Health tech startup Wellpepper wins Alexa Diabetes Challenge

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge program was launched in April, and challenged health technology companies to put Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to work in helping those with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Monday, The Alexa Diabetes Challenge organizers announced the winner of the $125,000 grand prize: Seattle-based health software startup Wellpepper, which entered its first-ever device in the competition.

The competition was a collaboration between pharmaceutical giant Merck, strategy consultant Luminary Labs and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud service. The 98 competitors received mentoring, cash prizes and AWS credits as they moved through the challenge’s stages. Wellpepper was one of five finalists.

Known as Sugarpod, the winning device is a connected weight scale and foot scanner that integrates with the Sugarpod app and Alexa skill.

Sugarpod monitors patients’ weight and keeps an eye out for foot ulcers, a common diabetes complication. But it can also help patients stay on track with their treatment, including tracking diet, glucose level and medication.

Wellpepper is largely a SaaS company. Its patient engagement platform lets doctors prescribe custom treatment plans — for example, an in-home physical therapy routine for patients recovering from joint replacement surgery. It also facilitates communication between patients and care teams.

Sugarpod is the company’s first device, and Weiler said it made sense to integrate the device with Alexa because the voice assistant makes Sugarpod natural and easy to use.

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