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Meet Our Catalyst 2020 Semifinalists

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Dori Kreiger
Executive Director

When CTIA Wireless Foundation launched Catalyst, we hoped to find examples of the innovative work that social entrepreneurs were doing to solve issues in health and wellness. Wireless amplifies technology’s potential to make positive change in our communities, and when we saw how Catalyst applicants harnessed the power of wireless in the healthcare and wellness space we were blown away by their ingenuity. Earlier this month, we announced our semifinalists, a group of seven emerging social enterprises that are building the connected future of healthcare.

I’m thrilled to see this group represents founders from across the U.S. that have a personal connection to the work they are doing. Let’s meet some of the stellar individuals behind these startups.

 

 

CareBand

A wireless-based wearable for patients with dementia.

CareBand was created by Adam Sobol in Illinois after a conversation with his father, a doctor who worked with patients with dementia, got him thinking— is there a way to make a wearable device that could track data points useful for caring for someone with dementia? The result was CareBand, a device that tracks real-time indoor and outdoor location, provides socio-behavioral indicators of disease progression and presents AI-based analysis of activity patterns to help identify early changes in health conditions using long range, low power wireless networks.

CoachMe

A free digital health coaching platform designed for those on Medicaid or without insurance.

CoachMe Founder Karin Underwood’s idea for her platform came from combining her experience working with Medicaid recipients suffering from chronic diseases with her expertise in distribution networks gained from working on global health issues in Kenya. One of her patients said that what would help her get better would be a friend to help inspire her to get moving. That idea sparked Underwood’s interest, and she used her experience in the health and technology space to create a new program that could give patients that extra pep in their step on the path to wellness. Today, CoachMe provides Americans fighting against chronic disease a remote health coach through mobile technology, giving people the personal connection that can motivate them to reach their goals.

Loro

A robotics startup developing a smart assistive companion for wheelchair users.

Loro was created during a Hackathon hosted by MIT by founders Vanessa Cunha, David Hojah, Johae Song and Lin Zhu, who were inspired by their mentor’s struggle with ALS. They wanted to give people with upper body immobility a tool that helps address daily challenges through a combination of hardware—an assistive robot that mounts on a wheelchair—and a user-friendly app. Loro empowers its users with increased independence and connectedness by enhancing their vision, communication and safety.

MindRight Health

Culturally-responsive, trauma-informed, live mental health coaching over text message for teens in underserved communities.

Ashley Edwards founded MindRight Health after working in education in Newark, New Jersey, where schools didn’t have enough social workers on staff to handle the needs of students. She created MindRight to help teens who have experienced trauma find a path to mental health through radically accessible and inclusive coaching via text message conversations in the MindRight app.

Objective Zero Foundation

Connecting service members and veterans to a network of support.

After serving two tours in Iraq, Objective Zero Foundation Co-Founder Justin Miller was struggling with the transition out of military service. Fighting suicidal thoughts, he received a call from a former comrade, Chris Mercado, that he credits with saving his life. That call inspired the two to co-create a mobile app that connects service members, veterans, their families and caregivers to a nationwide network of peer and civilian support through text, voice and video chat.

Pilleve

Helping people get optimal medical care while sidestepping addiction.

Pilleve’s founders Yossuf Albanawi and Gautam Chebrolu created the company after experiencing the negative impacts of opioid addiction themselves. They were inspired to create a pill bottle that could safely distribute highly-addictive medications and help screen patients while they use their prescription. Along with the smart pill bottle that connects to wireless networks, the company also offers a smartphone app that monitors and screens for opioid abuse and addiction. Pilleve helps patients and care providers identify high-risk patterns and intervene in real time.

PROTXX

Monitoring head impact injuries for better patient outcomes.

PROTXX was founder John Ralston’s response to the challenges faced by his 8th grade daughter after she had to stop playing soccer following several concussions. He was inspired to help keep others safe from head impact injuries and created a wearable sensor that enables precision balance tests and shares information on sports and other head impact injuries to manage fatigue, impairment, injury and disease. The PROTXX sensor detects unique balance signals from individual wearers and can enable even a non-expert operator to evaluate a patient for a brain injury in less than a minute.

These impressive organizations move on to the next round of the selection process, where our team of expert Catalyst Advisors will select the top three finalists who are eligible for grants of up to $100,000.

We are inspired by the efforts of these social entrepreneurs using wireless technology to drive positive change in their communities— we are truly honored to recognize their achievements as part of Catalyst!

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