • Aptible, which gives developers a secure deployment platform and tools to manage HIPAA compliance for web and mobile applications. Y Combinator has also backed Aptible, which launched publicly in August 2014. 
  • Benchling, which is a cloud-based data management and collaboration platform for life science R&D. The company has raised $900 in seed funding. 
  • TelePharm is a web and mobile app that provides efficient pharmacy care by allowing pharmacists and patients to connect online, anytime, anywhere. TelePharm recently closeda $2.5 million Series A from John Pappajohn and Bruce Rastetter.
  • Welkin Health, which offers daily support to patients with type-2 diabetes through a smartphone app.

The above six companies that Rock Health invested in have been made public, with the other two still in stealth mode, and thus remaining private. 

For Rock Health, investing in these companies, which is says are " tackling broad areas of healthcare," such as biotechnology, chronic disease, and healthcare regulation, is a sign that the future is bright for the future of the health-tech sector.

"We are thrilled by not only the sheer number of entrepreneurs building digital health companies, but also the incredible diversity of ideas," Rock Health wrote. "With these additions, we have a diverse and active portfolio of 55 digital health companies across the country."

And for the companies themselves, Rock Health remains a lifeline, and a source of great help as they try to scale.

"We are very excited to be a part of the Rock Health family. Being aligned with a leader in the healthcare startup arena will help us tremendously as we work with customers, partners, and investors," Kevin Henry, CEO of Accountable, told VatorNews. "Rock Health's support system has already proven incredibly valuable as we build a software platform to help other healthcare startup companies manage their HIPAA compliance."

"Rock Health's portfolio is like joining a family of entrepreneurs. It's energizing to be surrounded by so many talented, passionate, purpose-driven people," Jessica Owens, founder and CEO of Acumen told me.

"Rock Health has been a valuable resource for Welkin Health; their experience, expertise, and insight into healthcare is unparalleled," said Hensel. 

In addition to the new investments, Rock Health also announced three new partnerships, with global healthcare company Abbott, health insurance provider Blue Shield of California and management consulting firm Deloitte Consulting.

"We’ve partnered with three of the most forward-thinking stakeholders in the industry to provide our startups with access to their expertise and form early relationships," Rock Health wrote. "They span diverse sectors of healthcare and provide key support for the growth and sustainability of portfolio companies as well as supporting the mission of Rock Health as a whole."

Healthtech investments in 2014

Healthcare in this country is big business, and there are many startups aiming to tap into that.

In addition to the eight companies that Rock Health has now given funding, some other healthtech companies that raised funding this year include: digital therapeutics company Omada Health, which raised $23 million in a Series B round; Augmedix, a Google Glass powered e-health service, raised $3.2 million; Zephyr Health, a big data analytics company for the health sector, raised $15 million; Grand Rounds, a directory for the nation’s top doctors, raised $40 million; Doctor On Demand, a healthcare service that provides video visits with board-certified physicians on a patient's smartphone, raised $21 million; Acupera, a provider of population health and workflow technology for health systems, raised $4 million; and Doximity network allows physicians to share information with each other, raised $54 million.

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