Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Announce 11 Finalists for Their 2018 Innovation Challenge for Patient Entrepreneurs

Challenge recognizes companies whose founders have been affected by inflammatory bowel disease

Winners to receive monetary prizes for creative and effective solutions to address IBD

MINNETONKA, Minn. and NEW YORK, June 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lyfebulb LLC and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) have selected 11 Patient Entrepreneur finalists who will compete in the “Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge” to earn the Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Innovation Award.

After a thorough screening and review of the dozens of applications submitted, Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group are pleased to announce the final contenders: Steve Axelrod of G-Tech Medical; Daniel Bernstein of metaMe Health; Cindy Frei of Caleb’s Cooking Company; Phyllis “PJ” Johnson of; Vik Kashyap of Toi Labs; Jon Margalit of Complete Start; Kishore Pardasani of Buddha Technologies (OstoBuddy); Marc Ramer of Regentys; Scott Sundvor of Nima Labs; Brett Tripp of Tripp Design; and Daniel Weinstein of Oshi Health.

The Innovation Challenge was announced April 23 and was open to established companies of all sizes whose founders have been affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), whether as a patient or through a loved one, and who have created a product or service to address an issue encountered by IBD patients. The 11 finalists will attend the Challenge in Minnetonka July 24-25 at UnitedHealth Group’s headquarters. At the event, the judges will award three Patient Entrepreneurs with the most innovative and impactful solutions with prizes of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 for first, second and third place, respectively.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed, probably as a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue. The disease category covers Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. About 3 million adults nationwide reported being diagnosed with IBD as of 2015 compared with 2 million adults in 1999.

“Lyfebulb is thrilled to partner with UnitedHealth Group to bring such an exceptional group of Patient Entrepreneurs together to find new and more effective ways to address issues encountered by patients with IBD,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “We have assembled an esteemed panel of judges who will use their expertise to adjudicate the winners and provide unique insights into the businesses presented to help the entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable health care solutions and potential business opportunities.”

The panel includes experts from the patient, business and medical communities including Rebecca Babcock, a Patient Ambassador at Lyfebulb; Shomit Ghose, General Partner at ONSET Ventures; Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb; Dr. Gerard Honig, Translational Research Manager at Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; Dr. Scott Ketover, President and CEO at Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A.; and Dr. Deneen Vojta, Executive Vice President of Research & Development at UnitedHealth Group.

“Through this innovation challenge, we are learning from patients and caretakers in the IBD community about specific unmet needs in the day-to-day management of IBD,” said Dr. Vojta. “At the Challenge, entrepreneurs, health care providers, patient advocates and business leaders will share information and ideas to better understand the needs of people living with IBD and discuss new and more effective ways to address a condition that is often painful and debilitating, and can lead to life-threatening complications. Together, we can help bring the most innovative, effective tools – inspired by personal experiences – into the IBD marketplace.”

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

See, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.


Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO

UnitedHealth Group
Tyler Mason