The White House Demo Day was a huge success. Hosted by President Barrack Obama, the event showcased several startups that are making an impact in various tech-related fields.
In addition to the exhibitions and presentations, the conference also touched on key issues affecting the tech startup community, such as diversity and discrimination, especially in the upper ranks of top venture capital firms.
“The goal of the day is to shed light on the fact that around only 1 percent of venture-capital backed startups are launched by African Americans, and only around 3 percent are founded by women. Now, with these new pledges, it seems tech leaders are finally getting serious about correcting that imbalance,” wrote Issie Lapowsky, staff writer for WIRED.
Medical Technology Startups
Out of 543,000 startups in the US (according to a survey from Kauffman.org), only a handful was selected to setup exhibits at the event.
One of the 12 startups showcased was Sparo Labs, a St. Louis-based company that specializes in digital healthcare tools. Co-founders, Andrew Brimer and Abby Cohen, pitched their product to funders and entrepreneurs at the expo. Both individuals play an active role in the local startup community, and are on the Board of Directors for the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America – St. Louis Chapter.
During the conference, Sparo Labs was seeking additional support for their latest product, Wing. The revolutionary device is a lung sensor for individuals with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Patients using the pocket-sized tool can keep track of their symptoms through the official Wing app.
Another startup featured was DICOM Grid, a leading medical image exchange vendor. The company presented its secure, cloud-based image-sharing platform designed for professionals in the healthcare sector. In June, the startup won the 2015 SIIA CODiE Award for Best Health and Medical Information Solution.
“We provide a core component of interoperable healthcare,” said Morris Panner, CEO of DICOM Grid. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase our efforts and how these support key national priorities.”
“It has been a very exciting year for the company. DG Suite is rapidly being recognized as a game-changing, disruptive technology that can give medical institutions the interoperability, scalability and flexibility they need,” highlighted Panner.
Perhaps the most unique participant of the first-ever White House Demo Day was Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based lunar logistics startup committed to making the moon more accessible for people worldwide. Since its inception in 2008, the company has fostered several collaborations with notable educational institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University.
The startup exhibited an early prototype rover and Autolanding Sensor technology at the conference. Event organizers specifically requested for the Griffin lander, a robust vessel capable of handling a wide range of payloads. But due to space issues in the building, the presenters were unable to display the compact lander.
“It allows us to have access to administration officials, industry leaders, and to be able to really take our mission of making the moon accessible to the world to the top administration level,” mentioned Jackie W. Erickson, spokeswoman for Astrobotic.