HCSC, five providers sponsor Healthbox's third Chicago accelerator program

By Aditi Pai

CubiiDigital health accelerator Healthbox has added eight companies to its next accelerator, which will be located in Chicago.

This is the third Chicago-based Healthbox accelerator. Chicago is also home base for Healthbox Global Partners, the parent company of Healthbox since 2013.

Healthbox partnered with a number of companies to launch the class, including insurance company Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and five providers: Advocate Health Care, Ascension, Community Health Network, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare and Ridgeview Medical Center.

In April, HCSC was part of a $7 million investment round in Healthbox Global Partners. It was the first time strategic investors invested in Healthbox’s parent company.

“The market is crowding with healthcare startups touting their newest disruptive solution that is addressing healthcare’s largest challenge,” Healthbox CEO and founder Nina Nashif said in a statement. “The eight companies entering Healthbox Chicago though, have really differentiated themselves not only by their technology and passion, but through a solid understanding of the strategic support they need to validate their product in the market and grow a solid business.”

Here are the eight companies in the accelerator: 

Chicago, Illinois-based 3rd Eye Health has developed a platform that allows healthcare providers to exchange information with each other using wearable devices, like Google Glass. The company's first product is called EmergencyAssist. It aims to help emergency medical service employees treat patients and connect with doctors to see if a trip to the hospital is necessary.

Chicago, Illinois-based Benecure, which ran a crowdfunding campaign that closed October 2013, has developed a platform that aims to encourage behavior change in patients with chronic diseases -- with an initial focus on hypertension. The company's platform uses gamification, health tracking, and incentives to help these patients change their behavior. At the end of the company's crowdfunding campaign, they had raised $2,000 of their hoped for $50,000 goal.

Chicago, Illinois-based FitnessCubed created an elliptical machine that users can exercise with while sitting at a desk. Users can view their elliptical activity data on a companion app and also sync data into the app from other fitness trackers. The device was available on their Kickstarter campaign website for $299 but the company said it will retail for $349. Through Kickstarter, FitnessCubed raised $293,000, over three times more than they aimed for.

Salt Lake City, Utah-based Liyen developed a spacer for people with asthma to use. The device, according to the company, "increases compliance through innovative design and user customization".

Atlanta, Georgia-based MyCareText is a platform that offers healthcare providers a way to send email and text messages to patients and their caregivers.

Chicago, Illinois-based Luna Lights has developed a lighting system for houses that aims to help older people avoid falls when getting up in the middle of the night. When the user sits up in bed, a pad under the bed sends an alert through the system to light up the pathway to the bathroom or another destination a user wants to go.

Houston, Texas-based Secure Healing offers a software system that helps physicians and other healthcare providers comply with privacy regulations.

Chicago, Illinois-based Varsa Health has created a platform that allows behavioral health professionals gather data from patient surveys, wearable devices, and patient caregivers and family.