Companies to keep an eye on: HeadCheck Health
By Kerry Costello
The HeadCheck concussion app is an assessment tool that can run accurate and immediate concussion tests on the sidelines of sporting events. A team trainer or doctor can use the HeadCheck app and patent-pending technology to assess indicators of concussion, including objectively measuring the balance of an athlete that has sustained a possible head injury. Based on the test results, they can make an informed decision as to whether or not the athlete should return to play. Sideline test results can be compared to an athlete’s previous baseline test scores that are stored in the app. With this information, trainers and coaches can make educated and confident decisions on the brain health of the injured athlete. It is the easiest, most comprehensive and dependable concussion assessment tool available, and is set to launch in early Spring 2016.
HeadCheck Health has come a long way from when its founders would work into the wee hours of the morning after finishing at their day jobs. In 2013 when the company first started, co-founders Harrison Brown and Kerry Costello had an idea and a minimum viable product. The idea was to build an app that would improve the way medical professionals scored balance tests – a critical indicator of concussion. They had a terrycloth headband with a lab-grade sensor, and an Android app that proved the science of an objective balance scoring method.
Initial feedback from professionals was positive. Users loved the objective balance tool and in every instance requested an Apple app. However, the founders began to hear a similar story: athletic therapists would collect symptoms on paper, cognitive function on a computer and now balance testing on an app. This was another tool in their toolkit, but HeadCheck Health could be much more valuable if it captured these metrics using one device.
Building HeadCheck in Vancouver
The pair began to look to the Vancouver entrepreneurial ecosystem for recommendations and resources for building out their evolved idea. They raised $85,000 in seed funding, recruited a team member to help with the hardware product and worked with development firms, including the expert team at Conquer Mobile.
After a few months, the team had developed a prototype iOS app for balance testing. When the team began to transition to working on HeadCheck fulltime, things really started to progress. Their first stop was the e@UBC accelerator program, called Lean Launchpad. Through this program, they spoke with almost 100 stakeholders and defined their beachhead market. Teams started requesting to be part of the trial program. By August 2015, they had 31 teams in their pipeline.
The team has bootstrapped its way to a full commercial product, filed a patent, launched a successful trial program with all 31 teams and started a waitlist. HeadCheck also recently secured $30,000 in funding from the National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program. The next year is all about growth for the company, as they look to expand access across Canada and into the United States.