By Kristi Walthall, Strategy Project Manager at Techstars
Consumers and businesses are focusing on innovative solutions to their health and wellness needs more than ever before. Long before the current attention-grabbing crisis, Techstars and its portfolio companies were developing solutions for this industry. Learn more about some of our successful companies, partners, and accelerators working in direct-to-consumer healthcare, home fitness, mental health, wearables, and more.
Personal health and wellness is top of mind - now more than ever before. Unfortunately, nothing brings the health and wellness industry to our collective attention quite like a global pandemic. In the wake of COVID-19, this industry will take on new dimensions as consumers focus on behaviors related to fitness, nutrition, safety, and disease transmission prevention.
According to Pitchbook, the gradual adoption of health and wellness-focused initiatives among consumers is, “driving significant VC activity for new startups seeking to address this burgeoning industry.” Now more than ever, consumers are empowered and willing to take charge of their own health and wellness, motivated by a desire to become more informed about how to achieve their best results.
At Techstars, we continue to accelerate and invest in startups in the health and wellness space so they can make an impact and achieve their dreams sooner. To date, our portfolio maintains more than 240 health and wellness-related startups and we’re proud to boast over 1800 active investors, mentors, and partners in our health and wellness network. Here are a few trends and company spotlights across our portfolio.
The ability to assess, diagnose, treat, and prescribe patients remotely gave rise to the current era of direct-to-consumer healthcare. As COVID-19 spreads the world, B2B and B2C customers are likely to turn more to these solutions. Portfolio spotlights:
Zipline Techstars Seattle, 2011 Zipline is creating a highly automated drone network to shuttle blood and pharmaceuticals to remote locations in hours rather than weeks or months. Starting in Rwanda, the company will deliver blood and medicine to rural locations over the western half of the country.
Pillpack Techstars Boston, 2013 PillPack is an online pharmacy that delivers better care through simple packaging, modern technology, and personalized service. You get the meds you need, pharmacy support day or night, automatic refills before you need them — all delivered free right to your doorstep.
Goodbye gyms (for now). Over the past few week’s, we’ve witnessed our favorite fitness classes quickly moving to the comforts of our home. However, many consumers still desire a sense of community during their workout routine. Fitness companies are using artificial intelligence to do things like providing virtual trainers and creating community via digital spaces. Portfolio and partner spotlights:
FIXHealth MetLife Digital Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, 2018 An incremental behavior change engine that solves a variety of your engagement problems across multiple health verticals. THE OUTBREAK (https://outbreakchallenge.com) is a team-based fitness challenge that uses your real-world user activity to survive a virtual zombie outbreak.
ClassPass Techstars New York City, 2012 ClassPass is a monthly membership to over 30,000 fitness studios and gyms around the world. From bootcamps to yoga, you can find any of the studio, live, or on-demand workouts you’re looking for in one app.
Peloton Techstars Music partner Whether you use the Bike, Tread, or App, Peloton is your pass to classes that range in length and intensity level. You'll ride, run, flex and tone, and keep coming back for more. As daily routines evolve, Peloton keeps you active from the comforts of home.
Techstars takes the mental health of all people in our network seriously - especially our founders. At the same time, you might have noticed that meditation and mindfulness have gone mainstream? It’s safe to say this focus on one’s psychological well being isn’t a passing fad. Studies show that meditation can improve your emotional state, mental health, focus, and overall well being. Portfolio spotlights:
Ten Percent Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics Techstars Boston, 2014 In his #1 New York Times Bestselling book 10% Happier, ABC News anchor Dan Harris explores how his on-air panic attack in 2004 prompted him to find meditation and gain better control of his emotions. In this app, you’ll learn how to meditate with skeptical newsman Dan Harris and some of the greatest American meditation teachers, including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.
Pause The Arcadis City of 2030, Powered by Techstars, 2019 Pause is a personal guide powered by artificial intelligence for a mindful workplace. Using goal setting, personalized content, and wearable analytics, Pause allows employees to improve their mental wellbeing. Pause already works with employers like Asana, Brookfield, and Google. Corporate customers make smarter business decisions by understanding impacts on employee sentiment, health, and happiness
Manatee Techstars Los Angeles, 2019 Manatee democratizes mental health care for kids. The software empowers families raising children with behavioral disorders to align on key objectives with their therapist. Manatee uses AI and methods from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to track your child’s progress over time.
(Need more evidence of Techstars’s focus on mental health? Brad Feld, one of our founders, keeps a mental health-focused archive on his personal blog. Check it out here!)
Growing obesity and other chronic disease concern has led to widespread adoption of activity trackers and body monitors providing real-time information about a body’s health. Wearable devices can monitor heart rates, cholesterol levels, calorie intake, quantity and quality of sleep, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and more. Consumers are now even willing to trust these devices on their babies and furry friends. Portfolio spotlights:
Owlet R/GA Accelerator, powered by Techstars, 2013 Founded by parents, Owlet offers a proactive health monitor that allows families to view a child's vital signs, including heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep. Owlet’s mission is to empower parents with the right information at the right time.
FitBark Sprint Mobile Accelerator powered by Techstars, 2014 FitBark is a data-driven pet tech company helping dogs and their owners stay healthy together. A collar sensor and software infrastructure that tracks a pet’s activity, quality of sleep, calorie expenditure, behavior, and overall health. FitBark is also a research-grade platform adopted by 40+ vet schools and research institutions to validate new drugs, foods, procedures and medical treatments.
Stryd Techstars Boulder, 2015 Stryd is a small shoe-worn pod that clips effortlessly onto your shoelaces, similar to a marathon race-timing chip. The Stryd Power Meter tracks your speed, slope, run form, fatigue, and wind to help you achieve the perfect pacing for real time conditions.
Atlas Wristband Techstars Austin, 2013 The Atlas Multi-Trainer is the world’s most powerful training and recovery tool. Using the most reliable movement recognition system to track your exercises for you, the wristband provides guided workouts, to help you crush your goals and is the first system to assess muscle fatigue and physiological state to determine your performance readiness.
We believe entrepreneurs can change the world. You hold the keys to the greatest challenges of our time. Many new health and wellness-related startups have already demonstrated effective ways to help reduce chronic diseases, reign in healthcare costs, improve overall wellbeing and provide access to more people around the world. At Techstars, we support and enable you to develop world-changing businesses with the tools and resources you need. Want to join us in our mission? Check out some of our upcoming accelerator programs in the health and wellness industry: Longevity, UHC, and MetLife.
Kristi Walthall is the Strategy Project Manager at Techstars and a health and wellness enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter @kristiwalthall