We’re almost a week away until BostInno’s 50 on Fire event so we’re going to give you a chance to learn about the finalists in our health and medicine category. From online pharmacies to innovation programs within hospitals, these companies and individuals represent a broad range of the happenings with Boston’s healthcare innovation ecosystem.


2020 On-site Optometry

20/20 On-site Optometry. File photo.
20/20 On-site Optometry. File photo.

This Boston mobile optometry startup has been changing the way businesses provide vision benefits and eye exams to employees. Since 2014, it has performed over 10,000 eye exams for more than 230 corporations with its “mobile vision centers” — large RVs that have an entire eye care center built inside. Customers include large enterprises like iRobot and Pfizer, and it raised a $3 million round earlier this year to expand beyond Boston and Atlanta into Chicago. Investors include Lee Linden, former head of commerce at Facebook; and Mark Nunnelly, former managing director at Bain Capital.


This local venture has developed what it says is a “first-of-its-kind” artificial pancreas that uses algorithms to help regulate glucose control. The startup has done clinical trials with the Department of Veteran Affairs, Michigan University and the University of Florida. The startup was part of MassChallenge’s 2014 cohort.

Analog Devices

Earlier this year, the 50-year-old semiconductor company announced that it would acquire Linear Technology Corporation, a competitor out in the West Coast, for $14.8 billion. Combined, the value of Analog and Linear was expected to be $30 billion, with about $5 billion in anticipated annual revenues. The company, which supplies chipsets for Apple, has also seen its stock price climb to new highs recently after reporting big profits in its most recent quarter.

Docent Health

After giving $2.1 million to Docent Health in January, the same investors came back several months later with another round of financing at $15 million to fuel growth of the Boston startup’s patient engagement platform. The startup was originally conceived by New York-based healthcare investment firm Oxeon Holdings and it has signed on New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery as its first customer. The investors are Bessemer Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Maverick Ventures.


GRIT Freedom Chair prototypes. Photo via Engineering for Change on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).
GRIT Freedom Chair prototypes. Photo via Engineering for Change on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Born out of MIT, GRIT is a social enterprise that has developed a specialized wheelchair that lets riders travel on multiple terrains, from beaches and fields to hiking trails. According The Boston Globe, The Freedom Chair, as it’s called, has been distributed in several countries — including Haiti,Tanzania and India — with the help of Red Cross, World Bank and other organizations. GRIT is a past $100,000 winner of MassChallege, and it has also won $400,000 from the United States-Indie Science & Technology Endowment Fund, as well as raising $650,000 from Boston-area angel investors.

Iora Health

Iora Health raised a giant, $75 million financing round back in October that was led by Temasek, an investment firm owned by Singapore’s government. The startup aims to reinvent primary care through its own primary care practices — around 34 and counting now across 11 U.S. markets — with a proprietary collaborative care IT platform that aims to improve clinical outcomes and lower costs. The startup said it has seen triple-digit growth this year. GE Ventures is also an investor.

John Brownstein: Boston Children’s Hospital

John Brownstein
John Brownstein

Outside of his research faculty position at Boston Children’s Hospital and his professorship at Harvard Medical School, John Brownstein has been making big moves recently at the intersection of healthcare and technology. He was named Uber’s first healthcare advisor earlier this year, and more recently he helped found Circulation, a new Boston digital health startup that provides non-emergency medical transportation by connecting Uber’s APIs with healthcare systems. Circulation’s pilot will be at Boston Children’s, Mercy Health System in Pennsylvania and Nemours Children’s Health System in Delaware.

Katrine Bosley: Editas Medicine

Called one “one of the highest profile CEOs of the Boston biotech scene,” Katrine Bosley became CEO of Editas Medicine over the summer of 2014, overseeing a company that aims to be one of the first to commercialized the genome editing technology known as CRISPR for patients with genetically driven illnesses. Editas went public earlier this year. Bosley previously led Bedford-based Avila Therapeutics’ $350 million sale to New Jersey-based Celgene.

Lesley Solomon: Brigham Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Lesley Solomon
Lesley Solomon

As its executive director, Lesley Solomon helped launch the Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2013 as a way to incubate new ideas tackling health care problems into products and services. Last fall, the Innovation Hub held a hackathon that resulted in the creation of a digital health startup called Herald Health that is now running a pilot with Brigham and Women’s. Solomon is also a co-founder of the Food Allergy Science Initiative at The Broad Institute, which aims to boost allergy research.

Ovia Health

Ovia Health rebranded from its previous name, Ovuline, earlier this year at the same time it announced it had raised a new $10 million round of capital and expanded its maternity benefits platform. Ovia’s women’s health apps — Ovia Fertility, Ovia Pregnancy and Ovia Parenting — have over 5 million users, and its maternity benefits platform for employers and insurers has signed up large customers, including GE, Activision Blizzard, Optum and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.


It’s been a big year for the online pharmacy startup, which raised at least $31 million in a new round of capital from investors over the summer and reached over 400 employees between its headquarters in Boston and its two other locations in New Hampshire and Utah. The startup also made headlines this year when it picked a public fight with Express Scripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefits managers in the U.S., over a contract dispute that could have cost the startup roughly a third of its customers. The dispute has since been settled. Investors include Astral Capital, Accel Partners, CRV and Accomplice.

Veritas Genetics

This Danvers-based biotech startup is taking something that has typically been expensive and unavailable to the public at-large: genome sequencing. At $999, Veritas Genetics’s human genome sequencing service is far more affordable than anything similar. The startup raised a $30 million round of financing in October from China-based Jiansu Simcere Pharmaceutical and Trustbridge Partners, a private equity firm that has offices in Boston and Shangai. With $42 million in total raised capital, the startup has reported that hundreds of people have been tested this year, receiving information about genetic risks for a number of conditions.


Wellist CEO and founder Ashley Reid.
WellistCEO and founder Ashley Reid.

Founded in January 2015, This Boston digital health startup launched last fall an online service providing personalized recommendations to hospital patients for post-discharge services. After partnering with the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,Wellist has since expanded its offerings with a new service called Integrated Patient Experience Solutions, which provides patient experience assessments and analytics, in-hospital concierges and call center navigators, among other things. The startup has raised a $2.2 million seed round.

GRIT Freedom Chair prototype image source.