HITLAB BLOG

BloomerTech Wins Grand Prize at HITLAB’s Women’s Health Tech Challenge

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On Thursday May 21st, four founders of FemTech startups took the virtual stage, pitching to a panel of judges and investors for prizes and investment opportunities valued up to ten thousand dollars.

The third HITLAB Women’s Health Tech Challenge Pitch Day was highly anticipated and saw registrations reach maximum capacity days before the event took place. Chosen from among nearly one hundred FemTech applicants, the four finalists selected to pitch on May 21st were DioptraINFIUSSPresque, and BloomerTech

One in every ten digital health solutions is founded, owned and operated by a woman. The difference is staggering when considering 40% of c-suite executives in healthcare organizations are female. This significant and irrefutable disparity is the reason why women’s health issues are often unmet or underserved. The HITLAB Women’s Health Tech Initiative seeks to empower digital health innovators with impactful solutions to women’s health issues. Through bi-annual pitch competitions, HITLAB provides select innovators with the opportunity to present their solution in front of key decision makers across the healthcare industry and win prizes valued up to $10,000.

Following speeches from Alice Zheng of McKinsey & Co. and a keynote address from Jessica Horwitz of NURX, the four finalists each had fifteen minutes to present their digital health innovation. While the judging panel met privately, Elise Mortensen of HTD Health and Allison Wils of Horizon Government Affairs led breakout groups, providing a clear actionable strategy for women’s health technology innovators. After much deliberation by the judging panel and hearing from Lora DiCarlo, who held the attention of the audience until the very end, HITLAB concluded the virtual conference by presenting awards to the selected innovators

Women’s Health Innovators: HERA inc.
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4th Place – Dioptra 
New York, NY

Dioptra is rethinking the speculum—a medical device used on nearly every American woman 21+ at least once annually— to rewrite a history that began in the 1850s, when the first speculum was invented by a man and tested on enslaved women.

Unlike current metal speculums, largely unchanged since the 1850s and non-ergonomic, and plastic speculums that can break during examination, Dioptra’s next-gen speculum cover is built for women, by women. Dioptra’s aim is to make women’s health better for every body.

3rd Place – Presque
San Diego, CA

Presque is a B2All fem-tech venture with the mission to reduce child mortality, breast cancer, maternal depression, and healthcare costs, by harnessing the power of technology to boost nature’s impact. Presque are developing need-specific smart wearable lactation aids to mitigate obstacles to breastfeeding while creating data-driven insights and new AI-enabled markets.

2nd Place – INFIUSS
Yaounde, Cameroon

INFIUSS is a digital blood bank management platform connecting hospitals with blood banks to hospitals without blood banks. According to the WHO, over 150 million patients in Africa need blood every year but are asked to bring 3 replacement donors in addition to paying a fee in order to secure 1 bag of blood. This process takes up to 2 weeks in some cases, with 25% of patients dying in the process of trying to meet these requirements. Of this number, 60% comprises pregnant women suffering from complications such as post-partum hemorrhage, miscarriages, anemia and abortions. INFIUSS is a digital blood sourcing and delivery platform which elables the sourcing and delivery of blood to patients, once they send a request through either the INFIUSS app, SMS or by phone.

Grand Prize Winner – Bloomer Tech
Boston, MA

Bloomer is ushering a new age of personalized diagnostics with a medical device that uses advanced fabrics & soft electronics to invisibly collect medical-grade cardiovascular data in a women’s brassiere. Bloomer’s patented technology platform leverages over 20 years of evidence-based research showing sex & ethnicity-related differences in the cardiovascular system enabling women, researchers & care providers to learn from each individual’s unique physiology & provide data-driven care remotely.

Two bonus prizes were also presented to organizations which applied to the challenge but were not selected to pitch. The Cavendish Impact Foundation selected three applicants to pitch to their board of investors separately; HITLAB would like to congratulate Bloomer TechElidah, and MiraRG+A presented the second bonus prize, awarding Elidah with up-to 25 hours of in-kind services from RG+A consultants. 

The Women’s Health Tech Challenge would not be possible without prize sponsors, NURXHTD HealthHorizon Government AffairsThe Cavendish Impact Foundation, and RG+A. These prize sponsors provide FemTech innovators with unique diffusion opportunities. The Women’s Health Tech Initiative Executive Committee, including McKinsey & CompanySAPMerck and RG+A, are critical to making these events possible.

The next HITLAB Women’s Health Tech Challenge will be taking place on November 19, 2020, annually recognized as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day by the United Nations. While originally planned for the SAP Building in New York City, HITLAB is currently exploring the possibility of repeating the event virtually. While the May 21st Pitch Day was initially intended to take place in San Francisco, California, the conference carried on virtually due to COVID-19. The virtual conference provided international innovators the opportunity to participate and welcomed an audience of women’s health innovation enthusiasts from all around the globe.

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