Healthrageous shuts down, sells assets

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 1, 2013        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsBoston-based Healthrageous, which spun out of Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health in 2010, has closed up shop and sold off its assets. The once promising venture was based partially on the Center’s SmartBeat blood pressure management program, which the provider piloted with EMC employees a few years ago to prove its efficacy.

For a short while the company was called HopSkipConnect. After the name change, Healthrageous launched with $6 million in venture capital from North Bridge Venture Partners, Egan Managed Capital and Long River Ventures. (Two years later it added an additional $6.5 million from the same group plus Partners Health Care.) It also launched with a veteran leadership team that included longtime provider experience.

While the company did tweak and optimize its employee wellness platform, it didn’t stray too far from its original vision. As we wrote in 2010, Healthrageous “developed a health technology platform that provides personalized, interactive, self-management tools to help individuals shed unhealthy habits and improve adherence to medical advice. Healthrageous will leverage wireless biometric sensors, smart phones, individualized coaching, incentive programs and social networks.” The platform originally leveraged a hub device from iMetrikus (which became Numera after a big pivot), but went on to integrate activity data from Fitlinxx devices, weight data from connected scales, and blood glucose data from Telcare devices.

Healthrageous started out wholly focused on building a platform for employers but over time began to shift its focus to insurance companies. It also conducted pilots with pharmaceutical companies and pharma companies during its almost four years in operation.

By May 2011 the company had launched a smartphone app called h!Go and claimed to have 1,000 users on its platform. A few months later it announced a pilot with Philadelphia-based insurance company Independence Blue Cross. In early 2012 it announced another high profile pilot — with Ford to research how to integrate Healthrageous into user’s cars. By mid-2012 the company added yet another pilot with a company in yet another field: pharma. German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim announced a pilot with Healthrageous to evaluate a lifestyle behavior modification program that aims to help people better manage type II diabetes.

Apart from rumors floating around about its imminent demise and erroneous press reports that Healthrageous had raised another $6 million in venture capital this year (it didn’t), the company was relatively quiet during 2013.

Financial terms of the Healthrageous asset acquisition sale were not disclosed and — somewhat unusually — neither was the buyer. Healthrageous cofounder and interim CEO Mary Beth Chalk told MobiHealthNews that the “buyer was one of the country’s innovative healthcare companies.” (UPDATE: MobiHealthNews has learned that Humana was the buyer: More Here.)

Here’s how one of the company’s lead investors summed up the transaction:

“The purchase demonstrates that our pioneering work to leverage a novel yet scientifically validated approach to engaging people in their health through software is an idea that is becoming mainstream thinking in health care,” Bill Geary of North Bridge Venture Partners said in a written statement. “We’re in the beginning phase of a massive market with many new investment opportunities which will profoundly alter how healthcare is delivered and the ways in which consumers manage their own conditions.”

Healthrageous had a lot going for it: an experienced team, a deep connection to a provider, a fair amount of financing, and more. And yet it joins the growing list of casualties or lukewarm exits in digital health for 2013 — along with sleep monitoring company Zeo and mobile-enabled healthy behavior change startup Massive Health.

  • MedTech Catalyst

    This is one of many shakeouts I see in the mobile health space. It is easier to bring things to market for sure, but that means the entry barriers are low which causes a different problem.