Incubator Feature: SixThirty

This week we had the chance to sit down with SixThirty Incubator: an exciting non-profit healthcare incubator based out of Pasadena, California.  We are particularly impressed by SixThirty’s focus on data-driven solutions in helping young companies succeed in healthcare tech.

Check out our interview below where we learn about the incubator itself, some of the companies they’re helping get off the ground, and their advice to young entrepreneurs.

Give readers a few sentence overview of your organization and its focus.

SixThirty Incubator is a non-profit healthcare incubator designed to help young technology companies overcome the unique challenges facing data-driven solutions. We help startups that use technologies such as machine learning/artificial intelligence, internet-of-things (IoT), virtual reality, and more.

The incubator program is designed to help budding entrepreneurs build their businesses and address the structural challenges faced by healthcare start-ups — regulatory processes, privacy regulations, and mass data acquisition. As a member of the healthcare innovation community, we also host industry and functional programs to support innovation in Healthcare and Data Science.

Why Los Angeles / Pasadena (Southern California)?

Southern California is a hub of US healthcare innovation and also the location of many headquarters of healthcare companies and institutes. Coincidentally, the LA-metro area has one of the largest data science communities in the nation–a hotspot for data experts and the faculty/graduates of prestigious local universities. We believe that Southern California is the perfect place to connect healthcare with data and we complement our footprint with satellite offices in Germany and China.

How does your program work and what do you hope to accomplish with companies going through it?

SixThirty is a true incubator: We are founded by technologists who are passionate about bringing advanced data technologies into healthcare.

Given our nonprofit nature, we don’t ask for fees or equity, but are quite selective about the type of company that we work with. We want to support early-stage ideas that are technologically sound, and entrepreneurs who have an interest in solving challenges in healthcare and improving the quality of care on a global scale.

Our ultimate goal is to unleash the potential of next-generation healthcare technologies.

What has been done to date?

Prior to becoming an incubator, SixThirty focused on developing open data standards for city governments. We worked with several health agencies, including LA County Department of Public Health, to build standards for healthcare open data. We have also hosted conferences and meetups that facilitate collaborations in standardizing open data.

In January 2017, SixThirty received IRS tax exemption status and opened it’s doors to the first cohort of start-ups. Our incubator program is established — a beautiful innovation space in Pasadena; a board of accomplished mentors and advisors; and business partnerships in US, Asia, and Europe.

Tell us about any companies you have worked with to date or have in the queue.

Semioe (www.semioe.com) is a healthcare device startup in Beijing. As the name suggests, Semioe focuses on building semantic IoE (Internet of Everything) for healthcare. It builds an ecosystem of connected medical devices that monitors every aspect of a patient’s health and integrates the data into a specialized AI chat-bot system that learns from the individual knowledge of each doctor. The goal of Semioe is to reduce the time doctors spend on repetitive works by 90%, so they can focus on delivering actual values.

KeyReply (www.keyreply.com) is a startup in Singapore. Its general A.I. chat-bot system automates customer services, specifically for government agencies and healthcare organizations.

Epilepsy Care Labs is developing a nighttime seizure monitor for kids. For parents of a child with epilepsy, knowing if their child is having a seizure at night is a huge challenge. We are here to solve that challenge so parents can sleep with peace of mind.”

Spottr A.I. (www.spottr.ai) is the first US-based company to be a part of the incubator. Spottr.ai is developing a computer vision platform that automatically calculates orthopedic diagnostic measures to support diagnosis and surgical planning.

What is in store over the next 6 months?

We have a handful of great events planned for the coming months:

  1. Article Series — A structural deep-dive into the features of the healthcare industry that must be to allow innovation. Each article is co-authored by a recognized industry expert (many of whom serve as SixThirty advisors and mentors). Our focus is in the integration of data and healthcare, particularly in the current opportunities and challenges facing the healthcare space, trends in healthcare data technologies, access to data, and solutions to regulatory challenges.
  2. Industry Conference — “AI-Driven Smart Cities: Transforming Healthcare with Data.” This conference is a bridge between healthcare experts and data scientists. It will bring together healthcare professionals, civic leaders, data experts, and entrepreneurs to discuss how we can best use data technologies to address challenges in healthcare. We will also host a startup demo session that features healthcare + data startups. (November 3, 2017 at the Midtown LA Radisson Hotel)
  3. Innovate Healthcare Hackathon — We just co-hosted the first Innovate Healthcare Hackathon with Healthcare Futurists in Germany. It is an international-scale hackathon that describes current challenges in healthcare in detail and invite entrepreneurs to solve these challenges with digital health solutions. We plan to host the next event in January 2018.

What is one piece of advice you like to give startups?

If you’re passionate and equipped to address a challenge, then get your prototype out to users as soon as possible and start iterating on your design!

If you look hard enough any idea has been tried before — don’t let that question be the seed of doubt. In reality, first-movers only have any meaningful advantage where they can lock up an industry (e.g., with platform network effects).

Are there any books you have read you’d like to recommend?

The Alchemist is a fun read and an amazing litmus test for anyone questioning her own progress towards achieving her “personal legend.”

The Founder’s Dilemmas is one of the most popular business books out there, and a must-read for any first-time entrepreneur. It addresses the early challenges that faces all startups.

Zero in a bit on the state of data in healthcare — the opportunity as you see it.

Data-driven solutions address two increasingly important challenges of the healthcare industry — ballooning costs and projected shortage of healthcare resources. These solutions have the potential to not only improve patient outcomes but also liberate doctors from all of the tasks that prevent them from spending more time devoted to patient results.

Particularly as the US healthcare is moving from fee-for-service to value-based model, home-based care and reduction in readmission are becoming more important, so is the use of data collected from hospitals, at home, and on our arms. Healthcare data applications enable opportunities, particularly in real-time quantified-self, personalized care and medicine, enhanced diagnostic solutions, and augmented interactions between patients and doctors.

We believe that the keys to unlocking these opportunities are better access to data, widely-accepted standardization of healthcare open data and medical IoT data, and developing the right strategy to address regulatory obstacles.

Tell us a little about what’s going on in the USC ecosystem with respect to startups.

We have certainly witnessed USC’s effort in building an ecosystem to support innovation and entrepreneurship, from the classroom level to collaboration among departments and schools.

USC encourages cross-school collaborations. For example, the Keck School of Medicine has a joint program with the Viterbi School of Engineering, called HTE (Healthcare, Technology, Engineering) to promote technology innovation in healthcare. USC has also established a number of programs to help entrepreneurs through the different stages of a startup, including USC Incubator, Blackstone Launchpad, Viterbi Startup Garage, and USC Troy Ventures.

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