Giving Startups their Big Start: How Developer Challenges Make the Difference

The best way to get your startup noticed is to have your product validated by experts in the industry. As a young startup connecting with that community of experts can be quite difficult. Participating in a developer challenge can not only lead to funding and credibility but provides a valuable testing ground for products.

What is a developer challenge? These virtual competitions build on the concept of their in-person cousin the code-a-thon/hack-a-thon, prompting teams to develop technologies to address some of healthcare’s most complex issues. Over 3 – 6 months teams work on design concepts and prototypes for a variety of challenges sponsored by all types of organizations from charitable foundations to for-profit companies. Final submissions are judged by a panel of industry experts and winners are awarded cash prizes.

Health 2.0 has run over 75 challenges in the past 4 years and awarded over $6M in funding to burgeoning digital health companies. But its not only money that draws teams to these competitions, participants gain validation of their product, publicity and market access.Reflecting on the past few years, we want to share the successes of these challenges.

Ready? Here we go!

Adhere Tech

adhtchThe Concept: Smart pill bottles that both work to increase patient medical adherence and engage patients to better manage their own health. The bottles can tell when doses are missed, remind patients by texts and calls as well as sound notifications from the bottle itself. It also collects feedback on missed doses.

Innovation at Work: AdhereTech keeps busy. They were finalists in three Health 2.0 Developer Challenges:the Henry Ford Innovation Challenge, Innovate NYC, and Pilot Health Tech 2013 (in which they partnered with Weill Cornell Medical Center). A cause for celebration, they just raised $1.75 million in Series A funding. AdhereTech is currently piloting their product with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and are in negotiations with major pharmaceutical companies to deploy their product.

Flatiron Health

The Concept: OncologyCloud organizes and transforms patient data in real time. It’s big data software that provides the most comprehensive view of a patient’s experience in the oncology office. OncologyCloud helps oncologists improve the financial and care performance of their practices.

Innovation at Work: Flatiron Health was a  Pilot Health Tech 2013 winner! One of the biggest successes in digital health this year, they’ve currently raised a total of $138 million. They are also the largest investment that Google Ventures has ever made in a healthcare startup.


The Concept: A web-based platform used to assess patients’ social and behavioral health needs, refer patients to appropriate resources to meet Healthify is a startup founded by two Hopkins alumni that creates an electronic health record system that records information on whathose needs, and engage patients around their social determinants via interactive texting. The platform also provides dashboards for managed care plans and case managers to use, allowing them to better manage the social needs in their population and to efficiently search for social services.

Innovation at Work: Healthify is on a roll! They received $100K from the InvestMaryland Challenge and joined 10 other startups as a winner of Pilot Health Tech 2014, where Healthify will partner with VillageCare to pilot their technology. Congratulations are also in order as they have just taken first place, in the California HealthCare Foundation “Putting Care In Context” Design Challenge. See their product in action at the Health 2.0 Annual Fall Conference where Healthify will demo their solution.

Interested in learning more about Health 2.0’s Developer Challenges? Contact us at challenges@health2con.com