One of the really great things about my company, Health Tech Hatch, was getting to be a part of the TEDMED Hive this year and having the opportunity to meet with fellow startup entrepreneurs. There was plenty of time to roam the big tent that housed the 50 companies chosen to participate in the inaugural event. It was a great adventure because I love startups, I love entrepreneurs, and I love innovation. Being in the Hive was like, well, honey to me.
I meandered over to one of the booths close to ours to get to know a company with the catchy name of Jintronix. “Hey guys, what’s Jintronix? Show me what you are up to.” Justin Tan, co-founder and CEO and Max Graham, Director of Business Development, introduced themselves and told me this story:
Jintronix began as an undergraduate project of Justin’s while he was at MIT. As is the case with many successful companies, the idea was inspired by a personal experience. Justin’s dad suffered a stroke and required rehabilitation, including physical therapy. As Justin helped his dad with his recovery, the idea of utilizing virtual technologies for physical therapy was born.
According to Max, “from there it continued to grow as more of us were recruited to contribute to the project. Then, around this time last year, we were accepted into the Microsoft Accelerator program.” The program, based around the Kinect for Windows’ motion tracking technology, was located in Seattle. It required a three-month full-time commitment. “It was a great opportunity,” says Max, so “many of us quit our day jobs to participate
By the end of the program, the team had developed the Jintronix Rehabilitation System, comprised of two main components: the JRS Wave and the JRS Portal. The Wave is a downloadable application that contains a set of validated, gamified physical therapy activities. When an individual engages in these activities in front of the Kinect sensor, the JRS system captures relevant clinical metrics, such as speed, precision, and range of motion. The Wave requires a prescription from a therapist in order to access it.
The JRS Portal is a web application that therapists log into so that they can monitor their clients using the Wave. Therapists can also prescribe new activities, and customize them based on their individual client’s needs.
The power of the system is that it allows clients to perform monitored physical therapy exercises in the comfort of their own homes (or anywhere else they happen to be) and it provides meaningful measures of adherence to prescribed therapy. Because therapists can access the data and respond to it in-between face-to-face visits, clients are more likely to do the exercises and perform them correctly, compared to traditional unmonitored care.
Here is a short video that shows how it works:
According to Max, the Microsoft Accelerator did its magic. “The program catapulted us forward, developing new ideas, relationships and opportunities. We developed mentor whiplash [an injury we all wish we could have], pivoting back and forth a bit, but ultimately it was the catalyst that transformed our passion project into a viable company.
A few months after the end of the Accelerator program, Jintronix secured their seed round of investment. That allowed the team to commit to the company full time. This is a success story all startups hope to emulate: great idea, hard work, good connections, validation, more hard work, and then – The Money!
Co-founder and CEO Justin Tan says, “I think all this success has only been possible because we have reached a point in the medical space where we all realize there is the need for innovation. In the last year or two alone, we have begun to see new incubators for medical startups, investors are taking interest in young healthcare companies, and organizations like TEDMED are providing venues for entrepreneurs to be heard. This kind of innovation has never been viable up until now, because there was no support or infrastructure to nurture it.”
Max concludes, “this is why I am so excited to be where I am, on the forefront of innovation with the industry pushing us forward. With new ideas coming out of the woodwork and a world ready to embrace them, I have nothing but optimism for the future of healthcare and innovation.”
And you wonder why I am having so much fun hanging around with startup entrepreneurs….