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April 7, 2023

Meet the 2023 Austin Inno Madness champions

By Brent Wistrom

For Austin Inno, Senior Editor

Please join Inno in congratulating Babson Diagnostics.

But, really, everyone participating is a winner in our eyes. Inno Madness, which was sponsored this year by international law firm Morrison Foerster, was created to generate awareness for some of Austin's most innovative companies. After taking nominations, Inno seeded the bracket largely based on how much venture backing each startup had raised. Then, we asked readers to vote for the companies they'd most like to invest in.

All 32 startups had strong showing this year. Click here for a quick look back at each round of voting.

Now, let's learn a bit more about the champs.

Babson Diagnostics is a health care-technology company focused on making routine blood testing less invasive, more convenient and more affordable for people. The company has developed a patented finger collection device that requires only one-tenth the sample volume of traditional venipuncture methods while maintaining accuracy and quality. It has secured key patents in the United States, European Union and China. It has raised about $44 million in venture funding, including a $31 million series B in 2021.

The company was named in honor of Art Babson, whose legacy of scientific innovation is the foundation on which the company is built.

Inno conducted an email interview with the champs to learn more.

Inno: Babson Diagnostics had a huge and impressive turnout this year. What strategies did the company use to activate its employees and external supporters? 

Babson Diagnostics: First off, we are thrilled to be crowned the champions of this year’s Austin Inno Madness. Austin is home to so many innovative companies and to come out as the company most people would want to invest in means a lot. We would like to thank everyone who voted for Babson Diagnostics in every round.

When we found out that we were part of this year’s contest, we thought it would be a fun way to engage our employees and external partners. We reached out to our personal and professional networks, and simply asked for those who believe in us to take the time to vote. We are a pretty passionate group, and our partners, vendors, manufacturers, investors, friends and family really believe in what we’re doing at Babson — making blood testing more convenient, accessible, and less invasive. The response gives us even more energy as we head toward commercial launch.

Inno: How has Babson Diagnostics evolved over the past six months to a year?

Babson Diagnostics: As with any business preparing for commercial launch, there is so much progress happening quickly. We have spent the past year validating the science behind our innovative ecosystem and conducting clinical studies. We’ve had thousands of people in the community participate in our studies and give positive feedback.

We just started to move into our new headquarters space in Austin to accommodate our growing team.The site houses our high-efficiency, purpose built lab where we will be able to run upward of 50 million blood tests each year. We continue to make key hires across the company including customer service, marketing, operations and finance. In addition, we’ve been actively selecting locations for service depots across Texas as we build our transportation network.

Finally, we were very excited to unveil the brand for our service — BetterWay Blood Testing. This reflects how we have reimagined blood testing around its most important element — the customer.

Inno: What’s up next for the company in the year ahead?

Babson Diagnostics: The Babson team is working with retail partners to bring BetterWay Blood Testing to a pharmacy near you. More to come on that very soon! Our representatives will be busy visiting local medical practices to get clinicians set up to order BetterWay. And we also are working with payers and employers on securing coverage. We plan to launch our service in Texas in the second half of this year, conditional on regulatory clearance of the capillary blood collection device we’ve developed in partnership with BD.

Inno: How does Babson plan to celebrate its victory?

Babson Diagnostics: Are there any nets we can cut down? Just kidding. At Babson, we make celebrating a priority. In fact, we plan to celebrate the official opening of our new lab and headquarters. We will definitely find a special way to recognize this accomplishment with employees and friends and then get back to work and show that those votes mean something.