Partners Healthcare spinoff Hop Skip Connect (based partially on the Partners blood pressure program SmartBeat) has renamed to Healthrageous and announced a $6 million first round of investment. North Bridge Venture Partners led the investment round while Egan Managed Capital and Long River Ventures also participated.
Healthrageous has 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 can connect up to some 60 wireless biometric sensors, according to the startups CEO Rick Lee, who was previously with Magellan Health Services. The offering can provide feedback to users on various platforms, including through mobile phones, PCs or connected televisions.
EMC, which piloted the SmartBeat wireless blood pressure monitoring service through Partners’ Center for Connected Health, will return to Healthrageous as its first paying customer this fall. (During the pilot, EMC employees used an iMetrikus modem to connect their devices.) In a few weeks the startup may also announce another Boston-area company as its second customer.
“Our key focus is supporting healthy lifestyles. More than half of all chronic medical conditions develop as a result of unhealthy behaviors,” Lee said in a statement. “These conditions represent hundreds of billions of dollars in avoidable healthcare costs annually.”
At a recent industry event, Lee explained one of the startup’s offerings might be a pedometer-based virtual race to see which user could “walk faster” to Los Angeles or New York City. In other words, who could log the same amount of steps that it would take to reach those destinations in the shortest amount of time.
The startup’s primary target customers are varied: large employers, health plans and insurers, specialty care and disease management companies, provider health systems, pharmaceutical makers and clinical trial sponsors, pharmacy benefit managers, device makers, and consumer wellness retail and fitness brands.
Lee made it clear during a presentation earlier this year that HopSkipConnect (now Healthrageous) had no plans to get into “the hardware game” since it is not in the business of going through the FDA. The startup’s primary customers are employers, Lee said at the time, however they want to be in the consumer space. Afterall, Lee said, consumers value their own health more than insurance providers or employers do.
The Healthrageous executive team is also impressive, and it includes Rick Lee, CEO, a veteran healthcare executive specializing in specialty managed care, most recently president of Employer Solutions at Magellan Health Services, Inc.; Doug McClure, Chief Technology Officer, who oversaw technology research and platform development for remote monitoring and patient self-management at the Center for Connected Health; Mary Beth Chalk, Chief Strategy Officer, an innovative healthcare strategist with multi-industry experience in consumer marketing and data-driven decision support systems, who previously served as a director of Business Development for Pfizer Health Solutions; and Kevin Naughton, Chief Financial Officer, who was previously head of finance at three venture-backed health IT start-up companies.
Bill Geary, North Bridge Venture Partners, Jack Egan, Egan Managed Capital, and Will Cowen, Long River Ventures, have joined the company’s Board of Directors. It is expected that Dr. Joe Kvedar, Founder and Director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners Healthcare and thought leader in the health technology field, will also join the Board of Directors, according to the company.