27 Aug New Orleans Health Innovators Finalists Access Potential Investors from Multi-Billion Dollar Health Systems While Transforming Digital Healthcare

The journey continues for the New Orleans Health Innovators winners as they improve BioInnovation and Health Service operations for New Orleans and beyond.

Launched in 2017, the New Orleans Business Alliance’s Health Innovators Challenge was designed to accelerate the growth of digital health businesses in New Orleans with the goal to ultimately improve health for the city’s residents.

By partnering with some of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, NOLABA exposed young companies with the kind of resources many businesses dream about.

The nationwide challenge focused on digital technologies in the healthcare industry. Over the course of several months, competitors worked to fine tune their technology solutions to meet the needs of the healthcare system participants. In March 2018, three winners were announced at a New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge Finale during Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).

Since then two of the winners have taken their products to the next level, expanding their presence in the Louisiana market.

We’re excited to share news of the progress these companies made.

Taking the product to market

Alertgy, a diabetes health company, won the Diabetes Care Challenge, presented by two of the state’s largest healthcare companies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System. The company’s winning technology demonstration and presentation was of a wearable, noninvasive, real-time glucose monitoring and alert system.


Marc Rippen of Alertgy accepts his award from NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr.

The two sponsoring organizations contributed a cash prize of $36,000, which allowed Alertgy to further develop its technology.

Marc Rippen, founder/CEO, and his team are working to shrink the size of the current wristband sensor system to the size of a smartwatch.

Winning the Diabetes Care Challenge further validated Alertgy’s technology.

“The hardest thing is getting people to give you the benefit of the doubt and allow you to demonstrate the technology to them so that they can see for themselves that it works,” said Marc Rippen. “That’s where the New Orleans Business Alliance was really critical because it gave us the introduction to Ochsner and to Blue Cross Blue Shield, who are very heavily interested in helping to make the life of diabetics in Louisiana better than it is.”

While the company is now a part of the Cleveland Clinic’s Accelerator program, Rippen remains connected with New Orleans healthcare systems. Ochsner Health Systems will be the first to work with Alertgy’s groundbreaking technology, followed by the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.

Alertgy also recently retained the prestigious New Orleans law firm and Health Innovation Challenge partner Stone Pigman to represent the company as it grows.

SimplyVital Health makes connections in Louisiana

Winner of Lafayette General Foundation’s Interoperability Challenge, SimplyVital Health, is building an open-source blockchain protocol called Health Nexus. Health Nexus allows healthcare providers to share patient information to better diagnose and treat individuals. Health Nexus also provides the infrastructure for developers to create new blockchain solutions for healthcare.

Founder and CEO of SimplyVital Health, Kat Kuzmeskas was named by Fortune magazine as one of the “34 Leaders Who Are Changing Healthcare”.

Since winning the Interoperability Challenge, Kuzmeskas visited Louisiana twice where she has met with healthcare leaders. As a result, LGF and SimplyVital Health are exploring avenues for partnership. Kuzmeskas has also met with other Louisiana-based stakeholders interested in blockchain technology.

New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge: Success for all

The continued success of these technology companies presents an opportunity for Louisianans to be the beneficiaries of best and newest healthcare technology available.

Through the devices such as Alertgy’s diabetes monitoring system and through software potentially utilized at hospitals such as SimplyVital Health, the Health Innovators Challenge proved to be a beneficial endeavor for participants and partners alike.

Looking forward to the next challenge

This year the New Orleans Business Alliance looks to expand upon the success of the Health Innovators Challenge. Both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System recommitted as sponsors of the challenge.

Additionally, Omega Concierge Services also signed on as a donor to the challenge.

Look for more information on the 2019 Health Innovators Challenge in the weeks to follow.

If you are a company or start-up interested in participating in the challenge, contact Sally Lindsay at slindsay@nolaba.org.