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Challenge Seeks Health Technology Start-Ups

Stroke rehab jacket

Jacket and gloves with sensors for stroke rehabilitation (New York University)

15 September 2016. A new competition is seeking start-up enterprises worldwide to pitch their ideas for solving health care issues with technology directly to life sciences industry leaders. The deadline for entries in the HealthTech Industry Challenge sponsored by the professional services company Accenture is 21 October 2016.

Accenture says the challenge aims to foster new companies with innovative technologies for health care and life science problems, particularly those with ideas that can disrupt current business practices, as well as provide a way of getting their ideas in front of industry leaders. “With the launch of the Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge,” says Anne O’Riordan, senior managing director of Accenture Life Sciences in a company statement, “Accenture will identify emerging innovators and disruptors and act as a catalyst by connecting them with the companies who can fast-track market impact.”

The competition calls for companies in four categories that address health care or life science issues:

Improve access to health care, particularly those underserved by the current system or in remote populations

Provide services that improve adherence to treatments and outcomes, by capturing real-world evidence, particularly from non-traditional data streams

Deliver the right health information and services at the right time to patients, families, and caregivers, particularly when a better understanding of lifestyle needs is needed to optimize care

Improve privacy and security of an individual’s health and lifestyle information, while also improving care and enabling information sharing

Accenture is encouraging early-stage companies to participate, particularly those not well-established in the health care or life sciences industries. Nonetheless, companies taking part should have a product well enough along to demonstrate, and be willing to share access to the product under a non-disclosure agreement. Among the factors judged is the extent to which access to senior-level industry executives would have a meaningful impact on company growth.

Entries to the challenge are accepted by Accenture until 21 October 2016. An initial judging will determine regional competition participants by 4 November, with those participants announced on 11 November. The regional pitching sessions are held on 25 November in London, U.K. and 1 December in New York, where semi-finalists will be selected. Judges are expected to include senior executives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cardinal Health, Novartis, and other enterprises.

The top entries in each of the four categories will be selected from the semi-finalists at the final judging round taking place at the StartUp Health Festival, 9 January 2017 in San Francisco, that coincides with the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The top-rated entries will gain exposure and access to leading industry executives, as well as be offered places in StartUp Health’s Launchpad program. That program includes industry training and mentoring, participation in a community of entrepreneurial peers, a chance to promote one’s company in the industry, and access to networks of potential investors and customers. No monetary prizes are given.

“This program aims to help health care start-ups advance their business agenda and infuse fresh ideas across the system to improve patient care,” adds Brian Kalis, Accenture’s managing director of digital health. Kalis says Accenture forecasts start-up funding for digital health care, such as wearables and virtual health, will reach $6.5 billion by the end of next year.

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