Startup Prize: Focus on Health 2023 announces winners

After the Startup Prize’s record-breaking year, attracting their largest number of health startups, Vivifi Medical and SteadiSpoon were named the winners of this year’s Startup Prize: Focus on Health. The award-winning startup competition, hosted by the Prize Foundation, continued its focus on innovative health and medical startups, offering two tracks to compete within for 2023. All companies presented their concepts this past weekend to a national group of Investor-Judges.

Vivifi Medical was named the FDA Track Winner. Based out of Houston, TX, Vivifi Medical’s vision is to eliminate the need for prostatectomies and hysterectomies. They are the world’s first laparoscopic & robotic instrument that enables replumbing of the pelvic vasculature, restores testosterone imbalance, reduces testosterone exposure to the prostate, and reverses Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH).

The Non-FDA Track Winner was SteadiSpoon. Also based in Texas, SteadiSpoon™ is a self-stabilizing assistive device that empowers the millions of people suffering from debilitating hand tremors to take life back in their hands. The hand-held device enables users to perform a variety of activities such as eating and writing—helping them regain the agency, autonomy, and dignity their tremor stole from them.

“While our winners are incredibly impressive, the entire group of entrepreneurs blew us away,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director of the Prize Foundation and creator of the Startup Prize. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds for our winners, and we are looking forward to getting started on our recruiting for Startup Prize: Focus on Health 2024.”

Vivifi Medical and SteadiSpoon each walked away with a $10,000 grand cash prize, mentorship and connections with potential investment. All finalists were also offered fast-tracked applications into the prestigious MassChallenge program.

To qualify for the Startup Prize finals, entrepreneurs needed to have a health-focused business, such as a medical or surgical device, therapeutic, health-based technology or app, health service, or drug research. They were also required to attend at least one qualifying event this past year which included roundtables, panels and keynotes from Startup Prize mentors around the country. During these events, competitors gained valuable tools and insights as well as mentorship to take their concepts to the next level. Entrepreneurs were also required to submit a detailed survey and business plan which a panel of judges used to determine the startups that would move forward to present their businesses to a panel of Investor-Judges.

In addition to Vivifi Medical and SteadiSpoon, three other finalists showcased their concepts to the panel this weekend. They were selected from entrepreneurs across the country who participated in this year’s competition:

Wave Therapeutics
Jessica Bussert ⎹ Chicago, IL
Wave Therapeutics has developed the first affordable and effective smart cushioning technology to prevent pressure injuries (like bed sores), save lives, and reduce a significant cost and care burden for families and facilities.

Heartbeat Tech
Kristen Quinn & Joshua Kim ⎹ Mount Pleasant, SC
Heartbeat Tech was founded by surgeons and scientists who want to change the Code Blue status quo with SAVER, a novel CPR adjunct that non-invasively increases blood flow to the heart and brain during cardiac arrest.

Rocket Doctor
William Cherniak & Harry Cherniak ⎹ Carlsbad, CA
Rocket Doctor is a digital health platform and marketplace that matches patients with the best clinician for their needs. The platform utilizes AI-fueled software, a unique support system and remote medical devices and is tailored to patients on Medicaid and in rural or remote communities.

Picture of Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr. is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana and is the owner, founder, & designer of Savage Creative Solutions. Savage Creative Solutions is a full-service, integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shreveport, LA with a growing national footprint across multiple industries. Savage is a local marketing and communication professional, entrepreneur, and accomplished author. His debut memoir, "Diary of A Testicular Cancer Survivor," has been featured on Amazon's best-seller list.

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