According to the NIH, 71% of college students reported that stress and anxiety had increased due to COVID. Some of the most common stressors identified were concern over personal and familial health, difficulty concentrating, disruptive sleeping patterns, and decreased social interactions. However, only 5% of these respondents reported using mental health counseling services. Mantra Health is a digital mental health platform that partners with universities and colleges to make mental healthcare accessible to these students. The company offers at its core, a telehealth platform that provides students with access to licensed psychiatrists and therapy providers in the Mantra network and a back-end platform that allows the university to refer and monitor their students’ cases, supported by a robust EHR system. Students can now access vetted providers in minutes rather than weeks without worrying about cost; payment is a blend of insurance and university-sponsored. Mantra is live at campuses across six states presently with plans to provide nationwide coverage before the fall semester. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder & CEO Ed Gaussen to learn more about the importance of making mental health accessible for college students, the company’s future expansion plans, and recent seed extension from investors that include Canaan Partners, City Light Capital, and Baleon Capital, and Dr. Nitin Nanda.
The most effective treatment for cancer relies on early detection as this is before cancer has spread and is easiest to remove. The prognosis becomes bleaker when cancer has metastasized, referred to as Stage 4, and becomes difficult to control and cure. Therapies have traditionally been focused on treating primary cancer locations but these therapies are ineffective when cancer hasn’t been contained. Volastra Therapeutics is focused on developing cutting-edge therapies for chromosomal instability (CIN), an aberration from the normal 46 chromosomes. When CIN occurs, it’s one of the conduits that causes cancer to spread. Using a blend of machine learning, imaging, and bioinformatics to identify CIN, the Harlem-based company is able to pinpoint which cancers have a high likelihood of spreading and develop therapeutics accordingly. AlleyWatch caught up with Charles Hugh-Jones, MD to learn more about how Volstra’s technology is helping develop new therapeutics, future strategic plans, and recent seed extension round from investors that include Vida Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Droia Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, and Quark Venture.
The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift in many industries and healthcare has been a primary beneficiary. While the rise in telehealth comes top of mind, there have been a number of innovative IoT technologies that have been deployed during the pandemic to keep patients safer and care continuously like remote tracking of insulin levels and pacemakers or non-surgical robotics used for contactless disinfection. This has led to an increase in the number of connected devices being deployed in the field and ultimately these devices need to be secure. Cylera is a comprehensive cybersecurity and intelligent platform focused on IoT in the healthcare industry. The company focuses on asset management, risk analysis, and threat detection so that healthcare organizations can be safeguarded against any vulnerabilities as the adoption of devices increases. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Timur Ozekcin to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the state of the healthcare IoT market, and the company’s recent funding from Concord Health Partners and Maverick Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Dreamit Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Red Bear Angels, and Samsung NEXT.
20% of GenX required glasses during their childhood; today that is closer to 40% according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Find out how PAIR Eyewear is tackling this growing market.
The pandemic has shaped the future of remote healthcare as the importance of providing access to essential healthcare services grew dramatically as the world scrambled to move to digital. In fact, 23.6% of all healthcare interactions were via telehealth during the first four months of the pandemic, up from just .3% for the same period in 2019. Ro, founded in 2017, is one of the pioneering patient-driven telehealth companies that’s built to be the first point of contact when you need to see a physician. The technology allows you to seamlessly connect with a physician, nurse, or pharmacist in minutes instead of days or weeks, bringing the care experience online instead of at a doctor’s office. Ro also operates its own pharmacy fulfillment business, effectively allowing the company to support patient needs from the initial diagnosis to treatment/delivery and everything in between. Structured as a holding company that’s able to capitalize on a robust centralized platform, Ro operates a growing family of brands that redefine how we approach healthcare. Among them are Roman (digital health clinic for men), Rory (digital health for women), Zero (smoking cessation), Ro Pharmacy, Plenity (weight management), and Workpath (API to power on-demand, in-home healthcare). It’s safe to assume that the massive shift towards telehealth has provided Ro with valuable data on patient preferences that will fuel the company’s future verticals and next phase of expansion, armed with this latest round of funding.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Zachariah Reitano to learn more about the vision behind the business, how the rush to telehealth drives down healthcare costs, the company’s impressive traction, helping vaccinate New Yorkers, and Ro’s latest funding, which comes at a reported $5B valuation – 3x+ its valuation from its last round over the summer, and much, much more.
The benefits of clean eating are plentiful and include improved heart and brain health, weight control, stronger immune system, and increased energy levels just to name a few. But with our busy schedules, it’s often difficult to actually eat clean. This NYC startup makes it easier. Sakara Life provides a plant-based, completely organic nutrition service that’s ready-to-eat. Rather than building a simple meal delivery service, the company takes a holistic approach to nutrition by integrating modern science, ancient healing practices, and natural remedies into its offering, viewing “food as medicine”. Sakara also provides a growing set of functional snacks, supplements, and educational content to support the end-to-end customer journey focused on achieving full nutritional wellness. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounders and Co-CEOs Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s expanding product offering, building a CPG brand beyond meal kits, the company’s latest funding from investors that include One Better Ventures, Silas Capital, and Annox Capital.
The pandemic has exacerbated the mental health crisis that the US has been facing for many years. According to the US Census Bureau, 42% of Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depressions, an increase of 11% from 2019 levels. 15.8% of adult Americans are taking some form of mental health medication. Minded is a recently-launched psychiatric telehealth platform that allows patients to quickly and efficiently refill their mental health prescription needs. The availability of virtual psychiatric services and access to medication has been absolutely critical during the pandemic, at a time when people are struggling with an array of issues. The platform pricing starts at an accessible $30/mo fee versus having to pay several hundred dollars for a single in-person visit, no insurance is required, and deliveries for prescriptions are done in less than 24 hours. Minded is currently available throughout the city and on Nassau County and is currently providing medication for depression, anxiety, and insomnia with plans to expand both geographically and in conditions treated.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder, CEO, and serial entrepreneur David Ronick (cofounded Stash) to learn more about the launch of Minded, the company’s future plans, and latest round of funding led by Streamlined Ventures and Link Ventures.
It’s estimated that physicians leave $125B on the table annually due to poor billing practices. These losses ultimately make healthcare more expensive for the entire industry and all its participants. A number of companies have emerged to focus on revenue cycle management to track the financial status of a patient visit. Cedar focuses on the patient experience with its patient engagement and financial technology platform that simplifies the entire patient financial journey associated with healthcare visits. Used by healthcare systems, hospitals, and practice groups, the company’s flagship product, Cedar Pay, brings a personalized experience that gives patients a transparent understanding of all the financial ramifications of each and every healthcare interaction and ultimately improves collections for the providers. With the pandemic accelerating adoption of digital health solutions, Cedar quadrupled the size of its business in 2020 alone. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Dr. Florian Otto to learn more about how Cedar facilitates the digital shift in healthcare for both patients and providers, the company’s impressive traction since raising its Series C in June, future strategic growth plans, and the latest funding round from investors that include Tiger Global Management, a16z, Thrive Capital, and Concor Health Partners. This funding comes at a $3.2B valuation (4x the valuation in June) and also makes Cedar NYC’s newest unicorn.
Commercial surrogacy is now legal in New York. This opens up a brand new market with routine surrogacy costing anywhere from $100K-$250K per child. These fees cover the attorneys, surrogate agency, cost of in-vitro, and the health insurance and compensation for the surrogate. GoStork is the first marketplace focused on fertility that introduces transparency to the process. The platform features a free database of egg donors, presently numbering 10K+, IVF clinics, and 50+ surrogate agencies. Users can save countless hours by using GoStork for side-by-side comparisons, reviews, detailed cost breakdowns, and more. 1/8 couples experience infertility and the startup, founded in June of 2020, seeks to be the trusted resource to navigate this $36B market. AlleyWatch caught up with Eran Amir to learn about the inspiration for the business, the future plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Edith Simchi-Levi, Dr. Gad Levy, Dror Feldheim, and David Ring.
All human progress operating in service of bettered humanity is a response to one essential question: how do we evolve current knowledge into revolutionary concepts? In my four decades as an inventor, I have often found my response to this question to be one of medically-directed invention.
The immune system at its core is a complex system of cells, organs, and tissues. These components work in unison to fight infection in the form of microbes. Developing an understanding of how this intricate system works is critical in ensuring that society as a whole has adequate immune health to combat disease and infection. Immunai has built the largest database for immunology in the world using machine learning and AI to map the entire immune system at a granular and specific level. This data can be leveraged by the healthcare industry to provide better therapeutics that get to market faster. This understanding will also allow biotech companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to radically personalize therapeutics in the future. Immunai is initially focused on the oncology market but the offering is versatile can be applied to things like autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases like COVID-19. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Noam Solomon to learn more about the impact that Immunai is having in the understanding of the immune system, the company’s partnerships, experience fundraising during the pandemic, and latest funding round from investors that include Schusterman Family Investments, Duquesne Family Office, Catalio Capital Management, Dexcel Pharma, Viola Ventures, and TLV Partners.