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Relief Telemed Takes Top Prize at PitchBR

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Relief Telemed, an on-demand telemedicine platform that connects patients to health care providers remotely to save consumers time and money, took the $1,000 top prize at PitchBR's second competition of 2018.

The Baton Rouge-based startup allows patients to see nurse practitioners for consultations 24 hours a day via a mobile application. The nurse practitioners can write prescriptions or order lab work. Telemedicine is permitted in most states, including Louisiana, where Relief Telemed is concentrating its efforts.

“We replicate what you do at the doctor’s office, we just do it virtually,” says co-founder and CEO Vishal Vasanji.

Visanji says more than 75 percent of visits at urgent care clinics or doctor’s offices can be treated via telemedicine. These include common ailments such as cold and flu, rashes, respiratory infections, sore throats and allergies. Relief Telemed would not handle more serious cases like chest pains or broken bones.

Visanji says virtual consultations are cheaper than most in-person visits — at or below the cost of a typical insurance co-pay for an office visit — and allow patients to save time and avoid waiting rooms with other ill patients. He says the virtual technology can help alleviate a provider shortage that covers much of Louisiana and makes it difficult for some patients to see a provider quickly. “There is room for breaking down the barriers of getting access to care,” he says.

The company, which is conducting closed beta testing, has eight providers approved by state regulators, with another 64 in the pipeline and awaiting authorization. It intends to offer plans for individual consumers and for businesses that may want to provide low-cost virtual consultations as a health benefit and cost-reduction tool.

Visanji detailed the company’s plans during the Pitch Night event, which also featured two other startups: Mintor, a mentoring platform for people to connect, learn and grow together, and Cyphtr, an online staffing tool for employers seeking different levels of assistance.

Cyphtr founder and CEO Ali Jones formerly worked as an executive assistant for film industry leaders, where she developed systems to help recruit and staff multiple positions. Along the way she developed techniques to solve difficulties encountered during the hiring process, and those techniques serve as the foundation for the online system she’s developing for Cyphtr.

Jones says organizations are looking for candidates who fit them and their clients, but can find that sifting through hundreds of resumes from traditional job sites is difficult. She says Cyphtr has found a way to quickly do just that with algorithms that scale and measure personalities, qualifications, network connections and work history into a searchable format.

“We measure the chemistry between people and their references,” she says.

It’s also building a platform that categorizes its database of assistants into a searchable format according to their experience level, rate, location, personality and availability. The company is starting with assistants in all industries, with a focus on film production.

Also presenting at the event was Mintor, a web-based platform to help organizations and individuals better manage their mentor relationships.The platform links users to mentors who are willing to provide guidance and knowledge in their fields of interest. The social platform aims to make mentoring accessible to anyone in any location.

Chief Technical Officer and co-founder Scott Knight says e-learning and mentorship programs are increasingly important worldwide, with billions spent by organizations of all types and sizes. “The need and demand for these types of platform is certainly on the rise,” he says.

The company plans to offer an enterprise solution aimed at organizations seeking to enhance employee or student engagement by improving their internal processes with mentoring programs. It’s currently beta testing the offering with several organizations, including LSU.

The Pitch Night event was sponsored and hosted by law firm Kean Miller. Each company had five minutes to share the vision for their startup, followed by a question-and-answer period with a panel of three judges. After the three pitches, the judges deliberated and selected a winner.

In addition to vying for the prize money, which was provided by the Louisiana Tech Park, the competing companies were able to get feedback from audience members and coaching from prominent business consultants and successful entrepreneurs. PitchBR events also give business owners an opportunity to develop connections to nonfunding resources, such as professional services donors and providers.

Join us for the next PitchBR at Ringside at Sullivan’s on Sept. 6.

Stephen Loy