June 14, 2017

Five Winners and Five Standouts – PULSE @ MassChallenge Finale Recap

PULSE @ MassChallenge was formed in July of 2016 and is the most recent off-shoot of one of the Bay State’s startup accelerators. PULSE is a “digital health lab” and has a focus on healthcare technology. Over the course of the year, PULSE has welcomed 31 unique digital health companies into its program. Certain companies utilize the ever-popular virtual reality platform; some try to help families find the best caregivers for the elderly loved ones; and some would just make 

On June 13, 2017, the Wilbur Theater was the venue for the inaugural end-of-the-season awards show. Nearly 600 people showed up to see which five of the early-stage startups would be awarded with a sum of money; the combined total was a little over $200k.

Prior to the awards ceremony, I had a chance to go onto the show floor in front of the stage.

PULSE @ MassChallenge Show Floor

After getting a look at a few of the companies up-close, there were a few that stood out to me personally. Whether it was their message, service or product, I decided to compile them into a list below.

Hey, Charlie
For those going to rehab and just trying to stay sober, there can be rapid changes in behavior. Hey, Charlie is a platform designed for former opioid addicts to help them manage their behavior when going through the rehabilitation process. Their message of trying to help those who need it struck a chord with me.

Neuroelectrics Corporation
Neuroeletrics is a startup working in an already complex field; brain diseases. The company has developed a product in where the patient wears a device on their head and it detects brain diseases in a more efficient manner. At their booth, they actually had a live demonstration of their product.

Remedy Labs
Going to a hospital or medical center and receiving unwanted charges is something no one wants. Remedy Labs offers patients and clients a platform which corrects any unnecessary and fraudulent charges, while trying to offer financial advice surrounding medical expenses. Remedy Labs has received mainstream news coverage from outlets such as CNN.

TORq Interface
TORq Interface is designed for medical device representatives who are working in the operating room. The interface captures data in how device reps and hospitals use the equipment and how the two parties can leverage the FHIR API. Many of TORq’s end users are local hospitals, including Brigham & Women’s and Lowell General Hospital.

VRPhysio was one of the many health/VR companies at the PULSE Finale. VRPhysio uses VR headsets and controllers to measure a person’s movements on their own platform, and even guests could test out their product with a video game-like demo. The goal is for patients in physical therapy to use the VR headset at home without having to go to a physical therapist’s clinic.

Nick Dougherty, the Program Director for PULSE, was there to host the event and helped present the awards. Below is a list of the winners and who was introducing the awards. To start the ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker addressed the crowd about the new initiative to boost the digital health sector in Boston. Throughout the night, Jorge Cruz of Videology presented a three-part documentary in-between awards where he was able to show certain personalities within the program, including what some of the struggles the men and women face when going into the beginning stage of forming a startup.

Nick Dougherty, Program Director at PULSE @ MassChallenge
Nick Dougherty, Program Director at PULSE @ MassChallenge, waves to the crowd.

The Sunovion Startup’s Choice Award – 3Derm
Presented by Christina Foster, Head of Business Development & Alliance Management at Sunovion

3Derm is changing the way dermatologists examine skin conditions. The company has developed a device that utilizes state-of-the-art microscope technology to get closer to a patient's skin.

PULSE Gold Award ($40k) – Rendever
Presented by Julia Jackson, Managing Director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and Nigel Smith, Hatchery Director at AARP

Rendever is another VR-based company, but the startup is using the tech to help improve the cognitive abilities in senior citizens.

PULSE Platinum Award ($60k) – Twiage
Presented by Tim Connelly, Executive Director & CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and Bev Hardy, Innovation Strategy Manager at Brigham Innovation Hub at Brigham & Women's Hospital

Twiage is a digital communications platform which connects patients, and doctors, to the nearest EMS and EMTs for a variety of fatal situations.

MACP People’s Choice Award –
Presented by Dan O'Connell, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership is a "social network" of caregivers, where the users can coordinate times and places of where to care for patients.

PULSE Diamond Award ($100k) – Sync-Think, Inc.
Presented by Jeff Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Through mobile eye-tracking analysis, Sync-Think has made a platform for doctors to assess how dangerous a patient's concussion can be or they can use it to monitor brain activity.

At the end of the show, Dougherty announced the applications for the 2018 season start on August 8th of this year.

Colin Barry is a contributor to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash.