The University of Washington Bothell hosted Startup Weekend Health this past weekend, where a pitch for a service connecting patients with clinical drug trials came out on top.
The contest saw 95 participants divided into 12 teams to develop health-focused products, devices, and services.
Event organizer Brian Crouch said the event drew a respectable crowd, especially for a new focus area and venue. He has his sights set on a “med-tech device edition” for next year.
“We knew it was going to be a slog to try and find medical device (ideas) because the design work can be very intensive,” Crouch said. “ But we had two actual devices developed over the weekend.”
The event’s five judges concluded the winning pitch was Entrada, a software-as-a-service product that would connect patients with upcoming clinical trials.
“This is a huge problem on many levels within healthcare,” said event judge Richard Shea, a board member for UW Bothell. “I think this could go many ways, and how you actually piece this all together and where you start and how big you build it will be important to really meeting and serving the broad need.”
Judge Rebecca Norlander, cofounder and CEO of Health123, said she was impressed with the potential level of disruption the idea had in the healthcare space.
“As somebody who’s been involved in healthcare IT for several years, any time you can find tech that massively disrupts the healthcare industry, it’s a good thing because the ripple effect is huge,” Norlander said. “You’re effectively cutting out the provider middle man, and letting consumers and pharma(ceutical companies) work together to find a more efficient and elegant solution to testing drugs and seeing how they might offer hope.”
Paul Goodrich, managing director at Madrona Venture Group and a contest judge, also had good things to say about Entrada, not the least was the idea to bring a large, cumbersome database to the public in a more accessible way.
“You’re bringing that database into the realm of people who can use it,” Goodrich said. “In essence, you’re creating a marketplace, (because) you have individuals who are raising their hands and volunteering their information for your database, creating value for you. The more extensive the database, the higher the likelihood that there’s a match from the drug company.”
The second-place winner was a service called LyfeKare, which would alert users of interferences between prescription medications, supplements, and foods in an effort to decrease negative drug interactions.
Third place went to NeuVizion, a mobile app that would provide an eyeglasses prescription. The idea received high praise from Norlander. “If you play this right, you’re majorly disrupting an entire market,” he said.
Crouch, whose focus isn’t on events but developing a startup community in Bothell, isn’t washing his hands of Startup Weekend events. He said he’s now focused on organizing a one-day maker event this fall.
“My hope is to do a small-scale workshop later this fall with the Innovation Zone,” Crouch said. “A one-day workshop with a hackathon focused on one task with an array of sensors and equipment, and come up with something really solid by the end of one day.”