Baltimore (May 17, 2022) – It’s graduation season. On May 17th, the five healthcare startups selected for 1501 Health’s first incubator cohort will take the lessons from their intensive, accelerated year of business development, networking and mentorship and pitch their innovative solutions to investors.
1501 Health, an incubator for healthcare startups, was launched last year by Healthworx – the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) – and LifeBridge Health. The 1501 Health name comes from the address of CareFirst’s Baltimore headquarters (1501 S. Clinton Street) where 1501 Health collaborative space for participants.
In 2021, 1501 Health selected five companies from a pool of more than 120 applicants that demonstrated the most potential and promise for improving health outcomes and the patient experience and who could benefit from the unique payer-provider expertise of the program.
The graduating cohort includes two Maryland and three California-based companies. Over the past year at 1501 Health, these companies have expanded their products, customers, and funding. Now, the cohort is ready to talk to other investors and partners to further evolve their work.
• BabyLiveAdvice of Calabasas, California, enables providers to provide tech-forward, collaborative remote education, monitoring and support to expectant mothers and new parents. 1501 Health helped this product move into its first local market, in collaboration with LifeBridge Health.
• Even Health of Annapolis, Maryland, has created Cabana, the first digital counseling platform offering anonymous group support for healthcare workers and facilitated by licensed professionals accessible from desktop, smartphone or virtual reality device. Their product entered 1501 Health’s accelerant program at a time of critical need. The company offered the free service to its first customers -- 13,000 employees from LifeBridge Health -- who are giving it positive reviews and feedback.
• Baltimore, Maryland-based Live Chair Health recruits hair professionals and employs digital tools to initiate and facilitate client discussions about chronic health issues that disproportionately affect minority communities. This past year the founders partnered with LifeBridge Health to provide vaccines and build a culture of trust in West Baltimore.
• San Francisco, California’s Pair Team created the first end-to-end provider enablement solution for Medicaid, providing wraparound technology, care team and electronic medical record (EMR)-embedded support tools to coordinate patient care and automate value-based care operations. Pair Team used its 1501 Health experience to leap ahead toward value-based care in Medicaid.
• WellSet of Los Angeles, California uses a centralized platform to connect the holistic wellness industry. Users can find and book individual and group sessions with specialists including acupuncture, health coaching, holistic therapy, ayurveda and more. WellSet accomplished all its goals in 1501 Health, producing an integrative product and scaling it for success.
For the past year, the mostly-virtual program provided participants with investment and mentorship. As 1501 Health continues to evolve in 2022, the program will offer co-working and collaborative spaces and a medical simulation lab.
“The founders of these companies have worked tirelessly with their 1501 Health mentors to develop and scale their innovative ideas,” said Emily Durfee, 1501 Health co-manager and director of Healthworx strategy and portfolio acceleration. “Spending the past year leveraging resources from payers, providers, and employers, the companies are ready to start offering. Each of these companies remained committed to their goals and objectives throughout their time in the 1501 Health program. They started this program with potential that has become empowerment to follow through on their shared vision to advance health equity and accessible care.”
At the May 17th event, the graduating cohort members will pitch their ideas and business plans to local and national venture capital firms, CEOs and executive leadership from CareFirst, Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, advisors to cohort companies and local startup ecosystem members. This external engagement builds on the work that payer and provider mentors have provided the cohort over the past year.
Pothik Chatterjee, assistant vice president of innovation and research at LifeBridge Health and executive sponsor of 1501 Health, said the leaders and employers serving as cabinet members benefitted from mentoring the first cohort. “Our 1501 Health program brought together more than 75 advisors from our combined ‘payvider’ networks, offering tremendous insights and tailored support for our startups,” said Chatterjee. “In turn, they told us their mentees’ creativity and entrepreneurial resilience were inspiring and that serving as 1501 Health mentors and cabinet members helped them to stay connected to tech innovation, which is changing the world at lightning speed.”
The companies in the first cohort and their advisors will also welcome 1501 Health’s sophomore class at the May 17th event.
The next cohort joining the 1501 Health program was selected from 112 international applicants. This group consists of seven companies, six of which are women-owned.
• Candoo Tech (New York, New York) helps older adults stay safe, independent and connected by educating them on utilizing digital tools designed for daily use.
• Flowly (Los Angeles, California) helps users manage pain and anxiety through virtual reality experiences as an alternative to medication.
• Frame Fertility (San Francisco, California) serves as a prospective parent’s personalized fertility guide, offering an assessment to identify barriers to fertility, followed by personalized coaching and care navigation.
• Health in Her Hue (New York, New York) empowers Black women and women of color along their healthcare journey by reducing racial disparities in the way care is delivered.
• Lantern (New York, New York) guides users through death and loss at all stages. The platform can guide users in end-of-life pre-planning.
• Ryse Health (Arlington, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland) is an endocrinology practice using tech-enabled solutions and community-based support to help patients manage type 2 diabetes.
• Xploro (Manchester, United Kingdom) delivers a digital engagement platform designed for children with preexisting conditions and illnesses that uses 3D models and gamification to increase health literacy for children.
“The companies in the second cohort have a wide range of focus areas – from aging populations to infertility to chronic conditions – but they share a focus area with the first cohort, a shared vision to address social determinants of health,” said Durfee.
Chatterjee said each graduating cohort will have opportunities to mentor the incoming cohorts. “Our first cohort tripled their funding over the one-year program. They set a high bar for our incoming startups, but I have full confidence they are up to the challenge. With the lessons learned from our graduating 1501 Health cohort, they can go even further with fundraising, customer growth and market penetration. They are poised for success and making a meaningful impact on our society, especially our most vulnerable communities that can benefit most from innovation."
About 1501 Health
1501 Health is a unique partnership between Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, representing expertise in both health insurance and financing (payers) and healthcare delivery and services (providers). The investment and incubation program empowers entrepreneurs to get their innovative solutions to market and expand their impact in healthcare quality, access and affordability. To learn more about 1501Health, visit www.1501Health.com.
Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility, affordability and equity. As the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst, Healthworx envisions a healthier future for all people by changing the way health works. To connect with Healthworx about partnering, media interviews or speaking opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About LifeBridge Health
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org.