Rubbing Elbows with the Future of Healthcare at the WSGR Medical Device Conference

Jens Francis

Chief Investment Officer


Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas and I arrived at the Sharon Park Golf Course at 3000 Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto —  the world’s ground zero for technology and healthcare investing — here at the invitation of Wilson Sonsini, Silicon Valley’s storied law firm. The topic is medical devices and the new, up-and-coming companies driven by breakthroughs in material, chemical, and data science.

In addition to the lawyers, bankers and other service providers, Orrin and I are joined by a select number of men and women who are building the next generation of innovative medical devices that stand to make a huge impact on people’s lives. As angelMD’s regional medical director, Orrin is a man-in-demand, engaged in discussions with one-after-another of these visionary entrepreneurs.

We talked with companies like Access Vascular, which is building a catheter out of novel bio-inert hydrophilic materials that prevents blood proteins and platelets from collecting and causing dangerous blockage during surgery. Fibralign is building a nano-particle scaffold for growing collagen cells that can be used post-surgically to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of lymphedema. Green Sun Medical is developing a dynamic, comfortable spinal brace for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis ( Invisalign® for the spine, if you will).

I’m proud to say that a number of the companies in attendance are part of the angelMD network, and that many of them had been funded (or are in the process of receiving funding) through our syndicates.

Having used angelMD to connect with investors, find clinical advisors or fund their latest capital round, those companies are off onto their next phase – back to the R&D bench with renewed vigor, off to file 510k or patent paperwork, or putting ink to paper on a distribution deal with an industry partner.

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Houston TMCx Demo Days 2017

June 8, 2017 was a lively day at the TMCx accelerator here in Houston, TX. Over the course of the afternoon, 24 medical startups took to the stage to perform five-minute pitches for a crowd of investors, physicians, and interested guests. Products presented ranged from new software intended to streamline intra-hospital communications (ConsultLink) to a revolutionary device designed to cut a pressure-reducing hole between ventricles in the heart to reduce the risk of heart failure (Alleviant Medical). Here are the highlights of the day:

Treatment Process Improvement:

M&S Biotics – Joshua Mecca and Co. want to put an RFID tracker on every surgical implement on every operating room in the country, allowing hospital staff to better track the cleaning and storage of devices, as well as detect trends of use and non-use to consolidate inventories, saving facilities millions.

Stroll Health – Purveyors of the “ of healthcare,” the Stroll team has created a platform that simplifies the booking of imaging procedures by giving the patient the ability to choose a location based on reputation, cost, and proximity, which will save the patient time and improve follow-through.

Medifies – The next company in Nate Pagel’s long legacy of startup success, Medifies is an incredibly simple, HIPAA-compliant application that sends real-time updates about operation procedures  directly to the mobile devices of families and loved ones. The Medifies team seeks to eliminate the dreaded “waiting room experience” and improve physicians’ satisfaction ratings and hospitals’ patient retentions.

ConsultLink – Alexander Pastuszak’s company had its beginnings in attempting to improve communication between hospital staff members at shift handoffs, but grew into a creating a wildly adaptable multi-faceted platform that can operate a slew of patient outcome and hospital efficiency-improving applications.

Medication Management:

CNSDose – This team seeks to end the dangerous and ineffective trial-and-error process by which antidepressant drugs are prescribed, and instead focus on a physiological and individually-tailored approach to pick the right medication for each patient. CMO Dr. Harris Eyre’s showed his research indicating that genetically guided dosing massively improves a patient’s chances of remission.

Ward MM – Stuart Ward explained that his company seeks to address the 106,000 deaths and $42B wasted every year as a result of medication errors. Ward MM’s system of training, medication reviews, and real-time reporting is intended to reduce adverse side-effects and allergic reactions while improving and expediting recovery.

Artificial Intelligence:

InContext Reporting – Robert Grzeszczuk memorably demonstrated his voice-activated software on stage, showing thousands of spectators in real time just how fast his rules system could evaluate and correct a radiology report. His system has the potential to save radiologists thousands of hours in imaging reviews.

Behavioral & Neurological:

Psious – Xavier Palomer and his Barcelona-based team’s virtual reality treatment platform incorporates classic behavioral psychology with new-age VR technology to create a quick, effective, and affordable exposure therapy system for a wide array of mental health disorders. With this new, innovative approach to mental health, Psious hopes to assist a significant portion of the population that traditional medicine has failed.


A Great Weekend for Digital Health at TMCx:

angelMD Regional Medical Director Dr. J. Michael Bennett said, “It is a remarkable thing when you actually experience a paradigm shift, and it was clearly evident by the turnout this week at the TMCx that there is an awakening in the medical community regarding innovation in healthcare. 24 digital health companies pitched novel digital technologies to a standing room only crowd while simultaneously streaming to over 2,000 participants. This is clear evidence that there is significant interest in the investment and fostering of this healthcare innovation movement. The AngelMD team was in attendance and had successful meetings with many of these companies: for more information on how AngelMD and the Texas medical center are disrupting the Houston medical scene go to

We here in the Houston office were excited to see some of our member companies giving engaging performances and gain exposure to more of the fabulous resources the Texas Medical Center has to offer. As Dr. Bennett said, the collective scientific and commercial accomplishments of all of our neighbors who presented yesterday speak to strength of the environment that is emerging here in Houston. We can’t wait to see what the next cohort has to offer!

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NFL Presents: 1st and Future

The NFL and TMCx accelerator (Texas Medical Center) joined forces on Saturday to produce the second annual 1st and Future startup pitch event. Members of the angelMD team had the opportunity to participate helping to prepare the startups for the big event and attending the event itself. The venue was TMCx where angelMD has a growing Houston office.

The event featured 9 companies competing in 3 categories.  Texas Governor Greg Abbott introduced the event with a speech that demonstrated his commitment to healthcare innovation in Texas and a command of the Texas Medical Center operations specifically.

Xconomy provides a nice recap of 1st and Future HERE.

Meanwhile, across town the NFL Players Association was hosting another startup pitch event where players are able to view and invest in startups. This provides another great opportunity for startups to gain investors who can help guide and support the company. The coalition formed to create this deal flow is called OneTeamCollective and a recap of their event can be found HERE.

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Listen.MD – Open Syndicate

angelMD is enjoying working with Listen.MD in its syndicate, which launched in conjunction with our Digital Health Challenge.  Please send an email ( to be included in exclusive communications regarding the angelMD syndicate for Listen.MD

Listen.MD’s patent-pending Intelligent Digital Scribe will provide a 10x return on investment for providers by intelligently automating the functions of a human scribe. Patrick Leonard sheds some more light on his innovative enterprise:

  1. Where did the idea for Listen.MD originate?

After spending 6 years building iTriage to serve healthcare consumers, I wanted to work on improving the experience for healthcare providers. After our second daughter was born, my wife and I talked about how challenging it is for our pediatrician and other doctors – how much time they spend on the computer and how rushed they they appear. When I learned that doctors now spend more than 50% of their day doing data entry, I knew that was where we could make a difference.

  1. What are a few of the key characteristics that make your team uniquely qualified to make this a success?

The Listen.MD team has unparalleled experience delivering industry-leading digital health solutions including iTriage and MedPassage. iTriage has been used by more than 20 million individuals and still has a 4.5 star rating after 7 years. We have delivered some of the most widely used and highly rated digital health experiences in the world. Healthcare providers rarely get that exceptional consumer-grade user experience – we are bringing this experience to them.

  1. In one or two sentences, what is the problem you are solving?

Physicians now spend 50% of their time doing data entry into electronic health records systems and only 12% of their time with patients, resulting in physician burnout and over $40 billion in lost productivity. The medical scribe market is large and growing fast, but most practices and hospitals can’t afford to pay the cost of a scribe to do data entry for their physicians. Listen.MD’s patent-pending Intelligent Digital Scribe will provide a 10x return on investment for providers by intelligently automating the functions of a human scribe.

  1. What are some of your biggest challenges to date?

We continually push ourselves to make the merger of the technology and user experience so smooth that it is seamless with the typical clinical flow for most providers. This is a continual process. We believe we have created a platform that achieves this goal and we keep this concept of providing an exceptional user experience as a core value for Listen.MD.

  1. Describe three things that drive the growth of your company.

Listen.MD is positioned for exponential growth over the next few years based on the strong physician led demand for change in how EHRs are accessed and data entered, the need for increased revenue and decreased practice cost for large systems, as well as the unique low friction to expand our platform globally.

I. Physician demand for change

If you talk to almost any healthcare provider one of the first things they will mention is their frustration with the large amount of time they spend entering data. Listen.MD will significantly decrease the time the physician or helathcare provider will spend doing direct data entry. We believe this physician lead demand for better solution to data entry is growing each day and validating the need for a solution like Listen.MD.

II. Health system need to increase revenue and reduce cost

As the tighter demands and margins are placed on health systems and providers they are looking for ways to improve efficiency in providing care. Scribes have been utilized as a way to improve care efficiency by allowing the physicians to focus more directly on patient care versus data entry. Human scribes are expensive – Listen.MD makes scribe functions available at a fraction of the cost.

III. Global expansion

Around the world, doctors and clinical staff have conversations with patients and need to document those conversations. The goals and workflows are very similar. Listen.MD is built for global healthcare delivery. We will first expand into other English-speaking markets and then add support for additional languages as well as language translations.

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Digital Health Challenge – Houston Recap

tmcx-dhcThank you to everyone that came out to the TMCx facility in Houston Friday night!

5 digital health startups from around the US presented to an audience of physicians and investors. Feedback from attendees was extremely positive for both the startups presenting and the TMCx facility where it was held. Attendees were welcomed with bagpipe music, food and drinks followed by 10 minute presentations from each of the startups.

Over half of the attendees weren’t familiar with the TMCx mission let alone having seen the operations. The audience also included members of the local innovation and investment groups including Rice Alliance, Houston Angel Network, University of Houston, Goose and many of the 54 TMC institutions.

A big thank you to the TMCx team that made the event possible including Erik Halvorsen, Jackie Gilford, Courtney Cogdill and Regina Johnson.

Attendees interested in receiving more information on any or all 5 of the companies presenting can click HERE.

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