Featured Startup: Kinsights

Pediatricians are a critical source of information for parents, but more than ever before, parents find themselves sifting through noisy and cluttered online parenting communities looking for the needle in the haystack that can help them make better parenting decisions. Now, parents have a new tool that can not only help them cut through that noise, but also helps them keep their child’s health records organized and up to date.

Meet angelMD’s featured startup of the week, Kinsights. The San Francisco-based team has designed a web- and mobile-based parenting community that intelligently leverages a pediatric personal health record. Much of the community is structured around a question-and-answer format, but users see only the most relevant content available, based on their profile and their children’s health records, helping useful conversations happen between parents with similar backgrounds and experiences. Likewise, parents can discover content other parents like them have been engaging with, so the community grows and evolves as your family does, from childbirth through adolescence.

Most recently, Kinsights launched its cloud-based pediatric personal health record, specifically for parents to track their important information, either for their own records, but also to share with family, caregivers, and even physicians. They developed the technology in conjunction with the White House office of Science and Technology Policy as part of their BlueButton health record initiative, and it allows parents to export all their Kinsights health record data into a format that is printer-friendly, patient-friendly, physician-friendly, and even EMR-friendly, coded with the same vocabularies used by Meaningful Use-compliant electronic medical record systems.

I recently had a chance to chat with M. Jackson Wilkinson, Kinsights Founder, to ask him a few questions:

What do physicians really need to know about Kinsights?
For physicians, having a Kinsights user as a patient means two things:

  1. They’ll have a useful, up-to-date history they can either print out or send in, and that history has the same codes under the hood as your EMR.
  2. They have a great place to go for all those non-medical parenting questions, and even have access to communities of parents whose kids have similar conditions. Just as Economist readers tend to be informed citizens, Kinsights users tend to be informed and engaged parents.

What is one disappointment you’ve worked through, and how did you get past it?
Our biggest disappointment so far has been finding that the Health IT community is so far behind the consumer software community when it comes to data formats, APIs, and tools. In Healthcare, software is built like it’s 1999. So not only did we have to build a lot of our own tools, but we also worked with the White House to improve the standards and tools available, especially when it comes to our medical records capabilities.

What is one thing you can’t live without, as you’re working on this start-up?
Our office space, generously provided by the SF SPCA, has been amazingl to keep us working effectively and on the same page. As far as technology is concerned, we use the Python language for almost everything on Kinsights, which gives us a great combination of power, productivity, and access to an amazing community of scientists and developers who have often solved our problems before. 

What would you say are the best and the worst things about being a startup?
The best thing about being a startup is the ability to really focus and pursue a vision as a team — we’re not in far-flung offices or communicating via spec docs or getting management’s approval; we’re sitting in the same room where we get amazing things done on a daily basis. The worst thing about a startup is, of course, the roller coaster of emotions that happen on a daily basis — while there are far more good things than bad that have happened to us, any given day can take a turn at any moment, and there’s no large support team down the hall to turn to. We have to do more with less, and that’s both an amazing and nerve-racking thing.

What is the single biggest misunderstanding about your product/company?
There are two large aspects to Kinsights: the community and the health records. Many people latch onto one or the other and wonder why we don’t drop the other piece, but the reality is that our product is miles more powerful because each of those pieces work together symbiotically. Without the records, we couldn’t suggest relevant content nearly as well, and without the community, no one would bother to keep their records updated. Our mission is to help parents make better decisions with the help of others who have been in their shoes before, and we couldn’t do it without both aspects of our product.

To learn more about Kinsights, check out their profile on angelMD.

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Your Startup Needs a Domain Name

Some startups that contact angelMD don’t yet have a domain name  – but every one of them should. Getting a domain name is not expensive or technically difficult, and it has several important benefits.

There’s no rule that says you absolutely have to own the exact domain name of your company or product name, but it’s preferable if you can. It’s less preferable, for example, to own acme-inc.com than it is acme.com if the name of your company is acme. Knowing if someone else owns the domain name you want is an important step in planning your company’s identity.

Why?

  1. When people start to hear about your company, they will search for it on the web. Having a domain name makes it easier to appear legitimate.
  2. Having a domain name allows you also lock in email addresses correlating to your company name. For example, if your company name is WellVu, and you own the domain welvu.com, then you can have email addresses like info@welvu.com and david@welvu.com. An official, branded email address gives a substantially different impression than a gmail, yahoo or AOL account.
  3. Finally, even if you are operating in ‘stealth’ mode right now, at some point you will want to have a website that is searchable. Having a domain name does not mean you have to put up a complex website, but it does allow you to put up a simple – even single page – web presence. Your own domain name will give you a level of control over your internet presence that you will not have otherwise.

When?

At the point when you’re thinking about your company name or product name, that’s the ideal time to look for domain names. Use the search feature on a domain registration site to look for domains related to ideas you have for company names. If you find a name that you’re considering, you should register it just to be safe. At $5 – $15, getting a few extra domain names for a year shouldn’t break anyone’s budget.

How?

Although some people refer to “buying” a domain name, what you’re really doing is “registering” it (i.e. renting). The average cost for a .com domain registration is usually under $15/year.  However, if a domain name you want is owned by someone else, they’re sometimes willing to transfer that domain to you. This can cost anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on several factors.

Godaddy.com is an easy and popular place to register domain names, but there are other options. You could also try networksolutions.com or register.com. If you go to one site and find the domain name you want is not available, you do not need to check other registration sites for the same domain. That information should be standard across all sites.

The internet is a part of every business in one way or another, so getting your domain name should be an early part of getting any company set up.

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Importance of Momentum

This is a blog post from CEO Tobin Arthur’s personal blog.

Building a company requires a lot of things, but one of the key elements is to stack milestones together and generate momentum. In the early stage of a startup the company needs to surround itself with “true believers.”

Leaders don’t particularly care who is involved in a venture…they care if the idea and the opportunity are sound. These are the folks a startup needs as the initial Seed investors. It’s hard to find them since 90% of people want to follow – they are looking for momentum (aka herd mentality). There is interesting neuroscienctific research that indicates how and why the herd mentality is developed and supported.

When a company begins to formally raise money…whether it’s a Seed Round, Preferred Series A, whatever, momentum is critical. Have you ever monitored a Kickstarter campaign or a sale on QVC? The objective for those pitching is to inject movement and interest as quickly as possible then create a snowball effect. Companies/products that lose momentum part way through the process rarely recover and fail to reach their goal or potential.

The same dynamics are at play in the fund-raising process. The first handful of investors should receive a financial benefit for being the first backers willing to step on the dance floor. These people are usually leaders who understand risk and appreciate the added financial incentive for stepping in sometimes a matter of weeks in advance of others. Remember back to school dances in junior high? At first the dance floor is empty…no one wants to be first. Once a few kids with confidence get moving, the floor fills up quickly. Fast forward, adults don’t behave any differently. The 90% are waiting to see the 10% move, then everyone moves.

Understanding this simple principle is paramount as you plan your funding campaign. Realize there are far more at play than having a good business plan and a compelling opportunity. You need a plan to get and build momentum.
More on this topic over the coming months….

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Featured Startup: LLTech

This week we would like to bring to light (pun intended) one of the world’s premier diagnostic imaging technologies: LLTech. Based in Paris, France, LLTech emerged in 2007 from research conducted by co-founder Claude Boccara . The resulting product is the Light-CT, a high-resolution imaging device for cellular-level biological tissue imaging. It performs non-invasive and non-destructive real-time optical biopsies.

lltech

LLTech boasts an impressive balance of Technological, Clinical and Commercial Expertise, with Bertrand Le Conte de Poly, Founder and CEO at the helm, LLTech is uniquely positioned to take the international imaging community by storm. Mr. Le Conte de Poly is an established leader in technology and product development in France and the US. He has managed several collaborations with major research and healthcare institutions such as M.D. Anderson, Institut Curie, and renowned Hospital Tenon.
The Light-CT system is a high-resolution (1µm 3D) pathology scanner that performs optical slicing beneath the tissue surface at selected depths. Within a few minutes, the tissue architecture and microstructure is revealed, in 2D and 3D, without damaging or modifying the sample under analysis.

In the context of tissue imaging for cancer diagnosis, LLTech anticipates the following benefits:

  • Better image quality: the full-field OCT technology employed by the Light-CT Scanner is the sole technique to offer axial resolution (i.e. in the vertical, z-axis) of 1 µm, which gives the best image clarity and precision.
  • Speed (rapidity of diagnosis): the technology currently enables image capture on a 1 cm2 region of tissue in 4 to 5 minutes, thereby enabling immediate quality control of biopsies.
  • Avoiding patient recall in the event of complex biopsies that require hospitalization and/or anesthesia.
  • Non-destructive technology that allows reuse of the biopsy: no need for dyes, contrast agents or tissue freezing
  • Analysis can be carried out remotely
  • Ease of use: LLTech products can be employed directly. No calibration or complex set-up procedure is necessary. User training is completed in under half a day.

Visit angelMD.co to see LLTech’s profile and more in depth video presentations on the Light-CT technology.

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Featured Startup: Cardiac Insight

Dr. David Linker, University of Washington cardiologist, has developed a heart monitor device that is poised to revolutionize stroke prevention. The Stealth Ambulatory Monitor is low cost, low profile and extremely accurate in diagnosing the most common cause of stroke, atrial fibrillation.

In 2010, Linker and CEO Brad Harlow founded Cardiac Insight to produce the device which, including batteries, is the size of a watchband and weighs as little as 10 quarters. It is attached to a patient’s chest with removable glue and can record a heartbeat for 7 days, uninterrupted. Once the Monitor is returned a report can be printed immediately in the physicians office. The report then reveals immediately if the patient suffers from atrial fibrillation.

Cardiac Insight plans to market their device to physicians for about $100 as a disposable Monitor. Compare this to the traditional Holter heart monitor that is cumbersome, has potentially unreliable data, and is expensive: the traditional device costs as much as $2,500.

The company has its license from Dr. Linker’s UW lab, and has attracted some well-known directors to its board, including former SonoSite chairman Kirby Cramer, former Physio-Control president Richard Martin and Dr. Robert Hauser, renowned cardiologist from the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

CEO Brad Harlow is excited to bring this device to market. It has the potential to reach millions of patients and Harlow says, “From an investment perspective, physicians understand it. Not only is it easy to see the value, they will use it themselves.” You can learn more about Cardiac Insight here.

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