Xconomy Health Tech

Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News

Don’t Miss “San Antonio Tech: Seizing the Momentum” on Feb. 20

San Antonio—There’s a rustling of change in San Antonio. In a city often most associated with the Alamo, the River Walk, and the Spurs, a tech ecosystem has been taking shape and shifting the city’s business culture.

A surging startup community, a group of blossoming sectors, and a rush of capital are stimulating San Antonio’s southwestern entrepreneurial spirit. From the six-year-old co-working space Geekdom to flourishing industrial parks like Port San Antonio, San Antonio has become a new western frontier for business leaders looking for an innovative city in which to build a business.

Yes, San Antonio’s tech ecosystem has... Read more »

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 04:00

With Qualcomm Buyout Looming, EvoNexus Aims for Self-Sufficiency

In the nine years since San Diego’s EvoNexus incubator began amid the great recession of 2009, CEO Rory Moore has emphasized it is a pro bono program—startup teams admitted to the technology accelerator get free office space and other perks, with no strings attached.

EvoNexus operates as a non-profit, which is possible because dozens of local tech companies, law firms, and others provide funding to sustain the incubator’s pro bono operations. Three strategic partners in particular provide substantial (undisclosed) support—Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT), and the private real estate developer the Irvine Company.

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:40

Fitbit Snaps Up Twine Health to Connect Dots for Patients, Doctors

Wearable device maker Fitbit is extending its reach into hospitals and doctors’ offices with the planned acquisition of Twine Health, an MIT spinout that sells healthcare coaching and collaboration software.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed in a press release announcing the deal Tuesday. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of this year.

San Francisco-based Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) sells a line of Internet-connected wristbands, watches, and other wearables that track exercise, sleep, and other health metrics for more than 25 million users, according to the company. Fitbit operates a social network for fitness enthusiasts, and it said... Read more »

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 14:59

Battery Ventures Recharges With $1.25B in Two New Funds

Battery Ventures, a 35-year-old global investment firm, has reeled in $1.25 billion to continue backing high-tech companies.

Boston-based Battery announced two new funds on Tuesday: an $800 million fund, Battery Ventures XII; and a $450 million companion, Battery Ventures XII Side Fund, from which the firm will make larger growth and private-equity investments. Battery’s deals cover a range of stages, from seed investments in startups, to $100 million-plus transactions through which Battery buys a majority stake in companies.

Battery went bigger with its latest vintage of funds. It raised $950 million two years ago for its previous funds—a $650 million main... Read more »

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 07:36

After Record-Breaking 2017, Invest Michigan Expects Another Big Year

Invest Michigan, the Detroit-based early-stage capital fund, had an eventful 2017 and is off to a busy start already in 2018. We caught up with CEO Charlie Moret for an update and to find out what’s ahead for the fund in the coming year.

Invest Michigan, established in 2014 by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, recently completed its 75th investment. The fund has invested in 44 companies across the state so far, and has made 31 follow-on investments.

“Michigan’s entrepreneurial sector is very active,” Moret says. “Last year was a record, with 26 investments.”

Invest Michigan now has... Read more »

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 01:05

Pay it Forward: Capital Drives Bio Innovation in San Diego & Beyond

After starting Organovo in 2007, I spent much of the next decade as CEO seeking financing to advance our bioprinting technology.

Because I stepped out of an operational role early last year, I am now in a position of providing financing to aspiring life sciences entrepreneurs.  The change has caused me to reflect a bit on the state of finance in biotech and in San Diego biotech particularly.

During the process of arranging early funding for Organovo in 2008-2010, I worked with angels in San Diego, all over the country, and around the world.  About 40 percent of my financing at... Read more »

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 22:40

Ex-GE CEO Immelt Joins NEA as Execs Move Into Venture Investing

Former General Electric chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has joined New Enterprise Associates, the latest high-profile business executive to cross over to venture capital.

Immelt has signed on as a venture partner at NEA, according to a press release. NEA has offices in the Bay Area; Washington, DC, area; Boston; New York; and India. Immelt has been living in Boston, where GE (NYSE: GE) has its headquarters, after relocating from Connecticut a couple years ago. But it appears Immelt may move to the Bay Area, or at least spend significant time there—the press release mentions he will also teach... Read more »

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 09:50

With Pellini on Board, Maris Sets Course at Section 32

It’s not easy to catch up with Bill Maris at Section 32, the venture firm he founded last year near San Diego. It took a while to arrange a call to discuss how Foundation Medicine’s Michael Pellini had joined Section 32 as Maris’s first investing partner, and what they plan to do together.

Maris acknowledged last year that he was laying plans to raise a new fund, after investing nearly all of the first $160 million he had raised for Section 32. Since then, Maris said he’s been busy assembling a new team in the coastal community of Cardiff by the... Read more »

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 07:32

Gaming, Staffing, and Diversity: Techstars Picks 2018 Class for Seattle

Diversity has been a thorny problem for the tech industry—specifically its lack of minority and women-led businesses. Techstars has made a point of the issue, and promised over the last few years to try to make diversity a priority as it selects companies for its various accelerator programs.

Seattle’s Techstars program announced some progress this morning on that front, noting that two founders of the 10 companies it has selected for 2018 accelerator class are African American, according to managing director Chris DeVore. Three of the founders are women.

It’s a definite change from a year ago when DeVore,... Read more »

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 07:00

Epic Upgrades Records-Sharing App in Bid to Improve Interoperability

Epic Systems says it’s added new features to Care Everywhere, a software application allowing the company’s 300-plus hospital and health clinic customers to share information about their patients.

About 190 million people have a current medical record in Epic, according to the Verona, WI-based business. When members of this patient population go to another hospital or clinic that uses Epic’s software, the organization can request that healthcare systems that have cared for the patients previously transmit their records via Care Everywhere.

Late Tuesday, Epic announced what it’s calling “One Virtual System Worldwide,” a framework that includes tools allowing users to... Read more »

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 13:06

Amazon’s New Healthcare Venture: Insurance, Drugs, or Something Else?

After months of speculation that Amazon could soon expand its presence in the healthcare sector, the Seattle-based online retail leader said Tuesday that it plans to launch a joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to provide the three companies’ U.S. employees “with simplified, high-quality, and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”

The companies said their goals in forming an independent, nonprofit company are to improve their U.S. employees’ satisfaction with the healthcare they receive, and to reduce their costs. The initial focus of the new firm will be on “technology solutions,” according to a press release.

Despite providing few... Read more »

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:16

Hospitals Back New LRVHealth Fund to Forge Alliances With Startups

The healthcare industry has a reputation for being slow and resistant to adopting new technologies. But more hospitals are starting to collaborate with—and even invest in—high-tech startups.

The latest example is a new Boston-based venture capital fund announced Monday. LRVHealth, formerly known as Long River Ventures, said it’s planning to raise $100 million for its fourth venture fund, which will back early-stage companies spanning healthcare IT, tech-enabled health services, medical devices, and diagnostics. Founded in 2000, LRVHealth’s previous investments include GetWellNetwork, Phreesia, MedVentive, and LifeImage.

LRVHealth has raised an undisclosed amount for its latest fund, and... Read more »

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:43

Graham Weston on “Seizing the Momentum” Feb. 20: Here’s the Agenda

It has happened slowly, but surely: San Antonio, not just Austin, is gathering buzz as an attractive city in Texas for startup tech entrepreneurs.

On Feb. 20, Xconomy is gathering an elite group of the Alamo City’s technology and business leaders to discuss the ways San Antonio has established itself as a tech capital, as well as its goals for sustaining and adding to that growth in the future. This special event is called San Antonio Tech: Seizing the Momentum.

From the founders of Rackspace and Geekdom to an emerging generation of technology leaders, some of the most prominent entrepreneurs,... Read more »

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 06:00

With Medical Records Tools, Apple Wades Deeper Into Digital Health

Apple said Wednesday it plans to introduce new features that will allow iPhone users to access parts of their medical records through the company’s Health app. The move could impact the interoperability of health records software and spark more competition in the health IT industry.

Cupertino, CA-based Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it has updated the Health app’s Health Records section to make it simple for patients to download data from hospitals and clinics where they’ve received care. The app sorts information into categories like medications, immunizations, and results of laboratory tests, Apple said. Users will also be able to... Read more »

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 13:13

Luna DNA Uses Blockchain to Share Genomic Data as a “Public Benefit”

A San Diego startup says it has adapted the blockchain technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin for use as a distributed database for genomic information.

Luna DNA’s efforts mark one of the early attempts to apply blockchain technology in healthcare, as advocates of the much-hyped technology try to make use of it in sectors other than cryptocurrencies.

Co-founder and CEO Bob Kain told Xconomy in a recent interview that Luna DNA uses blockchain technology so that individuals who get their genome sequenced can take ownership of their personal genomic data as a “digital asset.” Kain said part of the appeal... Read more »

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:59

Dell Med’s DeSalvo Discusses Health IT Now, and in Years to Come

Karen DeSalvo has experience working in the public sector, but she’s hardly what you’d call a government bureaucrat.

DeSalvo, who is trained as a physician, served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology from 2014 to 2016 under President Barack Obama. During some of the time she headed the ONC, as the office is known, DeSalvo was also Assistant U.S. Secretary for Health, a position within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Before that, she was vice dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans

Earlier this month, DeSalvo... Read more »

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:06

Boston Tech Watch: ICO Crackdown, “Shark Tank” Startups & More

This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking legal action against a so-called “initial coin offering,” hiring sprees, a pair of acquisitions, several venture funding rounds, and more. Read on for details.

—Massachusetts securities regulators are wading into the murky waters of cryptocurrencies and “initial coin offerings.” The office of Secretary of State William Galvin filed administrative charges against Caviar and its partner, Kirill Bensonoff, alleging that the company’s ICO is an illegal sale of unregistered securities. Caviar has raised more than $3.1 million through the sale of digital tokens that enable purchasers to participate in an investment fund that gives them... Read more »

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:01

Nordic to Move Into Management Consulting After Partial Acquisition

Nordic, a healthcare consulting firm that advises on implementations of computerized patient records software and other projects, said Tuesday that it had acquired part of The Claro Group.

Madison, WI-based Nordic said its acquisition of Chicago-based Claro’s revenue cycle transformation practice marks the Wisconsin company’s first foray into “the technology-agnostic management consulting world.”

Up to this point, Nordic has focused on helping customers—primarily hospital and clinic networks—install and configure new software applications. The company is known for hiring employees with expertise in products developed by Epic Systems, which is headquartered nearby, in Verona, WI. Many members of Nordic’s staff... Read more »

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:25

Philips CEO Wants to Be Near “Hotspots of Talent” to Take On GE, IBM

Boston’s healthcare technology cluster is getting more crowded. Dutch healthtech giant Philips intends to plant an even bigger flag here, ramping up its local efforts to develop products like machine-learning software for healthcare, as other big firms like IBM and General Electric do the same.

Philips (NYSE: PHG) announced Thursday it plans to relocate its North American headquarters from Andover, MA, to Cambridge, MA. In 2020, the company intends to move into a 243,000-square-foot office space at the Cambridge Crossing development site (near the Lechmere MBTA stop). The office will have room for 2,000 employees, Philips spokesperson Silvie Casanova says.... Read more »

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:52

Win free tickets to Xconomy’s first tech event in the Alamo City!

San Antonio Tech: Seizing the Momentum takes place at Pearl Stable on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Thanks to our generous supporters in the community, we’re excited to announce we have a block of complimentary tickets for local entrepreneurs and innovators. All you have to do is e-mail events@xconomy.com with the following:

— Name, title, company
— A brief written or video response answering, “What does the San Antonio tech scene need to do in order to seize the momentum?”

The conference is designed to help entrepreneurs, investors, and other business leaders navigate the growth opportunities in the region. We’ll discuss... Read more »

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:54