QuickSeeMD: NJTechWeekly.com interviewed Lon Hecht, founder and CEO of QuickSeeMD (Sea Girt), a young company and a winner of the recent Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross IBX Game Changers Challenge.
The six-week competition was aimed at promoting health and wellness via innovation.
His idea: a Web and mobile tool that combines personal and healthcare data to steer patients from ERs to appropriate alternative settings approved by their insurance companies for non-life-threatening emergencies. A video about his tool is available here.
Each patient who chooses an alternative setting over an ER saves an insurance company $700, Hecht said, but the issue isn’t only about the companies or even ER overcrowding. Patients face long waits in ERs and sometimes have difficulty getting to them. If visits can be handled another way, patients can be spared the inconvenience.
Patients save money by being seen in an office or urgent care facility rather than an ER. Typically ER co-payments are around $100, compared with lower co-pays elsewhere. Patients who have high-deductible health plans — which kick in only after they’ve spent more than $5,000 on healthcare — could have to pay for the entire visit out of pocket.
Some 150 companies had applied to the challenge to devise game-changing health technology ideas for the Philadelphia market. From the 150, 15 finalists emerged. Hecht’s idea was one of the three winners.
The win came with $50,000 in startup money in the form of a grant, six weeks of office space at a healthcare tech incubator called Venturef0rth (Philadelphia), an entrepreneurial consulting session with Innovation Partners and business mentoring from The Wharton School.“I just got a list of mentors who have been assigned to me from Wharton,” Hecht said. He added that winning the contest opened many doors for him.
Hecht was especially pleased that the money came with no strings attached. “Up front I have to be smart with the equity so I can do the things I need to do. Somewhere along the line there is a lot of equity I’m going to need to give up,” he said.
Hecht envisions selling the tool to the payer market as a private-label solution it can push out to users. With the help of including the insurance network’s information on the application, Hecht says he can tell consumers not only the alternative sites near them but which ones are in network, what the co-pay and wait times will be and how much they will save compared with visiting the ER.
ISS Group: NJTechWeekly.com has learned that ISS Group (Sparta), whose CEO, Andrew Weinstein, we met at a Venture Association of New Jersey meeting last year, is making moves to head to South Carolina, where it is finding better acceptance for the company’s mission.
ISS Group has been in business since 1987, so it’s not a traditional startup. However, it is making a pivot from pure IT service provider to software developer and is offering its own innovations. ISS Group develops business process software aimed at the middle market manufacturing community, “but we need funds to continue our development of solutions and to, of course, increase our marketing and sales,” Weinstein said.
In the N.J. metropolitan market, money to support this kind of change for established companies has been very hard to get over the last several years, Weinstein told us. While ISS is not leaving N.J. altogether yet, the company has registered a business subsidiary in South Carolina.
“The bottom line is that we are still looking for financing. I have a business colleague who lives down in the Bluffton, SC area. I called him a while ago and asked him how to find growth capital. He offered to help leverage his contacts in the investment community in South Carolina.”
The company put together a high level executive summary and received some interest from angel investors in the Bluffton, South Carolina area. In summer of 2012, Weinstein visited Bluffton, met with the mayor, the town manager and Jordan Berliner, director of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, a public/private collaboration between Bluffton, Clemson University, CareCore National and others, whose mission is to support new technology formation in the area. ISS was recently accepted as an incubator company by the Don Ryan Center.
Asked whether ISS will be moving jobs to South Carolina, Weinstein replied, not on day one. “Of course that’s the ultimate objective for Clemson University and the state of South Carolina,” he said. The folks currently on staff at ISS will remain where they are, he added. The company has employees in New Jersey and Massachusetts. “Based on our getting funding, as we build resources we will build in Bluffton.”
Truphone: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) mobile phone provider Truphone (London), which recently announced plans to open a U.S. headquarters in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, has opened a smaller tech center at the NJIT Enterprise Development Center (Newark). The company said it would use the space to create and patent new technology and will make use of NJIT graduates and grad students.
The tech center will be led by Ed Guy, vice president of engineering, and Chris Celiberti, VP of business engineering. According to Truphone, Guy designed and led the Truphone network implementation as it evolved from a mobile VoIP provider to a global mobile operator. “Our mission is to develop Truphone’s patent portfolio and turn these into new and innovative services that people need, can’t live without and can’t obtain elsewhere,” Guy said.
Snap MyLife: Snap MyLife (Princeton), which NJTechWeekly.com profiled here, has received a $3 million term loan from Silicon Valley Bank. The company said it will use the cash infusion to drive ongoing growth and customer acquisition initiatives. In August it rolled out a nationwide cable television ad campaign for its Snap Secure mobile security application.
The four TV ads, one 60-second and three half-minute spots, introduce viewers to a family of “living” smartphones — father, mother and teenage daughter — who whimsically tell viewers about the dangers they face and underscore the need for Snap Secure to protect their devices, data and loved ones.
The TV campaign, believed to be the first for a direct-to-consumer mobile app, was created by R2C Group (Portland, Ore.). Initial spots have appeared on 12 to 15 national cable channels, including A&E, CNBC and TruTV.