Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where Are They Now? Hackovate Health Winner Liam Ryan

Liam Ryan, founder of GetHealth.
It’s been about 5 months since the Hackovate Health Finale in Kansas City and many people are starting to wonder: where are the winners now?  Back in February, Hackovate named four innovation competition winners.  One of those winners was Liam Ryan of GetHealth.  So where is Ryan today and how has GetHealth progressed since February 2013?  Think Big held a question-and-answer session with Ryan (all the way from Ireland!) to find out:

THE HIGHLIGHTS:  Since the Hackovate Health Finale, GetHealth has made new high-level partnerships across the world, was chosen to participate in GE’s healthymagination, was featured in TechCrunch, plans to establish and US base in New York and has launched a public funding raise for accredited investors. 


TBP:  It’s been about 5 months since the Hackovate Health Finale in Kansas City.  How has GetHealth progressed or changed since then?

LIAM:  Since our amazing experience in Kansas City, where we were awarded first runner up in the Global Hackovate Healthcare Innovation Competition, things have been moving non-stop for GetHealth. One of our key goals coming out of that competition was to turn that success into real, tangible traction with clients: to build relationships and get real results. With this in mind, we have been on-boarding a number of big clients over the last few months and seeing fantastic progress. We are now working with Aer Lingus (one of Ireland’s largest employers), VHI (with over 1.5 million customers), Centric Health (a primary care provider) and Spafinder in the US, to name a few.

TBP:  What successes have you had seen since Hackovate in February?

LIAM:  One amazing success was when we were chosen as one of 13 international companies picked as a ‘Healthcare Transformer’ by New York-based programme, StartUp Health Academy. We are now participating in a 3 year programme run by Start-Up Health in partnership with General Electric. The program is part of GE’s healthymagination initiative, a $6 billion global commitment to provide better health for more people by improving quality, access, and affordability of care. Furthermore, we have just last week been selected as the StartUp in Residence in ‘The Irish Times’ – a 154 year old global brand, and Irelands leading newspaper.

TBP:  Congratulations!  Tell us more about the GE’s healthymagination

LIAM:  The funding was originally announced on TechCrunch on the 3rd of April 2013. The real value of the programme lies in the validation it offers for the vision behind GetHealth. We now have the backing and support of one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. In order to get the award, we first showcased GetHealth at the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. in Dec. 2012 at the StartUpHealth Mobile Health Pavillion. We also had a number of interviews with executives from GE itself and StartUpHealth over a 4 month period.

TBP:  We heard that over 400 companies (from 22 countries) applied for the GE/Startup Health Fund.  What do you think made GE pick GetHealth as one of the 13 companies? 

LIAM:  We were also only one of 2 international companies chosen to join the programme. Right now there are many digital health companies out there who focus on tracking data: counting steps, measuring movement, tracking heart rate, etc. But what we do at GetHealth is more than this. We take this data and focus it on behaviour change of the unhealthy and at risk. We interpret the data and give it back to people in a meaningful and actionable way. GE saw this as a differentiator and were excited to bring us on board. Also, we have a great team of passionate people, with experienced advisors, such as Ted Vickey: a member of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise and a former athletic director in the White House under Bush, Clinton and Bush.

TBP:  How has this opportunity with GE impacted your business?  What direction are you going in now? 

LIAM:  The main change in our business has been in the amount of exposure we now get to industry leaders, on a global scale. Having meetings with the likes Todd Park (CTO of the United States), Jonathan Bush (CEO of Athenahealth), and Toby Cosgrave (CEO of Cleveland Clinic – arguably the most innovative medical centre in the world) is a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow. Knowing that they believe in the impact we can have on the healthcare industry and that they are willing to use and buy our product, is invaluable to us at this stage of growing our business.

TBP:  Where do you see GetHealth at the end of 2013?

LIAM:  Within the next 8-12 months I see GetHealth having over 100 clients and impacting over 50,000 employees across the globe. We will have closed off our round of financing and have grown our team substantially. We are also moving to New York to establish a base in the United States. Overall, I see GetHealth as being established as a world-leader in creating lasting behaviour-change among the unhealthy and at risk.

 TBP:  What are you most excited about for GetHealth?  What new opportunities do you now see after Hackovate?

LIAM:  What most excites me about GetHealth is the opportunity to have an impact on a global level, and not just for employees, but for families, kids, schools and so on. GetHealth can disrupt the healthcare landscape by moving away from the reactive/treatment model to a more patient-centric style of care, where people get proactive about their health and take the steps to prevent the onset of chronic diseases. I want GetHealth to contribute to making the world a healthier and ultimately, a happier place.

Since Hackovate in Febraury 2013, GetHealth launched their public funding raise for accredited investors. Find out more information about how to join their team, visit or contact their CEO, Liam Ryan at
 And remember, it’s because of launchpads like the Hackovate Health that startups like GetHealth get on the map.  Who knows what the next innovation competition will unveil.  To inquire about hosting an innovation competition of your own and partnering with Think Big Partners to discover the next big thing, contact us at 

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