2013: The Year for Health Care & Education in Silicon Alley

The start of a new year is always exciting, especially when you are living in New York City. The city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO for short) released a report in late December stating that it expects the unemployment rate to drop from 8.8% to 6.1% by 2016 with health care (Forbes) and education (Business Insider) leading the growth. Not a bad time to be living in the City That Never Sleeps. If you are interested in working at a start-ups and have a passion for health care or education reform you’d be crazy not to be living in New York City. Some of the industries brightest disruptors are blossoming in New York City.

The Health Care Players:

Medivo was founded by physicians and healthcare entrepreneurs who shared the vision of saving and improving lives through faster and easier access to quality health care. Medivo helps patients manage their health and make visits with doctors more productive by providing simple apps for symptom tracking, easy-to-understand explanations of your lab results, and personalized health information. Medivo also supports doctors with organized clinical information to help them provide better care. The company raised a series A round in November 2011, led by Safeguard Scientifics and the ARC Angel Fund.

ZocDoc has been on a mission to improve the public’s access to healthcare in this country (and eventually the world). Every month, over 2.5 million patients log-on to use the services ZocDoc in over 1,600 cities. Many call ZocDoc the best app for finding a doctor or dentist. The company’s most recent product, ZocDoc Check-In, allows patients to fill out their paperwork online in before their appointment, and a Spanish-language version called ZocDoc en Español is also available. Since ZocDoc’s founding in 2007, ZocDoc has raised $95M led most recently by DST Global and Goldman Sachs.

Blueprint Health Accelerator is an accelerator and co-working space (12,000 sq. ft space in SoHo) for aspiring entrepreneurs who dream of their future companies disrupting the healthcare industry. In addition to the 150+ mentors (successful healthcare entrepreneurs and executives from companies such as Cleveland Clinic, Cardinal Health, Weight Watchers and CVS), Blueprint now partners with Verizon, Humana and Aetna and will leverage key decision makers from those organizations. Blueprint Health opened its doors in 2011 and has not looked back sense. Blueprint debuted its third class of start-ups just the other week. To date they have helped fund 29 companies of which 80% go on to raise additional capital.

Fitocracy has a mission to make fitness a more fun and addictive experience, a social network that empowers and motivates anyone to reach their fitness goals through gamification, community, and personal guidance. According to Facebook there are over 50,000 users actively registered for Fitocracy (and quickly growing). In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Mallory Hagan Miss America (from our very state of New York) talked about how she used the App to get into bikini shape for the pageant. Fitocracy is available on both Android and iPhone devices and can be downloaded for free.

Other NYC healthcare start-ups to watch in 2013:
Zeel – the ZocDoc for health & wellness professionals.
Greatist – is working to build the first truly trusted health & wellness brand online to help the world (and especially those 18-35) think of preventive health in a healthier way. Launched in 2011, the website receives 1.5 million unique visitors per month (and growing).
New York Digital Health Accelerator – a program run by the New York eHealth Collaborative and the New York City Investment Fund for early and growth stage digital health companies that are developing cutting edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers. The program will provide up to $300,000 of funding per company from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors.
iCouch – a platform for mental health professionals to provide video counseling services (Bluepoint Health portfolio company)
FORCE Therapeutics – founded in 2010, FORCE Therapeutics designs and builds best in class, mobile applications for physical therapists and their patients.

The Education Players:

2U, Inc partners with universities to build, administer, and market online degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate level (see Semester Online). They supply universities (such as USC, Georgetown and American University) with eathe tools, expertise, capital, and global recruiting needed to compete in a space currently dominated by for-profit institutions. 2U (formerly 2tor) was founded by education veterans and has raised over $90M to date. Check out the graphic below comparing Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley. It was created by 2U’s partnership with UNC Kenan-Flagler, MBA@UNC an online MBA program.

Knewton built an Adaptive Learning Platform that customizes standardized educational content to meet the unique needs of each student. Knewton analyzes learning materials based on thousands of data points, concepts, structure, difficulty level, media format and uses algorithms to piece together the ideal bundle of content for students. Today over 190 countries use the Adaptive Learning Platform. In late 2012, it was announced that Knewton would be partnering with publishing giant John Wiley & Sons Knewton has raised $55M to date.

Schoology provides a SaaS course management system (also known as an LMS) built on a social networking platform, marketed toward K-12 schools and higher education. Schoology is helping to make online education a collective effort between everyone involved in a student’s education. Over 30,000 organizations are currently powered by Schoology’s technology. The company has raised $8.25M from venture capitalists to fund their growth.

Codecademy is a web-based programming tutorial designed to teach JavaScript, HTML, CSS, JQuery and Python for free. Recently, Codeacademy announced that they’ll begin to offer lessons on building applications from APIs (from companies such as YouTube, NPR, SoundCloud, Bitly and Stripe). The company has raised just under $13M to date.

Other NYC education start-ups to watch in 2013:
Skillshare is a global marketplace for people to learn from others. People can offer classes to others on any type of skill, from baking cupcakes to accounting. Skillshare was founded in late 2010 and has gone on to raise $3.65M in funding to support its growth.
Lore (formerly Coursekit). The website allows anyone to easily create a course website with assignments, calendar, syllabus, and discussion tools. Today Lore is powering the learning management systems of over 600 schools. Since their founding in 2011, Lore has raised $6.02M from notable investors (TechStars, Peter Thiel and IA Ventures).
Noodle founded by John Katzman (The Princenton Review and 2U), Noodle Education is on a mission to change the way people connect with learning and the way education programs and schools connect with students by developing a recommendation engine and social network for learning. As of 2012, it was reported that the company had received $3M in angel investments.
TutorSpree has a mission is to make sure that all students find their perfect tutors. The website currently features over 7,000 tutors. A graduate of YCombinator, TutorSpree has raised $1M.
Rethink Education is a VC fund that invests in progressive growth-stage companies that are at the forefront of the education technology industry and have the capacity to make positive impacts on their communities. To date, the fund has invested in eight companies.
Socratic Labs is an edtech accelerator dedicated to entrepreneurship in education. The accelerator opened its first cohort in December of 2012.

Silicon Valley vs Silicon Alley