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Healthtech Startup Relocates to Birmingham with App to Help Teens Control Diabetes

Greens co-founders Isis Ashford and Kehlin Swain moved their startup to Birmingham after participating in the Prosper HealthTech Accelerator. (Contributed)

By Mark Kelly

Alabama News Center

An idea born in Texas when a family member was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes evolved into a healthtech startup that now calls Birmingham home.

Greens began as a texting service and app serving diabetic teenagers from vulnerable populations, offering culturally focused meal plans to help make it easier to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Founded in Houston by Kehlin Swain, Isis Ashford and Dr. Jaylen James, the company first came to Birmingham to complete Prosper’s 12-week HealthTech Accelerator. The founders made the decision to relocate Greens after completing the program, believing Birmingham to be an ideal location to continue accelerating their success.

“The Prosper HealthTech Accelerator had everything set up for us,” Swain said. “The connections were in place and the relationships with major partners were poised and ready. We’re on track to triple our growth in less than two years.”

Designed for teens with diabetes and their parents to help manage glucose levels while eating foods they love, Greens uses real-time photos to assist in calculating carbohydrates and experimenting with different foods. It also builds a library of foods and meals that users commonly eat, providing an additional tool to help manage mealtimes and keep diabetes under control.

As Greens continues to grow, Swain said, it will need the support of local corporations and the larger community. The company is seeking national and local pilot or quality incentive programs with managed care organizations; community members on public insurance; persons needing help in managing Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes; and employer partners.

In making the decision to move Greens to Birmingham, the founders said they were attracted by both Birmingham’s rich history and its current emergence as a growing center for innovation. That’s in keeping with the combination of what Ashford called a “traditionally simple business model” powered by advanced technology.

“This is an exciting place to be,” Ashford said. “Birmingham is a mission-driven city, and becoming part of that has been amazing.”

Based in Birmingham, Prosper is a nonprofit organization with the mission of aligning existing initiatives, supplementing them with select new opportunities and scaling a collaborative civic agenda. Its HealthTech Accelerator connects cutting-edge, high-technology startups to the coaching, capital and connections they need to build and grow their businesses.

The Prosper HealthTech Accelerator is powered by gener8tor, a nationally ranked venture capital firm and accelerator that brings together startup founders, investors, corporations, job seekers, universities, musicians and artists. The gener8tor platform includes more than 75 programs spanning startup accelerators, corporate programming, speaker series, conferences, skills accelerators and fellowships.

Learn more about Greens, its texting service and the Greens app here.