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Rock Health: The First Venture Dedicated to Digital Health

Rock Health: The First Venture Dedicated to Digital Health

“The goal of real healthcare reform must be high-quality, universal coverage in a cost-effective way.”
–Bernie Sanders

Two Harvard Business School students along with Professor Bob Higgins brainstormed and developed the concept of Rock Health. Initially, they called it the H-Combinator, but it was eventually named Rock Health (never ‘Rock’) after Harvard’s ‘Rock Center’. Today, as the first venture fund dedicated to digital health, Rock Health has come a long way since its founding five years ago.

After dozens of rejections, on the eve of founder Halle Tecco's 26th birthday, Mayo Clinic agreed to be the company’s first partner—paving the way for others to join the movement. Rock Health is a full-service seed fund that supports startups working in digital health, also called health technology. The company’s goal from day one has been to build a community dedicated to changing healthcare. Rock Health exists to fund and support entrepreneurs working at the intersection of healthcare and technology. 

“Put simply, our mandate is impact. We want to make healthcare massively better for every human being—driving down the cost to deliver improved services to more people,” explains the Managing Director of Rock Health – Bill Evans. Massively better here, means incredible change that is an improvement by an order of magnitude or more along every dimension. Delivering healthcare that is incredibly functional, reliable, convenient, and of course, inexpensive is the goal of Rock Health. “Ultimately, it looks like a system that we love,” Evans adds.

Leading the Digital Health

Rock Health’s portfolio companies are tackling problems in mental health, smoking cessation, hospital and payer administration, and diabetes, in addition to many, many others. As early-stage investors, the company seeks to invest in relentless problem solvers, and support them in growing scalable, sustainable businesses making a positive impact.

The company’s internal mantra is to act as an early employee, and not as an advisor or mentor. That means getting its hands dirty doing actual work. It supports its customers on a wide range of business issues, including fundraising, go-to-market planning, customer development, business development, contracting, pricing, marketing, communications, and PR. Rock Health partners span medical institutions, corporate strategic partners, and venture capital firms who are its allies that provide the companies with varied perspectives and strategic insights on the healthcare industry.

“But the most valuable service we offer actually isn’t provided by us, it’s the community of founders,” notes Evans. Rock Health feels that it is extraordinarily fortunate that its most successful founders give the most back to the Rock Health ecosystem. The company works together to support one another on this journey to build a better healthcare system.

A Glimpse into the Rock Health World

Rock Health’s community of entrepreneurs represents the best and brightest digital health innovators across the industry—and collectively, the companies in its portfolio have raised over $1 billion. Here’s a glimpse of how they’re shaping the future of healthcare. 

Welkin Health: Welkin Health is a modular patient relationship management platform helping companies adapt to a changing healthcare landscape. It delivers data to the right people throughout the organization. Welkin Health’s software enables life science and medical device companies to adapt to a changed healthcare landscape, improving both business intelligence and patient health. The team at Welkin is passionate about improving outcomes and helping companies strengthen their customer connections to stand out and succeed in the world of healthcare.

Augmedix: Augmedix is a wearable documentation service that empowers doctors to spend more time with patients and less time on charting. It was founded on one core belief: technology can free physicians to spend more time with patients and less time on charting. Founded in 2012 by Ian Shakil and Pelu Tran, Augmedix is one of the first healthcare companies to be “Glass Certified” by Google. Already deployed with physicians and major health systems from Alaska to Florida, the company has most recently raised an additional $16 million in Series A funding.

Kit Check: Kit Check is headquartered in Washington, DC and is regarded as the leading success story for in-hospital IoT. Kit Check has been a Rock Health portfolio company since February 2013. Kit Check is used by hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. and Canada to automate medication tracking and handling. Customers report 71-96% time savings and accuracy improvements of 99.5-100% for pharmacy kit restocking—a segment where the company commands 90% market share. Over 8.5 million medications were tracked with Kit Check between 2012-15 and 105 million expiration checks and restocking tasks were eliminated. Kit Check also provides anesthesia medication tracking in the OR from syringe prep and patient administration to recording and reconciliation processes.

Meet the Champion of Rock Health

Bill Evans is Rock Health’s Managing Director. Prior to joining Rock Health, Evans led the creation of a software-only product line within Roche Diagnostics where he partnered with hospitals in the US and EU to collaboratively develop highly usable decision support solutions. His past work includes the development of data and analytics-focused partnerships at Genentech and leadership of commercial software and service solutions for Genentech’s patients and physicians. Evans received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.

“We want to make healthcare massively better for every human being. We support companies improving the quality, safety, and accessibility of our healthcare system.”

"Our community of entrepreneurs represents the best and brightest digital health innovators across the industry"

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