Amazon Introduces First AWS Healthcare Accelerator Cohort
Amazon Web Services has picked 10 digital health startups to join its new AWS Healthcare Accelerator. The month-long program is designed to give a boost to startups using voice, AI, and other technology within the healthcare market as it evolves.
The startups were chosen based on innovation, potential value, and how AWS is applied to the product. AWS partnered with digital pediatric health accelerator KidsX for the accelerator. AWS augmented the help it can offer the startups with the more than 50 children’s hospitals around the world in the KidsX network. Though KidsX is a children’s health-focused organization, applicants for the AWS program don’t have to limit themselves to just that age group. The chosen startups will get advice and mentorship on technical and business-related needs from both KidsX and AWS and the chance to work with their customers and healthcare industry leaders, as well as up to $25,000 in AWS Promotional Credit. The accelerator drew applications from 427 companies and 31 countries.
“The application criteria called for healthcare-focused startups that had a validated solution along with existing revenue, customers, and US-based operations,” AWS vice president of worldwide public sector partners and programs Sandy Carter wrote in a blog post about the chosen companies. “The first-ever AWS Healthcare Accelerator cohort represents a diverse group of healthcare solutions backed by diverse leadership, with 90% of the cohort having diversity of leadership and 70% being female-founded. These 10 finalists are working to solve many of the strategic imperatives of AWS healthcare customers.”
The mix of companies includes several with a voice and AI angle, although not every startup applied its tech to the same purpose. The cohort includes; Aiva, the voice-powered healthcare assistant for hospitals and long-term care homes developer, Gyant, whose virtual assistant works to identify and schedule appointments with appropriate healthcare providers., and Pieces, which provide an AI-powered health assessment and connection to health systems. All 10 startups will share their work at a virtual demo day on Oct. 28.
The demand for digital healthcare tools has been rising quickly, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic shifted so much to virtual and online interaction. That need sparked large investments and expensive acquisitions for startups like Orbita, Hyro, and Avaamo, not to mention helping make Nuance worth almost $20 billion to Microsoft. The vaccine rollout only added to the demand for AI to help doctors keep people informed and schedule their shots, which led to the creation of Nuance’s COVID-19 vaccine bots. Amazon hasn’t been ignoring that trend in its other divisions, either, as evidenced by its new line of Halo fitness trackers with Alexa voice controls.