Microsoft announces health-focused accelerator in Israel

By Aditi Pai
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bing-health-and-fitnessMicrosoft announced a new accelerator this week, in partnership with medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD), that will be focused entirely on health startups. Microsoft expects this to be a one-off, health-focused class of startups and it doesn't plan to host another health-focused accelerator program again.

The accelerator will be located in the Microsoft Ventures' office in Tel Aviv, Israel. Startups accepted into the program have the option to receive a $25,000 convertible note from BD as well as access to Microsoft technology through Microsoft's BizSpark plan, including licenses for Microsoft products, free Windows Store and Windows Phone developer accounts, and access to investors and advisors.

Microsoft also advertised the success of the company's previous Tel Aviv graduates, which happen to include at least one health startup. According to the company, 28 of the 33 startups that graduated from the accelerator raised an average of $1.2 million in new capital. 

To qualify for the program, startups must be at the seed round stage and must have raised less than $700,000. The startup should also have between two and six employees and have a major software component in their product.

One startup that has previously graduated from Microsoft's Tel Aviv accelerator is Medisafe, which offers a cloud-based app system for medication adherence. Patients using Medisafe get a reminder to take their meds on their Android or iPhone app, and are then prompted to record doses when they take them. If they don’t indicate that they’ve taken their meds, a series of friends and family is informed and can then take action. In September 2013, Medisafe raised $1 million in its first round funding.

Registration for Microsoft Tel Aviv accelerator ends on July 24th, and the program is set to begin on September 7th, 2014.

Microsoft has been working on digital health products for many years. Last summer, for example, Microsoft announced Bing Health and Fitness, an app that tracks diet, health and exercise. The app syncs to Microsoft HealthVault, which brings in data from other health trackers such as blood glucose monitors, electronic scales, and activity and medical monitors. Bing Health and Fitness is a part of Windows 8.1, the OS that now runs on all Windows devices including computers, tablets and phones.