8 startups repping Philly’s health IT scene at SXSW

March 20, 2017


On the first day of SXSW Interactive, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a powerful message to a captivated crowd. He was in Austin to announce his foundation’s new cancer initiative. The enthusiasm of the audience was reflective of a highly healthcare-centric SXSW. The trade show, interactive programs and keynote addresses by folks like IBM boss Ginni Rometty and Johnson & Johnson chief exec Alex Gorsky had a common message: data will transform healthcare.


That’s a message that make sense to me. At Oncora Medical, the Philadelphia healthcare startup I lead, we like to say we’re fighting cancer with data. Our software platform for oncologists leverages data about past cancer cases to design personalized radiation treatments and has the potential to drastically improve outcomes. Our first time exhibiting at SXSW was amazing. Our booth was directly across from NASA, and the AR/VR renderings of rocket launches and the moon landing reminded me of the difficulty and importance of the work we’re doing to improve healthcare.


Allow me to channel Biden, who declared war on cancer through his original Cancer Moonshot back in 2016: Every healthcare company, large and small, has their part to play to make incredible advances possible.


We feel so lucky to be down here in Austin with our peers representing Philly. The full Philly health tech cohort includes a mix of both new and well-established Philadelphia-based companies:


BioRealize is developing low-cost and easy-to-use tools for designing and growing organisms for novel uses in agriculture, medicine, manufacturing, energy and consumer-based products.

Centrak produces tools to improve the efficiency and safety of healthcare facilities by tracking the locations of staff, patients, and assets in real-time.

CPR Connect is developing a wearable device to improve outcomes for cardiac arrest victims by reducing emergency response times.

Keriton, winner of the SXSW Impact Pediatric Health competition and recipient of a recent $1 million round of funding, has developed a platform for breast milk management and lactation analytics in neonatal ICUs.

LIA Diagnostics is developing an eco-friendly and discrete pregnancy test that is flushable and made with zero plastic.
Oncora Medical uses machine learning to help doctors personalize oncology treatments. We’ve raised over $1.2 million in seed funding and have analyzed the data of over 18,000 patients.

Ostiio, a participant in the University of Pennsylvania I-Corps Accelerator program is a medical device company developing a novel distractor system to expand different regions of the pediatric skull. Unlike currently available distractors, Ostiio’s device can be expanded wirelessly and with precision, across a patient’s skin.

NeuroFlow analyzes biometric data in real time to objectively measure psychological stress. It’s recently partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to test their tool’s ability to help optimize mental health treatments.

Some anchor institutions from Philly’s health innovation ecosystem also got in on the fun. To name a few:


Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (which, aside from being one of the best children’s hospitals in the world, has also spun out several startups, including Haystack Informatics, Diagnostic Driving and Bainbridge Health) sent its venture and innovation manager Paul Dehel. CHOP had a big presence last year at SXSW, too.

University City Science Center, which has provided incubation services to more than 400 companies over its 50-year history, was also in attendance.

Safeguard Scientifics



The Science Center’s president and CEO, Stephen Tang, said it best: “As part of a vibrant city and region with world-class science and innovation assets, we’re proud to call Philly home. Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires the participation and support of a diverse group of organizations – and collaboration is at the core of Philadelphia’s innovation community. That’s why we’re eager to show off Philadelphia at SXSW with Amplify Philly.”

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