Irish start-up GetHealth makes it onto US healthcare entrepreneurship programme

4 Apr 2013

The GetHealth team. From left: Chris Rooney (co-founder), Martin Reilly, Liam Ryan (co-founder), Michael Flanagan (co-founder) and Rob Grant

GetHealth, an Irish health technology start-up that has created an app to help people achieve their health and fitness goals via gameplay and social interaction, has been chosen to take part in a three-year healthcare entrepreneurship programme in New York that’s run by StartUp Health in partnership with General Electric.

More than 400 global companies applied to enter the academy, but GetHealth has been chosen along with 12 other start-ups to take part in the three-year programme.

The Dublin-based company was set up in 2011 by Liam Ryan, Chris Rooney and Michael Flanagan. Ryan and Rooney had previously set up, a service to remind women who use oral contraception about taking the pill.

GetHealth has developed a mobile app, with the aim of making getting healthy simple and fun for users. Via the app users can check-in and earn points for their daily health achievements, such as doing 30 minutes of exercise.

The app also has a social component, so that users can connect with other people who also have health and fitness goals.

Ryan said that GetHealth is also zeroing in on the corporate wellness market, with the growing trend for companies to invest in wellness initiatives to help reduce employee absenteeism and issues such as low productivity.

“When we started GetHealth we could see that healthcare, particularly in the US, was starting to change focus away from reactive initiatives towards more preventative programmes. Here we saw the opportunity to leverage the growth in mobile technology to provide an app which makes health simple and fun, and ultimately helps people improve their lifestyle,” explained Ryan, who is currently in New York for the start of the new StartUp Health Academy programme this week.

One of GetHealth’s advisors is Ted Vickey, who was formerly director of the White House Fitness Center. He said that getting people engaged in their health is one of the biggest opportunities for technological innovation.

“By combining game mechanics and social interaction, technology like GetHealth’s app is a simple and accessible way for people to make that change and enjoy the process of doing so,” said Vickey.

As for Startup Health it was co-founded in 2011 by the health-tech entrepreneurs Steven Krein and Unity Stoakes to speed up technology innovations in health and wellness.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic