Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here


Hope and Headaches for Digital Health

Health care represents about 18 percent of the U.S. economy, and Malay Gandhi is trying to change it one $100,000 check at a time.

Mr. Gandhi is the San Francisco managing director for Rock Health, a nonprofit incubator and seed funding provider that has invested in 50 digital health companies, including Doctor on Demand and Lift Labs, which was bought by Google in September.

It’s hoping to be the Y Combinator of health apps, amid growing competition. Y Combinator has been funding more digital health startups of its own, and other seed funds such as the New York Digital Health Accelerator are entering the space.

Rock Health raised a $3.3 million fund from Kleiner Perkins, the Mayo Clinic and others. The firm, which invests $100,000 at a time, is planning to close a new fund soon.

Rock Health estimates that more than $3 billion has been invested in digital health companies so far in 2014, more than triple the full-year total for 2011. 

Despite the influx of cash and well-known players like FitBit, digital health is in its early stages. App developers are still trying to figure out how to establish security protocols to satisfy federal regulations and encourage consumers to trust them with new streams of data coming from devices such as FitBit’s wristband and the forthcoming Apple Watch.

The Information chatted with Mr. Gandhi about where digital health is headed and the challenges startups face in an industry where distribution and payment channels are still controlled by incumbents. Edited excerpts below.

What Is The Information?

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting, stories, and exclusives you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Venture Capital

VC Firms Try New Recruiting Tactics to Hire Women

By Serena Saitto

Venture Capital

Subscribers Say Sequoia, Benchmark Are Valley’s Top VC Firms

By Serena Saitto and Mike Sullivan

Venture Capital Startups Uber/Lyft

How Many Board Seats Is Too Many?

By Alfred Lee

Asia Uber/Lyft

How SoftBank’s Interest Cost One Startup Other Potential Investors

By Serena Saitto