Rock Health launches incubator program in Boston

By Brian Dolan
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BostonSan Francisco-based digital health incubator Rock Health announced plans to expand with a new program in Boston set to kickoff this June, according to the Boston Globe's tech columnist Scott Kirsner. Unlike the five-month long spring and fall programs that Rock Health offers in San Francisco, the Boston program's duration will be three months: June to August. While the programs have different mentors and locations, at first blush they appear to be the same otherwise.

Why did Rock Health choose Boston for its second location?

"It's an obvious region of innovation and a longstanding leader in healthcare," Rock Health Managing Director Halle Tecco told MobiHealthNews in an email. "Many of our entrepreneurs are from Boston (including members of Care at Hand, Cardiio, Omada, Agile Diagnosis, and BrainBot). And there are great technologies coming out of the labs and universities that we'd like to support and help commercialize."

Harvard Medical School's health media group director Ed Coburn helped Rock Health launch the Boston program, according to the Globe. Kirsner also reports that five local entrepreneurs have already signed up to serve as mentors: Jason Jacobs of RunKeeper, Ben Rubin of Zeo, Erika Pabo of Harvard Medical School, Sonny Vu of Misfit Wearables, and Jacob Sattelmair of WellFrame. Also, former MIT Media Lab director Frank Moss and Keas co-founder and CEO George Kassabgi, who have served as mentors in the San Francisco program in the past, will also participate in the Boston program.

Last December Rock Health announced its second class of startups, the “Spring Class of 2012,” for its San Francisco program. The class included 15 companies that began the incubator’s San Francisco program, which lasts five months, this past January.

Rock Health offers startups a $20,000 grants (in exchange for no equity), mentorship from health policy and business experts, office space, and more. The non-profit was founded by Harvard Business School graduates in March 2011. It announced its first class of startups in June 2011.

During an interview with TechCrunch last year, Tecco said that of the 13 startups in its first class of startups, “a good handful of them have already received funding.” Earlier this year one Rock Health team -- Pipette -- was "acqhired" by MIT Media Lab spinout Ginger.io. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rock Health Boston is currently accepting applications for startups, and it appears to be looking for mentors, too.

More details here.

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