Durham startup connects health apps, devices, with hospitals, businesses

Apr. 10, 2014 @ 06:52 PM

Weight-monitoring mobile apps. Wearable devices that track fitness and nutrition. Glucose meters. Blood pressure monitors.

The Durham-based company Validic has developed technology that can get data from wearable healthcare-related devices and apps and that can send it to hospitals, corporate wellness programs and other businesses that want to analyze and track it.

 “It turns out everyone else in the healthcare system – they don’t want to build the network to get the data, they just want the data,” said Ryan Beckland, Validic’s CEO and co-founder. “(We) offered a solution to just get access to data. That really struck a chord with our customers. The rest is kind of history.”

The company launched the technology in March, Beckland said. They are currently able to get data from 87 mobile apps and devices.

In order for the data to be sent to the businesses or health systems, Beckland said, the user has to specifically give permission to each organization to pull his or her data, and for each device separately.

“Once they approve the ‘handshake’ for the organization and the device, we transfer the data until either the user severs or the organization severs the connection,” Beckland said in an email.

While he said they aren’t disclosing the number of customers they’re working with that then get the data, he did say they’re working with about 33 million individuals.

The company also is not releasing revenue information. But so far, the company has raised more than $2 million in investor financing.

Mark Cuban, an investor and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, led an investment round for the company last year, and Durham-based SJF Ventures led another.

“They are at the intersection of wearable technology and big data,” Cuban said in an email. “It’s a solution for a wide set of vendors that I think has a bright future.”

Validic now has 19 employees working out of office space in the downtown SouthBank building. He said they need to hire 16 more people this year to keep up with their growing customer base.

He said the company is “not your typical start-up.”

“First of all, I banned the word ‘start-up’ from our company nomenclature,” Beckland said. “We’re serious, and the reason that people come to work here is not because they get cool perks like a ping-pong table in the break room…you get to interact with the brightest minds in health care. Our customers are taking these new technologies on the market, figuring out how to use them, (and are) creating new models of care.”

Beckland, 34, is a serial entrepreneur. He said he started the company in 2010. In its first iteration, the company provided incentivized weight-loss corporate wellness programs.

They had about 40 companies using that platform, he said. Validic’s co-founder and chief technology officer Drew Schiller built the software for it, he said. But they found that customers wanted more. So they started incorporating other health care technologies, and evolved into what they are now.

“So we come to (customers) and say, ‘we have a plug-in solution that can get you access to all this data right now,” he said. “(It’s) no-brainer for them – they don’t have to build it, and can focus on things of more value.”