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Sunday, Oct 1, 2023

Two Startups Split $1 Million Prize for Health Competition

Two San Diego startups each took a $500,000 prize from a pitch competition to find community solutions for health and wellness. The Alliance Healthcare Foundation has hosted the Innovation Initiative competition since 2010, in an attempt to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

The Alliance Healthcare Foundation Board picked the two winners, Docfully and Vizer, from six finalists. Docfully uses telemedicine to connect people in homeless shelters with providers. The company plans to establish regular pop-up clinics at shelters, or other sites where homeless patients can receive preventative care while safely storing their belongings.

Vizer is a personal health app that rewards users who keep on track with their exercise goals with acts of altruism. For example, if a user met their goal for the day, one of Vizer’s sponsors would donate a meal through a food bank on their behalf.

“We looked for proposals with the clearest potential to prevent long term chronic health conditions and social barriers to wellness for our target population, coupled with the most promising viable pathway to a sustainable and scalable business model,” Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s new executive director Sarah Lyman said in a news release. “The competition was intense, and, in the end, there was no clear winner. Docfully and Vizer both demonstrated clear potential for success. As a result, we split the prize between them.”

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The two winners were narrowed down from more than 100 applicants. From 25 semifinalists, a panel of judges picked the six finalists.

They include:

• Brainleap Technologies, a company that uses eye tracking technology to promote attention, focus and academic outcomes for kids with autism and ADHD.

• Care to Caregiver (The United Foundation), a project to reinvent traditional health care paper instructions with conversational text streams. coordination.

• Polaris (University of San Diego), an effort to establish a holistic care center at the Monarch School combining social, mental and healthcare services for homeless youth and their families.

• Urban Street Angels, a company that uses mobile phones and smart-matching to connect homeless youth to individualized social and mental health services


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