Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva
In a town that’s typically hungry for consumer Internet startups, health companies finally have a place to go.The second class of health technology companies has had a month to settle into the Rock Health incubator in San Francisco.
Rock Health founder Halle Tecco is creating a community devoted to the healthcare space, the same way Paul Graham has seeded many successful companies through his Y Combinator program.
“Last year, no one knew what Rock Health was, but now it’s a destination for healthcare entrepreneurs,” Tecco said.
Each company gets $20,000 as a grant. Unlike many other incubators, Rock Health doesn’t take an equity stake.
Before founding Rock Health, Tecco researched businesses that combined healthcare and technology while she was at Harvard Business School from 2009 to 2011.
Tecco and her co-founder Nate Gross did an independent study with Bob Higgins, the founder of Highland Capital. They interviewed dozens of technology entrepreneurs to see if they were interested in the health space.
As a follow up to that research, Tecco interviewed 100 entrepreneurs last year and “learned that there were a lot of misconceptions, including an unnecessary fear of regulation. Entrepreneurs consider government regulation as one of the biggest barriers to success in this space.”
Tecco also wasn’t impressed by the apps being developed.
In the summer of 2010, Tecco worked at Apple’s app store, where she covered the health and wellness vertical as part of their business development team. While there, she recognised that the health apps were “dull and uncreative” compared to other segments like games.
When she was at Apple, she also attended classes on how to give good presentations. Tecco takes some of those lessons and helps the teams in the accelerator program prepare for demo day.
“I want them to shine on demo day because it’s a reflection of me,” she said.
Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Sometimes, work follows Tecco home.
Her husband Jeff Hammerbacher is into technology as well. He’s an ex-Facebook employee, who later co-founded Cloudera.
“I look up to him as an entrepreneur and an angel investor, so it’s hard not to talk about work at home. He’s getting more into medicine,” Tecco said. “I made him a speaker here too.”
One night, Tecco was pulling some data to see what the funding of healthcare was. She asked her husband to do a data visualisation of it. They sat down and worked on mapping where the investments were coming from.
That’s not a typical night though. “We both work so many hours, so the time that we have, we like to spend it together,” Tecco said.