Here are the winners of the INVEST Pitch Perfect contest

Painless Stop Smoking

The MedCity INVEST Pitch Perfect contest saw some compelling presentations by four groups of entrepreneurs seeking to make a difference in healthcare. They addressed myriad pain points in care coordination, care delivery, the patient experience and improving the collection and analysis of data for clinical decision support.

The conference was hosted in partnership with MHIN.

Startups competed across four tracks. Teams of three judges evaluated startups on criteria that included completeness of overall plan, business idea, market opportunity, business model and the founder(s)’ experience. Here’s a look at the winners. who MedCity News Editor in Chief Arundhati Parmar presented with awards, and some insight as to how judges reached their decisions.

Care Coordination and Value-based Care (Sponsored by UnityPoint Health Ventures)

Health systems and payers are increasingly interested in improving outcomes and patient satisfaction while reducing costs. Startups in this category use digital tools to address care delivery and coordination and clinical decision support with a goal to advance the ultimate move to value-based care.

Shalen De Silva of Vincere Health with Arundhati Parmar of MedCity News

Winner: Vincere Health —  Shalen De Silva, co-founder and CEO

Judge comments:

Justin Norden, a partner with GSR Ventures and a judge for the track, said the Vincere Health team is tackling one of the most difficult and important problems: smoking cessation.

“What makes them really exciting is that not only do they target Medicaid populations that have traditionally been ignored by digital health solutions, but also they have created innovative care models where Vincere only takes payment on successful treatment. We need to see more solutions like Vincere that work with our most vulnerable populations and are singularly focused on health outcomes.”

Diagnostics 2.0

Convenience is the name of the game especially after the pandemic when it comes to the world of diagnostics. Startups in this category are developing either at-home tests (be it kits with results immediately available or kits that can be used to test at home and mailed out easily) or point-of-care tests with results available soon after.

Arundhati Parmar of MedCity News and Bryan Nolan of myBiometry

Winner: myBiometry — Bryan Nolan, Founder and CEO

Judge comments:

Michelle Snyder, Partner, McKesson Ventures: “There is a significant opportunity to improve the lives of people suffering from asthma through more cost effective, proactive care.  I was impressed by how myBiometry is able to engage patients before symptoms occur and leverage care coaches for better condition management.”

Vijay Patel, CVS Health Ventures Partner: “I think that myBiometry’s comprehensive approach that combines guideline-based coaching, diagnostics and predictive models has the potential to empower patients to better manage their asthma symptoms. “


As digital transformation is happening across the board, Big Pharma is looking to go beyond the pill. Startups in this category are using digital tools to help every aspect of the pharmaceutical industry, be it drug development, clinical trials, manufacturing, digital therapeutics, patient engagement and more.

From left: Monica Schmiede and Jessica Thurmond of Athelo; Arundhati Parmar of MedCity News; and David Suendermann-Oeft of

Winners: (tie):

Athelo Health Monica Schmiede and Jessica Thurmond, co-founders David Suendermann-Oeft, founder and CEO

Judge comments:

Jessica Federer, Partner, Boston Millennia Partners: “Athelo Health’s personalized approach to support women with cancer supports improved awareness, adherence, and even better outcomes. She puts the person front and center in a way that empowers individuals fighting cancer, and does so with an inspiring dedication.

“As we begin to see more neuro interventions coming to the market, the solution that delivers becomes increasingly important. Having reliable assessments on demand to support diagnostics and monitoring moves the entire field forward.”

Jeff Weness, Head of Digital Opportunities and Business Intelligence, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies (U.S.): “I was impressed by Jessica and her commitment to helping all women going through the many unknowns of cancer treatment. Athelo’s virtual model should improve accessibility and lower costs.”

Remote Patient Monitoring and Smart Devices

The medical devices world is getting digitized to help patients and physicians manage their diseases better, with even implantable devices having connectivity via Bluetooth and wifi. Startups in this category are developing smart devices — whether wearable or permanently implantable — with connectivity to apps and disease management platforms.

Cathy Skinner of NXgenPort

Catherine Liao of Blumio

Winners (tie): NXgenPort Inc Cathy Skinner, co-founder

Blumio — Catherine Liao, co-founder and CEO

Judge comments:

Tom Olenzak, Managing Director, Strategic Investing, Independence Blue Cross:

“Both of these companies had quite impressive CEOs who able to succinctly define the company’s product and strategy.  The companies are addressing two very specific unmet clinical needs.  Their technology not only appears effective, but equally important is that the companies have a well-thought-out approach for introducing their products into the clinical workflow.  And finally, both companies understand the necessity for a clear strategy to address the business side of their companies with reasoned strategy.”

Dipa Mehta, VP Corporate Venture Capital and Innovation, Advocate Aurora Health: “Both companies also are in large markets (oncology and maternal health) with a clear view on reimbursement for their technologies.”

Photos: Walter Lim of Breaking Media 

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