The 15 Top Healthcare Startups To Watch For Right Now

1 min read
The 15 Top Healthcare Startups To Watch For Right Now

Technology is changing the way we think about healthcare. Entrepreneurs are leading the charge, creating medtech companies that present innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the healthcare industry.

In this article, we'll take a look at six of the top healthcare startups that are defining the way the healthcare industry uses technology. We'll explore how these startups' innovative approaches are disrupting traditional models of care, as well as discuss what makes each startup unique and why each has been so successful. 

By learning more about these six startups, you can gain insight into what it takes to build a successful healthcare startup of your own.

Before we dive into the details, here are the 15 names we’ll be discussing:

  1. Oscar Health
  2. 23 and Me
  3. Butterfly Network
  4. Heartflow
  5. Benchling
  6. Lyra Health
  7. Hinge Health
  8. Cityblock Health
  9. Tempus
  10. Flatiron Health
  11. Carbon Health
  12. Komodo Health
  13. SonderMind
  14. Transcarent
  15. Paige

Let’s take a closer look at this list of healthcare startups and discuss what makes each one stand out.

1. Oscar Health

Oscar Health uses innovative technology solutions to simplify the health insurance experience for patients. Subscribers can use the Oscar Health app to input their symptoms and find relevant healthcare providers near them, consult with a doctor, and even get a prescription remotely. 

Oscar Health charges a yearly subscription fee, which is calculated according to your risk profile and includes factors like age, income, geography, and your full range of coverage. When healthcare services are necessary, Oscar health covers the cost in accordance with each subscriber’s individual plan.

In addition, Oscar Health users can find helpful information about care providers via the Oscar Health website or app. Users can also access a free fitness tracker and enjoy full visibility of their entire health history organized in one convenient location. 

Why Is Oscar Health a Good Startup Model?

Oscar Health is a great example of a startup that is leveraging technology to create value for customers. The founders noticed that the health insurance industry was not taking full advantage of the potential for digital experiences and seized that opportunity to provide a better solution for consumers. 

Focusing on digital health insurance experiences enables Oscar Health to offer a unique service and streamline efficiency at the same time, making it possible to compete with established competitors in the health insurance space.

2. 23 and Me

23 and Me is based on the idea that people should have the ability to access their medical information directly without the involvement of a doctor. Traditionally, patients need to go through a doctor to access personal health information (like whether someone is at risk for certain types of cancer). 23 and Me was founded as a way for people to access their personal clinical data without a doctor’s involvement by mailing in a saliva sample and receiving their lab results directly.

However, the company has faced pushback from the FDA, which was reluctant to allow 23 and Me to provide people’s health data to them directly until they could prove their lab tests were accurate. 23 and Me worked to convince the FDA that their methods of providing lab results directly to consumers is safe and are now approved to inform people of multiple kinds of medical risks — including warning women of breast cancer risk — without requiring them to first obtain orders for a lab test from a doctor.

23 and Me’s service includes reports on the user’s risk of breast cancer, Celiac disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also inform people who are thinking of becoming parents if they are carriers of cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, hereditary hearing loss, or numerous other genetic abnormalities.

23 and Me also offers a genetics test and is leveraging the database of medical information it gathers from its users to help develop new drugs for genetic diseases. The goal is to channel all that research directly back into consumer benefit, further supporting 23 and Me’s commitment to empowering users when it comes to understanding and managing their own health.

Why Is 23 and Me a Good Startup Model?

23 and Me’s driving disruptive force is its consumer focus. It’s founded on the idea that consumers should have the right and the ability to access their own medical data without going through a physician. This is a great example of how some of the best companies are based around a simple idea for providing a much needed solution.

3. Butterfly Network

Butterfly Network is a startup that creates handheld medical-imaging devices that are cheaper and more efficient than traditional MRI and ultrasound machines. Typically, MRIs and Ultrasounds are extremely complex procedures that generate high healthcare costs. Butterfly Network seeks to make the medical imaging process much cheaper and more efficient and even automate some of the process. 

Founder Jonathon Rothberg drew from his experience at previous startup Ion Torrent, where he helped create a semiconductor chip capable of sequencing DNA much more inexpensively and efficiently than traditional DNA sequencing machines, to create handheld medical imaging scanners. Butterfly Network’s handheld devices walk users through the steps of the medical imaging process on-screen, generate 3D images in real time, and automatically diagnose issues. 

Butterfly scanners use deep learning algorithms to automate the medical imaging process with the overall goal of making medical imaging so easy that medical professionals can do it outside of healthcare facilities with absolutely no specialized training required. Butterfly Network also incorporates telemedicine technology into their products to enable more experienced practitioners to guide less experienced practitioners remotely or weigh in on patient outcomes in real time.

Why Is Butterfly Network a Good Model?

Butterfly Network has found an area of the healthcare system that could benefit from technological innovation and plugged the hole with a cutting-edge solution. They are one of the pioneering startups helping to revolutionize the healthcare industry through the use of technology. 

By developing cheaper, more efficient ways of providing essential medical services, Butterfly Network makes these services more accessible to everyone and has secured their own place as a strong competitor in the healthcare startup landscape.

4. Heartflow

Heartflow’s mission is to find a better way to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), the leading cause of death. In pursuit of this goal, they’ve built a computational flow model based on medical imaging.

When the idea for Heartflow first came about, the computing power and diagnostic imaging capabilities to make the idea a reality did not yet exist. This led the Heartflow team to develop their own technology, called HeartFlow FFRct Analysis, through 15 years of computational flow modeling research. Using this technology, Heartflow developed the first non-invasive test that can accurately quantify the impact of coronary artery disease on a patient's heart and blood flow.

Now, Heartflow’s devices provide doctors with more accurate and actionable information regarding coronary artery disease than traditional cardiac stress testing typically does. Heartflow has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the health systems and benefited patients across the world.

Why Is Heartflow a Good Startup Model?

Heartflow’s startup model succeeded because they developed groundbreaking technology that allowed them to completely circumvent much of the competition. Instead of allowing the inadequate technology of the day to derail their startup idea, they instead developed the technology themselves, becoming the first and only healthcare company to do so in the process.

Like the other startups on this list, Heartflow has helped to advance the relationship between technology and the healthcare industry. They’ve also addressed a specific, significant need in the healthcare space by providing healthcare professionals with the tools they need to make more informed decisions about patients’ cardiovascular care.

5. Benchling

Benchling provides digital tools for improving administrative organization and efficiency in pharmaceutical labs with the goal of streamlining research and development (R&D) workflows. Pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations waste a great deal of time and resources on inefficiencies in the research and development process. This means there is a huge opportunity to help these companies be more competitive by improving R&D efficiency.

Benchling initially focused on creating tools for tracking tasks in academic research labs, but now focuses more broadly on helping lab teams digitize record-keeping systems and improve collaboration. Benchling’s tools also integrate with many other digital research systems — for example, systems for DNA editing and analysis.

Why Is Benchling a Good Startup Model?

Traditionally, research labs have mainly relied on spreadsheets and handwritten notes for organization and collaboration. Benchling leverages technology to introduce a more efficient solution for this purpose. Benchling also offers the ability to integrate with many other kinds of R&D systems, which makes it an exceptionally user-friendly product and ensures more researchers are able to take advantage of it.

One smart move Benchling made early on was to make its product available to academic research labs for free in exchange for their feedback. This allowed Benchling to tweak their product using feedback from real users before fully launching it. 

Today, Benchling uses a freemium pricing model that offers a free tier to academic users and paid tiers for industry researchers. This keeps customer acquisition high and provides plenty of data insights from users that the company uses to enrich the platform further and create more reasons to upgrade to a paid tier.

6. Lyra Health

Lyra Health is an employer sponsored benefit that offers mental health care to members. Lyra provides personalized mental health care services to their members based on each member’s needs and preferences, including in-person, video, or text-message mental health care options. Companies can partner with Lyra to provide the service as a benefit to their employees.

Why Is Lyra Health a Good Startup Model?

Lyra Health helps address important problems in the healthcare industry like the lack of employer-sponsored mental health care options and the stigma associated with seeking mental health care. Developing solutions to under-addressed needs is at the heart of the startup ethos.

Lyra’s digital approach to mental healthcare is also a smart approach for an employer-sponsored healthcare benefit at a time when remote work is so popular. Plus, the digital approach makes it possible for Lyra to easily expand the geographical range of their services, which they are doing with a focus on providing culturally-conscious mental healthcare to employees all over the world.

7. Hinge Health

Hinge Health specializes in digital solutions for musculoskeletal (MSK) care. Hinge’s core offering is a digital platform that’s designed to help patients manage and improve conditions like chronic back or joint pain. 

The Hinge platform encompasses a variety of tools — including smartphone apps, wearable devices, and online coaching services — that facilitate personalized care and support for individuals with MSK problems. Hinge Health takes a holistic approach to healthcare that combines physical therapy, behavioral health support, and patient education to address both the physical and psychological aspects of MSK conditions.

Why Is Hinge Health a Good Startup Model?

Hinge Health is a compelling startup model for several reasons. Primarily, it taps into a growing market for convenient and accessible digital care — even for conditions that require specialized treatment (such as those that are musculoskeletal in nature). This approach aligns with a broad trend toward digital health solutions that offer patient-centered and value-based care. 

Additionally, Hinge Health's ability to provide telehealth options has become especially relevant in the context of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, making it a standout example of how digital health startups can successfully address critical healthcare needs even amid times of crisis.

8. Cityblock Health

Cityblock Health is a New York Healthcare startup centered around delivering integrated, personalized care, including medical, mental, and social services. Each member is assigned a dedicated care team consisting of doctors, nurses, mental health advocates, and social workers to address their specific healthcare needs. 

Cityblock prioritizes convenience for its members by striving to offer affordable and accessible services for everyone. Care is typically covered by health plans, and a financial assistance program is available to support those with copays. Beyond traditional medical care, Cityblock also provides assistance with other essential aspects of life, like getting access to fresh food and finding reliable housing.

Why Is CityBlock a Good Startup Model?

Cityblock's success as a startup model is due to its holistic approach to healthcare. By addressing not only medical needs but also mental health and social determinants of health, Cityblock aims to improve their members’ overall well-being. The fact that each member receives access to a personalized care team ensures coordinated and individualized care. 

Additionally, Cityblock’s emphasis on affordability and accessibility for all types of people aligns with the healthcare’s industry’s evolving trend toward greater equitability. Overall, their innovative business model reflects a shift toward a more patient-centric, comprehensive healthcare approach — one that addresses both medical and non-medical factors to enhance health outcomes across the board.

9. Tempus

Tempus is a healthcare technology company founded by Eric Lefkofsky in 2015. It specializes in harnessing data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to provide data-driven solutions for healthcare and life sciences — especially in the realm of cancer diagnosis and treatment. The company is dedicated to advancing precision medicine by collecting, organizing, and analyzing extensive clinical and molecular data, thereby helping healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about patient care, disease treatment, and drug development.

Why Is Tempus a Good Startup Model?

Tempus serves as an exemplary model for other healthcare startups for several reasons. Firstly, its data-driven approach empowers precision medicine, which tailors treatments to individual patient characteristics, improving outcomes and reducing unnecessary costs. The company's use of AI and machine learning is especially noteworthy, as these technologies have been shown to enhance diagnostics and treatment recommendations. 

Tempus’s significant impact on cancer care exemplifies the value of maintaining a specialized focus area within the healthcare industry. Moreover, the company prioritizes data security and regulatory compliance highly in order to instill trust among patients and healthcare providers — a vital consideration in highly sensitive industries like healthcare.

10. Flatiron Health

Flatiron's mission is to expedite cancer research and elevate patient care by effectively organizing and providing access to real-world clinical data. This mission is accomplished through the strategic use of advanced technology, data analytics, and collaboration with healthcare institutions.

Flatiron Health boasts a comprehensive suite of products and services, with a pronounced focus on electronic health record (EHR) solutions designed specifically for oncology practices. Clinicians can use Flatiron’s technology solutions to help integrate research seamlessly into their everyday practice.

Why Is Flatiron a Good Startup Model?

One of the main reasons that Flatiron is an excellent model for healthcare startups is its unwavering commitment to data-driven innovation. In a healthcare landscape that increasingly demands evidence-based and personalized medicine, Flatiron's emphasis on data integration and analytics is a great example for emerging healthcare companies that strive for better patient care.

Furthermore, Flatiron has successfully navigated the significant challenges of interoperability and data integration in the healthcare sector. These issues have long hindered seamless collaboration among healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. Flatiron has successfully addressed these hurdles by providing solutions that simplify data sharing and foster collaboration among key stakeholders.

11. Carbon Health

Carbon Health is a forward-thinking healthcare platform that seamlessly integrates technology and physical clinics to deliver a patient-centric healthcare experience. Established in 2015 by Eren Bali and Dr. Greg Burrell, Carbon Health has rapidly emerged as a prominent player in the healthcare sector. The company provides a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, urgent care, virtual visits, and electronic health records (EHR) management, offering a holistic approach to healthcare delivery.

Carbon Health's commitment to technology integration is a defining feature of its model. The platform encompasses a patient-facing mobile app, telehealth services, and a unified EHR system — all of which enhance patient engagement and make healthcare management more efficient. Carbon’s blending of virtual and physical services ensures that patients have flexible and convenient options for their healthcare needs.

Why Is Carbon Health a Good Startup Model?

Carbon Health's innovative approach to healthcare delivery makes it a compelling model for a couple of reasons in particular. Firstly, its seamless integration of technology and physical clinics allows it to meet the diverse needs of patients. This dual approach accommodates both in-person and virtual care, catering to a broad demographic and providing flexibility that patients increasingly expect.

Secondly, Carbon Health's commitment to a patient-centric model sets a high standard for customer experience in healthcare. Other startups can learn from its focus on convenience, accessibility, and user-friendly digital interfaces, which are essential in today's consumer-driven healthcare landscape.

12. Komodo Health

Komodo Health is a healthcare technology company that specializes in data analytics and insights within the healthcare industry. Its core offering is a data platform that aggregates and analyzes diverse healthcare data sources. Komodo Health plays a pivotal role in providing valuable insights to various healthcare stakeholders that help them gain a more comprehensive view of patient journeys throughout the entire healthcare system.

Why Is Komodo Health a Good Startup Model?

Komodo Health's business model is notable for several reasons. Firstly, it emphasizes the power of data-driven decision-making, which is essential in healthcare. Secondly, Komodo Health excels in overcoming data fragmentation through interoperability. 

Komodo also demonstrates the power of collaboration by maintaining strategic partnerships across the healthcare spectrum. Furthermore, the startup’s adaptability to changing healthcare dynamics showcases a valuable lesson for other startups looking to thrive in the fast-paced healthcare sector.

13. SonderMind

SonderMind is a mental healthcare platform that offers a comprehensive solution for individuals seeking mental health services. Founded in 2017, the platform connects them with a network of licensed therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar mental health clinics, SonderMind operates as a digital marketplace, making it easy for patients to find and access care that suits their specific needs. Through their user-friendly app and website, SonderMind enables patients to schedule appointments, access telehealth services, and receive a wide range of therapeutic modalities, from talk therapy to medication management. This platform acts as an intermediary, streamlining the entire mental health treatment process for both patients and providers.

Why Is SonderMind a Good Startup Model?

First and foremost, SonderMind addresses a pressing need in the healthcare sector: improving access to mental health services. In response to our society's growing awareness of the importance of mental well-being, SonderMind offers an innovative and scalable solution that bridges the gap between mental health professionals and individuals seeking care.

Furthermore, SonderMind demonstrates the potential of telehealth platforms in revolutionizing healthcare. By utilizing technology to connect patients with providers who offer telemedicine options, SonderMind contributes toward the delivery of more convenient and accessible healthcare — a trend that has only accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

14. Transcarent

Transcarent is a healthcare startup that offers a comprehensive and personalized healthcare experience for individuals and organizations. Their core offering is a consumer-centric, data-driven app that empowers users to take control of their health and well-being. This app simplifies access to various healthcare and care benefits, including in-network providers, medication cost savings, and more, all tailored to the user's unique needs.

Transcarent provides an on-demand care team composed of board-certified, U.S.-based doctors, nurses, health guides, and care coordinators who are available 24/7 to provide health guidance. Transcarent also forms strategic partnerships with healthcare providers, Centers of Excellence (COEs), and other healthcare solutions to create a robust ecosystem of high-quality, affordable, and appropriate care that spans the entire spectrum of healthcare needs. 

Why Is Transcarent a Good Startup Model?

Transcarent's approach makes it a compelling model for other healthcare startups for several reasons. Firstly, it focuses on personalization and data-driven decision-making, which is a fundamental aspect of modern healthcare. By tailoring healthcare experiences to individual needs, Transcarent demonstrates the potential to significantly improve patient engagement and outcomes.

Secondly, Transcarent's emphasis on creating a diverse and accessible care team that combines telehealth services with traditional healthcare professionals reflects the direction in which healthcare is evolving overall. Transcarent's strategic partnerships with various healthcare stakeholders, including providers and COEs, also helps them build a comprehensive and high-quality healthcare ecosystem. Their collaboration-based approach can serve as a model for other startups looking to create broad and effective healthcare networks.

15. Paige

Paige is a pioneering healthcare company that specializes in pathology and diagnostic technology, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the accuracy and efficiency of cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

The company focuses on pathology — a critical field in healthcare that involves the analysis of tissue samples to diagnose diseases, particularly cancer. Paige's innovative approach to pathology involves creating advanced AI algorithms that assist pathologists in identifying and classifying cancerous tissue to enable quicker and more precise diagnosis.

Why Is Paige a Good Startup Model?

Paige serves as a great model for other healthcare startups due to its effective integration of advanced AI technology. By successfully applying AI to healthcare goals, Paige leads the way in demonstrating how startups can use technological innovation to drive improvements in patient care. 

Additionally, Paige's collaboration with various medical professionals highlights the importance of working in tandem with healthcare experts to ensure the real-world relevance of the solutions being developed. The company also prioritizes regulatory compliance and data privacy highly — setting a high bar for other healthcare startups that aim to earn the trust of patients, professionals, and regulatory bodies alike.

Fuel Your Healthcare Startup With Advice from a Mentor

Each of these medtech startups is a great example of an innovative company that’s successfully disrupting the healthcare industry in one way or another. However, none of them achieved their success overnight. If your startup is currently in a rough patch or you aren’t sure where to begin, a mentor can provide the guidance you need to find the right path. Get in touch with a healthtech founder today for personalized advice and experience-based insights.

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Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh

Partner - Blitzscaling Ventures
Co-Author of Blitzscaling

Blitzscaling Ventures
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Chris Yeh is a writer, investor, and entrepreneur who has been in the world of startups and scale-ups since 1995. Co-author of the bestselling book Blitzscaling together with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Chris offers advice and mentorship on on how to build and scale your business. Hundreds of companies, from garage-dwelling startups to Fortune 50 titans have tapped his knowledge and insights to accelerate and transform their businesses. As the Founding Partner of Blitzscaling Ventures, he helps founders rapidly scale their companies, fundraise and figure out how to crack new markets. Prior to his investing journey, he was the CMO of Target, and started his career as a PM at D.E. Shaw in the 90s.

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Itay Forer

Co-Founder - Cleanly
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Initialized Capital

Itay Forer is the co-founder of Cleanly, an on-demand laundry & dry cleaning service backed by YCombinator (W15), Initialized Capital, Soma Capital, Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail), and NFL legend Joe Montana. He is a serial entrepreneur, board member, mentor/coach, and active angel investor who has built a startup from the ground up to a 400+ person workforce. Specializes in PMF and scaling companies from 0 to 10. As a mentor, he has helped over 200 founders realize their full potential.

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Dan Bauer

President - Bauer & Associates Inc.
Marketing and Strategy Expert

Harvard Business School
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Described as a "creative dynamo" by Inc. Magazine. A recognized expert in marketing and entrepreneurship, Dan Bauer founded The MBA Exchange education and career advisory firm ranked among the Inc. 5000. Since then, as head of Bauer & Associates, he has delivered high-impact, marketing guidance to clients ranging from Fortune 100 to startups in 30+ industries. Previously, he was SVP of Global Debit Marketing & Sales for MasterCard International and as VP of National Marketing for Citicorp. His career includes account management at DDB Needham and Ketchum Advertising. Bauer earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in general management and marketing. He ranked in the top 15% of his class in industry and competitive analysis.

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