Three healthcare startups in RGA's connected device accelerator

By Jonah Comstock
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Respii Respii, from QoL Devices

A new tech accelerator, focused exclusively on wirelessly connected devices, announced its first class -- and three health-related companies are among the ranks. The RGA Accelerator, a collaboration of TechStars and digital consulting firm R/GA, launched in September with a special focus on "startups that are creating physical products and connected applications."

The companies will receive up to $120,000 in funding and access to an R/GA team that will help with design, branding, and engineering services including prototype development, logo design, and marketing campaign strategy. They'll also get working space in R/GA's campus in New York City.

Class members will have two chances to demo their Internet of Things products: an invite-only launch event at SXSW 2014 and a demo day in New York City.

The first health-related company in the class is wearable baby sensor company Owlet. Owlet's wearable device launched in late August. It tracks a baby’s oxygen, heart rate, sleep, temperature and rollover alerts. It is hypoallergenic, connects via Bluetooth Smart and doesn’t use adhesives. For phones without Bluetooth Smart, the sock also comes with a USB plug-in.  Owlet’s companion app is available on iOS and Android. Owlet raised $227,000 in a crowdfunding campaign on its website, and is now taking website preorders for $250.

QoL Devices is working on its first product, a connected breathing coach called Respii. When users breathe into the device, it collects data about the breathing and sends it to the user's smartphone.

"Respii provides accountable data-driven Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT) and Respiratory Therapy, for improved treatment of over 50 million people with respiratory challenges such as Asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), post operative recovery and CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)," the company writes on its website.

The final health company in the class, Qualia Health, is in the chronic disease tracking space, although not much information is available on the company beyond that. Recent Pew data found that people with chronic conditions are more likely to track their health than people without chronic conditions.