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Kho Health: Changing the way athletes approach injuries

As a longtime athlete, Ian Warner had grown increasingly frustrated with how difficult it was for athletes to get in touch with the right people to deal with their injuries.

Then, he decided to something about it.

Kho Health, started in 2016, is a mobile-first platform that allows injured athletes to connect with local healthcare providers that can best deal with their specific injury.

“There’s not really a good way to go about finding people who have the specialization that athletes often need,” says Warner, founder and CEO of the Des Moines-based company. “You often have to use multiple websites and connect the dots on your own. It was just a really frustrating process.”

For athletes and healthcare providers

“One of the problems we initially ran into is that when we are very athlete heavy,” says Warner. “So when we started launching the product we had a ton of questions coming in, but we couldn’t keep up with the volume on the healthcare provider side.”

Now, Kho Health operates so that the health care providers aren’t needed in the initial steps of using the platform.

“All the information and data that our app needs to find the best providers is pulled into the database and used to help users find the best healthcare provider for them,” says Warner. “Then we can take that user data and show it to healthcare providers to get them engaged on the platform.”

2018 plans

Kho Health was one of the four companies selected to take part in the Iowa Startup Accelerator’s 2018 Spring Cohort.

“Iowa Startup Accelerator kicks you in the face,” says Warner. “It helps us to realize the little things we were missing in and pushes us to always focus on going back and talking to the customer. It’s really easy as an entrepreneur to come up with ideas, but it always comes back to what the customer thinks and wants.”

Warner says he plans on continuing to concentrate on getting athletes to use the app as much as possible this year.

“I’m really focused this year on building the athlete-side of the platform and getting them used to using the product, getting numbers up, and gaining a lot of organic traffic,” says Warner. “Once those numbers are really solid, we can go to healthcare providers with something really impressive and make getting engaged on the platform a no-brainer for them.”

Previous coverage

Iowa Startup Accelerator announces four startups for Spring 2018 cohort – March 20, 2018

Kho Health: Changing the way athletes approach injuries | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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