1 True Health Wins Tenth Startup Showdown
Did you know 17.1% of all Austin jobs are in the tech industry, compared to 9.2% nationally?
It’s no wonder more tech talent is flocking to Austin than any other U.S. city!
Last month, Startup Showdown jetted to the capital of the Lone Star state for an intensely competitive in-person event designed to find the best-of-the-best in tech startups. We weren’t disappointed—coming away with TWO pitch competition winners: DUKE.AI, an accounting app that improves bottom-line profits for owner-operators in the transportation industry; and 1 True Health, a provider of 24/7 virtual care coordination, monitoring, and support to keep patients on track to better health. Each company received a $120,000 investment prize.
Today, we’re talking to 1 True Health CEO Shawn Smith to learn more about his company and its experience at Startup Showdown:
Congratulations on winning Startup Showdown Austin, Shawn. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
SS: I’ve spent over 35 years in healthcare clinical services and healthcare technology in both sales and executive-management positions. I founded Emergency Visions, my first startup, in 2002. Emergency Visions delivered emergency medical and disaster response logistics for events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It also provided relief for the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
After Emergency Visions, I moved into healthcare revenue-cycle management and the long-term acute care space, which ultimately led me to found 1 True Health.
What challenge does 1 True Health address within the marketplace?
SS: The U.S. economic burden of managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer is substantial, totaling over $3 trillion per year. Our senior population is disproportionately affected, with nearly 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having two or more such diseases.
Lack of proper care became even more pronounced for this population during the pandemic due to their reluctance to come into physician offices. This led to a tsunami of medical problems headed into our healthcare system, most often at emergency-room doors and requiring costly interventions that could have been minimized through proper disease management where seniors are—in their homes. This is where 1 True Health comes in.
What does the 1 True Health platform do to minimize this problem?
SS: We partner with clinical practices, hospitals/healthcare systems, and senior-living communities to serve their patients through virtual care coordination that occurs in between in-person visits. Our platform gathers data from past clinical encounters along with real-time information from wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit, and remote patient monitoring devices such as blood pressure cuffs and glucometers, then extracts and analyzes data to help patients manage their disease states for better health and lower burden on the healthcare system.
1 True Health’s focus is on chronic care management, remote patient monitoring, and transitional care management through the delivery of delightful services that address healthcare needs in patients’ homes. Most of us have seen seniors walking out of a hospital with a stack of papers they may not understand so they can’t follow instructions properly. Our virtual services and our technology platform are available to help these patients get actionable insights on a 24/7 basis so they can practice self-care to get and stay healthy.
Aren’t some seniors more comfortable with technology than others?
SS: 1 True Health meets the patient where they are in a manner that’s most comfortable for them. We can certainly use the lowest common denominator, which is a phone call. Patients using our services in this way can have a conversation with one of our Care Navigators who not only help to manage their disease but also ensure they’re addressing the “four pillars of health”—nutrition, movement, sleep quality, and stress management.
Seniors more comfortable with technology can interact with our services virtually. For instance, my mother is 82 and resides in assisted living. She’s very familiar with video conversations and loves to text. There’s also the option for family members or in-home caregivers to assist with virtual communications.
Who do you consider to be 1 True Health’s competitors?
SS: There are several vendors that provide chronic care management and remote patient monitoring, but they do so with a software-focused approach, meaning that a clinical practice or hospital still requires their own staff to provide these services to their patients. Our country is faced with a growing shortage of healthcare workers. For example, it’s estimated we’ll have to fill nearly 200,000 open nursing positions every year until 2030 to keep up with demand. Our technology can help to offset such staffing shortages because we provide these clinical services on a turnkey basis on behalf of our customers.
Also, in addition to chronic care management and remote patient monitoring, 1 True Health provides transitional care management, which ensures high-risk patients will receive the support they need after discharge from the hospital.
1 True Health provides a unique and delightful experience for care recipients. For instance, in between our sessions with the patient we employ a “digital companion” (like a chatbot) that delivers insights to them on ways to get and stay healthy. The chatbot may ask if the patient walked 10 minutes that day as instructed, for example. If they say no, it will ask why. If the patient cites leg cramps, the chatbot will offer ways to help reduce this problem so that prescribed activity can continue. We believe the combination of these three factors differentiates us from our competitors.
Where is 1 True Health now in terms of its customer journey?
SS: If you go to our website at www.1truehealth.com, you’ll see a consumer-focused view where you can enroll individually for our services, which can be paid for through private insurance, Medicare, or by monthly subscription.
However, for the next two years we’re especially focused on growing our user base through partnerships with healthcare systems that will in turn drive users to our platform. As just one example, we’re in a contractual phase with a health services organization that has 70 diabetes clinics nationally with an average of 1,500 patients per clinic.
In fact, we plan to use much of the Startup Showdown capital to further staff up our Care Navigator team to support the business coming our way from the contracts we have or are currently negotiating. Some of it will also go to continuing to grow visibility for 1 True Health among other health systems—in Texas and beyond.
How did 1 True Health find out about Startup Showdown?
SS: 1 True Health is based in Austin, where the company’s other two co-founders reside, while I live in Atlanta. Being an Atlantan for a while now and being connected to the startup community there, I was already familiar with Panoramic Ventures. However, I heard about Startup Showdown’s Austin competition from another VC investor who said, “Hey, I think your company is at the right stage and you should apply for this.” I’m certainly glad we did.
What was the most beneficial aspect of the competition?
SS: Aside from the investment capital, winners of Startup Showdown also become part of the Panoramic Founder Success Program. This is tremendously valuable due to the extensive operational expertise of the Panoramic team. It really gets involved with the firm’s portfolio investments to help ensure their growth and success.
In terms of the pitch event, the Mentor Day was a phenomenal learning experience. Receiving feedback on my presentation from multiple successful entrepreneurs was invaluable in refining my pitch. Seeing that these experienced operators saw value in what 1 True Health is doing also validated our market approach.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Startup Showdown to anyone in the process of building and growing an early-stage tech business.
Thanks, Shawn, and congratulations again! We also want to again thank Austin’s booming tech community for the enthusiastic reception Startup Showdown received. We can’t wait to visit again!
Is your startup next for the spotlight? Startup Showdown is held monthly, with winners receiving a $120,000 investment prize. To apply to pitch at an upcoming Startup Showdown, go here.