Indy loses promising health startup

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Indianapolis would probably like to have this one back.

LabDoor, which formed here in the spring, moved last month to San Francisco after it was picked as part of the latest class of startups to be housed in the Rock Health seed accelerator for digital health companies.

LabDoor soon will launch an iPhone app that pulls from clinical trials and independent experts to immediately assign an A-F grade for vitamins and over-the-counter medicines. The grade, based on safety, efficacy and price information, is generated by scanning the label on a box or jar in the pharmacy aisle.

As part of its acceptance by Rock Health, LabDoor will receive $100,000 in startup funding from a group of venture capitslists, which include Silicon Valley behemoth Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Perhaps even more importantly, Rock Health works with a constellation of other health companies and venture capitalists, including Kaiser, The Mayo Clinic, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, General Electric Corp., Genentech, United Healthcare, the University of California at San Francisco and Harvard Medical School.

Those connections will be hugely helpful as LabDoor tries to bring its product to consumers, said Tercio “T.J.” Junker, the firm's chief operating officer.

The LabDoor team now consists of just four principals: CEO Neil Thanedar, Chief Technology Officer Helton Souza, Chief Creative Officer Rafael Ferreira and Junker.

Members of the LabDoor management team said it was a tough decision to leave Indianapolis, but that the opportunity in San Francisco was too good to pass up.

“The Indy startup scene is definitely on the rise, but is years away from being a true startup hub,” Thanedar said in an interview published Nov. 1 on nibletz.com. “Most startup cities grow in a predictable way: Startups form organically, a few hit big financial exits, creating angel investors who support the next generation of startups. We’ve seen the exits (IPOs for Angie’s List and ExactTarget). The next set of startups are ready to grow, they just need the early capital to succeed.”



  • Dreamapolis Accelerator hurry up
    Indianapolis is a hub for entrepreneurship and growing still everyday. I wish LabDoor the best, but they are still one of many promising start-ups that have left to find investment elsewhere. The question should be...how many more are we willing to lose.
  • no hard feelings
    I've heard of them. I don't think he meant it in a bad way. The fact that Indy is not Silicon Valley doesn't mean that Indy is bad or not getting better. My guess is that money didn’t play a key role in their move (you don't move to SF for $100K), but the fact that it would be harder for them to recruit highly skilled people if they stayed. That doesn't mean they might not consider a move back once they are more established (i.e. have easier time attracting talent) and start looking to lower cost. Now, I’m not sure this is a “blow” to Indy. They are a small start-up with somewhat limited potential (from what I gathered about their app idea).
  • What. The. What?
    For ghe record, I like Neil but I'm not sure what his comments are rooted in. "Indy is year's away from being a true startup hub?" "Lack of early capital?". I know for a fact that Gravity Ventures invited them to pitch - and they told us that they didn't need to raise money. I also know that Neil came to Indy from Michigan, built his team here, and launched his company here. Something must be working. I'm all about following the opportunity and I wish Labdoor the best but, like Chris indicated in his comment, their departure is no reflection of the vibrancy of the Indy startup scene. Kristian Andersen Kristian.vc Indymade.com
  • Who did they talk to?
    I wonder who these guys talked to? Are they saying they were turned down by anyone here? I've not heard of them and don't know of anyone in the Angel community that has? An interesting article might be to examine how many companies are leaving because they find greener funding pastures elsewhere and point out who turned them down & perhaps compare it to the number that are actually getting started. It's a disappointing spin on this story to once again put the blame on Indy as if we are not world class in some respect. We don't need to be embarrassed about anything here as it relates to a fertile environment for startups. Indianapolis is the envy of most of our peers and we should be doing a better job of recruiting the many San Francisco startups who are fed up with the high costs, high turnover and stressful lifestyle found on the coast.

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