7 Most Promising US Startups (Automotive and Digital Health)

September 15th, 2016

Internet of Things / E-health / IT News // Grossum Possum

The most promising US startups in automotive and digital health areas

Silicon Valley is considered to be a Mecca for all technology entrepreneurs. Startup owners want to have a presence in the US to be closer to investors and to the technological community. That community is the very reason why the US is the country with a large number of promising startups.

Statistics show that over 500,000 various startups are launched every month in the US. Granted, these are not just IT-related startups. There are about 20 million private entrepreneurs and 60% of Americans believe that the US is an entrepreneurial-friendly society.

It would probably find a business area, which won’t have a successful startup founded in the US. Facebook and Google, Apple and Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox - all these companies take their roots in the US and all of them used to be startups at one time. Today we’re going to talk about the most promising US startups in today’s new IT business sectors. Join us for the #GrossumJourney.

(Want to read what startup owners from the US think about the business environment? Read their interviews here)

Creating a test to correctly diagnose the most difficult illnesses - doctors and scientists have worked on this task for a long time. However, the solution requires a lot of competencies in a number of areas of IT business and related fields. For example, to analyze the data stored in the DNA, we need tools to work with big data and data analysis - besides competencies in actual biotechnology. It is believed that the discoveries are made where sciences meet. Business is not an exception and therefore the projects with the most potential usually combine several fields in them, even if they are seemingly incompatible.


Grail startup works in the area of biotechnology and digital health. It is a subsidiary of a major biotech giant called Illumina, a DNA sequencing technology developer. The purpose of Grail project - to develop a blood test for any type of cancer at an early stage. Illumina technologies let Grail analyze gene sequences and create universal cancer detecting blood test.

Grail specialists work together with the doctors from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where tests are being made. The startup received funding for $100 million from such investors as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos’ company Bezos Expeditions, as well as several other major venture capital funds.


Besides cancer, diabetes is considered one of the most common and dangerous diseases nowadays. A lot of sugar and carbohydrates in food, lack of exercise, and stress are among the causes of diabetes, which affects younger and younger generations as years go by. It is said that diabetes isn’t even a disease, it’s a way of life. It is possible to live a long and happy life with this sickness and even the quality of life would remain quite high if one controls the blood sugar levels and diet.

Controlling blood sugar level usually requires drawing blood samples, sometimes having to prick one’s fingertip several times a day to do the test. Sano Intelligence startup authors want to eliminate the need to draw blood every time one needs to measure the glucose levels and they are working on a non-invasive blood glucose meter that can analyze the sugar levels even when the patient is asleep. Besides diabetes, startup owners also want to come up with universal tests that would measure other vitals, not just glucose. The data is transmitted and stored in the cloud as well as passed along to the doctor.

Check your food for gluten

6SensortLabs startup also works in the digital health segment - the authors have created a device that can check for the presence of gluten in a product. This portable device will be interesting to people with several food allergies or intolerance to gluten. One of the inconveniences that the startup owners wanted to take care of was to help people to feel free to visit restaurants or cafes without having to fear for one’s health of life. Sensor, created by 6SensorLabs, takes two minutes to check for the presence of gluten in the food. Right now, about 1% of people suffer from celiac disease (aka gluten intolerance). In the future, the startup authors plan to include the check for other potential allergens, which will increase the target audience for their product.

Headphones + fitness tracker

Internet of Things and digital health are present in another US startup called Dash. Dash headphones created by Bragi combine in them headphones and a fitness tracker that is able to analyze the distance as well as the heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. Furthermore, Dash can demonstrate all these data in real time. The headphones also have a microphone, so it is possible to use them as a wireless headset.

Self-Driving Trucks

Self-driving cars aren’t uncommon these days. Most automakers, as well as companies that have an indirect relationship to the automotive industry (such as Google and Apple), are all working on developing an unmanned vehicle, a car that doesn’t need human intervenience and just needs software. The founders of Otto startup decided to create a revolution in the automotive field by giving the ability to the customers to transform any truck built after 2013 into a smart car that doesn’t need a driver. The startup team includes former employees of Google, Apple, and Tesla who developed the sensors and software for the modernisation of trucks into smart cars. The kit cost starts at $30,000. Recently, the company joined forces with UBER to "create the future of commercial transportation". 

See what's behind you

Another “road” startup in our review is Pearl startup, created by former Apple employees. It is a smart rearview camera called RearVision, which is integrated within the license plate. The camera runs autonomously on solar batteries and connects wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet in real-time, showing what is happening on the road behind the car. The camera can operate even in low light conditions and in any weather. RearVision mobile app doesn’t just record everything that happens on the road, but also analyzes the “image” and warns the driver in case of unexplained situations. The authors of the startup are targeting owners of sports’ cars and large truck drivers whose rear view is often obstructed because of the car design.

Distracted no more

The authors of a “near-automotive” startup called Navdy are trying to solve another rather serious problem - drivers’ being distracted by gadgets. Navdy is a technology that allows projecting additional information on the windshield. The data shown will not only show information about the car - such as current speed or travel route with GPS navigator - but also notifications from cell phones or calls. The image is projected using a small pico projector that uses an infrared camera and a microphone. You can use voice commands to control Nandy device. All that to say… when you are behind the wheel, it’s better to keep your eyes and focus on the road, not your phone.

Author: Grossum Possum

Grossum Possum. He loves using Symfony2 for his projects and learning to implement Symfony3. He also likes developing web and mobile applications using other programming languages and frameworks, such as PHP and Java. In his free time, Grossum Possum likes to write about his experiences in the blog.

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