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Rock Health: Serious Games Catalyzing Innovation In The Interactive Health Space

Via: TechCrunch Rock Health Opens Incubator to Get the Web 2.0 Generation into Healthcare

Tech Crunch brings to our attention a “group who is aiming to apply all the lessons of the consumer Web and mobile apps to revolutionize another neglected, stodgy industry: Healthcare.”

Tech Crunch reports that Rock Health, a new incubator for Healthcare IT startups, opened its doors for applications last Friday and has already received more than forty submissions. 

Rock Health’s founder Halle Tecco didn’t want to spill the beans on specific ideas, but examples include home health monitoring apps via the iPhone that can update physicians on chronic conditions or Serious Games that can be used as hospital therapy for sick kids.

If you have an idea or startup that’s working to solve a health-related issue, you can apply to join Rock Health, a group of dedicated individuals working to catalyze innovation in the interactive health space, and become one of the first startups to access our unrivaled community of experts and seed-accelerator program.

Applications are open until May 20!

Beginning in the summer of 2011, a select a group of startups will partake in an intensive multi-month program, turning ideas into products and businesses.

Rock Health mission is to enable and empower an entrepreneurial cure for the relative lack of innovation in the health sector. The world of patient care and healthy living is foreign to the technological creativity found in social media, Serious Games and other verticals. Rock Health directly targets the gap between these ecosystems, enabling high-impact innovation.

What Rock Health Offers
  • $20,000 startup grant to each team + access to capital
  • Support from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation and Cincinnati Children's Hospital
  • Mentorship and workshops from experts in design, health policy, lean startup methodology, financing, and more
  • Office space in Silicon Valley
  • Office hours with startup counsel lawyer Michael Esquivel and legal workshops with the Fenwick team
  • Branding, design, social and PR strategy from their in-house Creative Director
  • Business plan and revenue model creation
  • A passionate community of like-minded individuals solving meaningful problems

Rock Health has strategic partnerships spanning a broad spectrum of leading-edge collaborators in medicine, software development, telecommunications, venture capital and policy — channeling an unprecedented level of health care and development resources to seed-stage entrepreneurs.

Rock Health’s investors include Accel Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, the California HealthCare Foundation, Fenwick & West LLP, Microsoft HealthVault, Nike and Qualcomm. Rock Health is building an expansive network of medical partners, led by the Mayo Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Here is the press release updated 04/02/2011 

Techies' Rock Health Fund Is Ready to Roll

Frustrated by the many problems besetting health care, a number of big-name techies on Friday announced the opening of a tech incubator aimed at bringing the developer mentality to bear on the industry. 

The Rock Health Fund -- the brainchild of blogger Halle Tecco -- is accepting applications from startups offering tech-driven fixes to health care. 

The pitch: Build something useful, and your startup will get mentoring from folks at Accel Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Twitter, Harvard Business School and more. 

Volunteer mentors already signed on for the project range from Linda Avey, co-founder of genomics firm 23andMe, to Charles Huang, co-inventor of Guitar Hero. They pledge to help promising entrepreneurs every step of the way -- even down to weekly dinners.

"We're creating an environment where entrepreneurs and developers from other sectors can approach problems in health care," said Tecco, who blogs for and the Huffington Post. Her new title at Rock Health is managing director.

Startups will receive a $20,000 stipend, plus free office space and access to Rock Health's medical partners and mentors. Rock Health does not take an equity stake in the startups chosen.

Tecco said the idea is modeled on tech incubators like Mountain View's Y-Combinator, with a key difference: Rock Health is incorporated as a nonprofit, and the venture capital firms backing the project aren't expecting a financial return. (Of course, if successful startups emerge from the incubator, those venture firms will be well-positioned to forge business relationships with them.) 

"Health care cries out for the creative and entrepreneurial talent that has flown so freely into social media," said Patrick Chung, a partner at New Enterprise Associates who calls Rock Health "a Petri dish that will propagate many interesting things."

Huang, who started Guitar Hero with his brother, sold it to Activision and watched it grow into one of the most popular video games in the world, said he's long been interested in ways to apply the principles of gaming to health. His reasoning: People are more likely to do things that are good for them if the activities are fun.

"If I took a bunch of kids out to a grass field and said, 'Let's do wind sprints,' they'd get tired and stop after 20 minutes," he said, "If I tell the same group, 'Let's play tag,' they'll run for an hour."

While he acknowledged that the entrepreneurs themselves might know "a lot more about diabetes or heart disease than I do, I feel like I can say, Let's make the interface more fun.”

Huang said a mutual friend at Accel Partners introduced him to Tecco, whose team will vet applicants and match them with appropriate mentors.

The first incubator "class" will begin in June and run for five months. Startups must be based in San Francisco or agree to relocate there, although organizers stress that applicants from all over the world are welcome.