Three NJ Startups Compete in Latest TechUnited:NJ Startup Showdown

Three tech startups from various parts of the Garden State competed in a Startup Showdown last week that focused on real-world data and evidence collection.

The Startup Showdowns are presented by TechUnited:NJ (New Brunswick) and Tech Council Ventures (Summit) and hosted by Jasmine Hoffman.

Pitching were Daniel Ferrara, founder and CEO of Roseland-based WellCare Today; Luke Malanga, COO of Cedar Knolls-based DataBiologics; and Kirsten Hund Blair, cofounder and CEO of Princeton-based Lambent Data.

The investors who gave feedback were: Mark Kolb, entrepreneur in residence, Tech Council Ventures, who focuses on the healthcare industry; Steven Cohen, partner, Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia), who is chair of the Morgan Lewis emerging business and technology practice and an angel investor; and Ren Roome, principal, Boston Millennia Partners.

The complete video of the program can be found here.

For this episode, Lambent Data took home the audience choice award.

Daniel Ferrara, of WellCare Today

First up to pitch was Ferrara. WellCare Today offers HealthAssist, a turnkey population health program for managed care plans. “We bridge 45 million unpaid healthcare givers in the U.S. with remote patient monitoring,” bringing together a number of “cutting-edge remote technologies,” he said. The company has been partnering with Samsung for over a year, and it uses Samsung’s sensors and monitors to help reduce hospitalizations for senior citizens, said Ferrara.

 “We have five different levels of healthcare support for the senior market,” he added. The monitors, which are on smart watches, are independent of any phone, and can even detect falls.

In response to a question from Cohen about what prevents Apple or Samsung or others from co-opting their market, Ferrara said that his company is more about the hardware, “and we don’t want to be a manufacturer. We’ve developed a comprehensive health-management ecosystem on the back end that acts as the glue to bring all of these devices together to support remote patient monitoring and telehealth.”

Luke Malanga, of DataBiologics

DataBiologics has a solution that lets physicians collect, track and interpret outcomes data on regenerative orthopedic procedures. These are procedures that use platelet-rich plasma, adipose tissue or bone marrow. “They’re noninvasive treatments that use the body’s own cells to heal tissue, ligaments and joints,” said Malanga.

Right now, the regenerative treatment ecosystem is a little bit like the Wild West, he explained. There is little regulation and little standardization, and the physicians are on their own when documenting whether these procedures actually work. “We are here to solve that problem by bringing evidence and data to the forefront of these procedures.”

Malanga said that the adoption of regenerative procedures could combat the rising costs of traditional orthopedic surgery, “but without more evidence, these promising procedures won’t be used. Patients won’t know they are effective.”

DataBiologics offers a web platform where physicians can collect and review patient data. They can track their patients’ outcomes, generate real-time reports and use those outcomes to inform their care decisions. “And our hope for the future is that this will pave the way for more evidence-based treatments that will then help to move towards a more value-based healthcare system. And that comes down to these treatments being significantly cheaper than those alternatives, which are surgical alternatives.”

Investor Kolb asked Malanga if the company was involved in clinical trials, and Malanga responded that the trials had been done and were continuing to be done. “But our focus here is on outcomes.” He also said that in the future there may be regulations requiring that physicians track the effectiveness of their procedures. The surveys developed by the company include questions on patient functionality as well as on pain levels.

Kirsten Hund Blair, of Lambent Data

Up next was Lambent Data’s Blair, who used a launch video to explain what the company was doing. Lambent wants to help the millions of low-income families in the U.S. who face the challenges of managing jobs, health, education and nurturing their children, via a platform and app called OurREACH.

Providers need to connect with these families and have collaborative engagement, she said in the video. “Often, existing case management tools do not effectively engage families to help them achieve better outcomes.” Lambent helps providers extend their reach to other providers while helping families reach their goals, she said, and it helps providers to learn more about what’s working and to improve programs by tracking critical data.

Blair noted that OurREACH integrates with current case-management systems. In response to a question from Roome about the software, Blair said, “We have a very robust design … and we have been building it out in the AWS [Amazon Web Services] environment.” The company is planning pilots from mid-October through November for its minimum viable product. Blair also said that the company is seeing strong interest from organizations in their potential sales pipeline.

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