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7 Health Tech Accelerators You Should Know About

Posted on November 6, 2013 I Written By

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

You don’t have to look far to find a health IT accelerator. At least, not as far as you used to.

Programs to give healthcare entrepreneurs a boost are appearing throughout the country, providing opportunities for innovators who don’t live in a major tech hub — and don’t want to move to one.

Here are a few accelerator programs to know about, with special attention to those away from the coasts:

  • The Iron Yard is based in Spartanburg, S.C., and seeks companies involved in areas such as wellness apps and enterprise software. It provides $20,000 in seed capital and three months of mentoring and workshops in areas such as fundraising, user interface development and lean startup methodology.
  • Healthbox is operating programs in Chicago, Nashville and Jacksonville, Fla., in addition to Boston and London. (OK, technically, Jacksonville is on the East Coast, but still.) It’s a four-month program that provides startups with $50,000 in seed capital along with office space, mentoring and training. Healthbox asks for 7 percent in equity. According to the accelerator’s website: “Competitive applicants will address a specific and pressing challenge in the healthcare industry. For example, solutions of interest may improve patient engagement, provider effectiveness or preventative health and wellness.”
  • DreamIt Health started in Philadelphia and has expanded to Austin and Baltimore. The Baltimore version, which will last four months, is selecting as many as 10 firms from around the world and offering as much as $50,000 in stipend money and professional services. Applicants should be “working to use IT to solve significant industry problems faced by key healthcare stakeholders including providers, payers, public health, biopharma, device makers, employers and patients themselves.”
  • The Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is a program launching in Kansas City with a focus on mobile health technology. The three-month intensive mentorship program will begin in March, with startups receiving as much as $120,000, including $20,000 in seed funding and an optional $100,000 convertible debt note.
  • Health Wildcatters is a new accelerator in Dallas that invests as much as $35,000 in each firm. It’s open to a broader range of startups than some of the other programs, stating on its website: “Many healthcare IT, SaaS, digital health and mobile health companies are a fit, but we also encourage medical device, diagnostic and even pharma companies to apply.” Wildcatters takes an 8 percent equity stake. The site explains that in Texas parlance, wildcatters are “independent oil entrepreneurs willing to take chances with regard to where they drill” and that their success comes from “low operating costs and the ability to mobilize quickly.”
  • XLerateHealth runs a 10-week program in Louisville, Ky. Selected teams get a $20,000 stipend and donated professional services worth an estimated $50,000. The goal is to “help early stage healthcare companies build out their commercialization strategy, which includes their intersection with Payers, Providers (hospitals, ACOs, nursing homes, home health and group practices), and customers (employers and/or consumers).” XLerateHealth receives a 6 percent equity stake.
  • Innov8 for Health operates several programs in Cincinnati. This month it’s holding a Health Startup Showcase in which firms present their solutions to entrepreneurs, potential customers and investors and compete for $5,000 in cash and in-kind services. Last year it helped to launch seven companies in a 12-month accelerator program providing each firm with $20,000 in seed funding.

There are, of course, plenty of other programs. Paul Sonnier has compiled a more comprehensive list at Story of Digital Health.

With the rise of open platforms and the growing number of support networks, health IT entrepreneurship has become a viable career option for many.

And, now more than ever, it’s possible to innovate close to home.

Health Wildcatters Incubator

Posted on September 3, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

All of us in the mobile health space and in the health startup space have certainly been overwhelmed by the number of health related incubators that have been started over the past couple years. If you aren’t tracking this space like we do, then just check out Paul Sonnier’s list of health related incubators. If my count is right, he has 28 different groups listed there. I’ll be interested to see this list two years from now, but I digress.

One of the newest entrants into the healthcare incubator space is an incubator called Health Wildcatters out of Dallas, TX. I met the founder of the original Tech Wildcatters when she was visiting the Las Vegas startup community. I started talking to her a bit about the Health Wildcatters incubator and she quickly told me that she knew nothing about healthcare and that they hired an Executive Director to manage that part of the accelerator. I was impressed by her honesty.

MobiHealthNews has a great article looking at the first Health Wildcatters companies. They said the class of companies was focused on adherence, physical therapy and senior care. Those all seem like areas where we’ve seen a lot of startup action.

I’ll be interested to watch this and the other healthcare incubator companies to see how they do. Healthcare is a hard nut to crack and usually needs more than a summer’s worth of work. This is particularly true if we’re talking about a product focused on doctors, hospitals or other medical providers. If it’s a consumer health app, you might be able to find a genie in a bottle. However, even the consumer health apps haven’t yet been given three wishes.

I will say that I hope that Health Wildcatters company Echo Therapeutics is successful at creating a non-invasive glucose monitoring solution. Glucose monitoring that doesn’t use blood is a really hard nut to crack. Considering my predisposition to becoming a diabetic one day, I’m very interested in this technology coming to fruition.

mHealth and Digital Health Event List

Posted on July 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Update: Looks like Paul moved his list to this new location.

Props go out to Paul Sonnier for creating this list of mHealth and Digital Health events. It shows you how many events are happening in the mobile health and digital health space.

My problem with this list is that I want to attend all of the events. This is a problem since I’ve been trying really hard not to travel for events. I traveled a bit too much to start the year and that took its toll on my family. So, I’m hoping to limit my travel for at least the rest of the year. We’ll see how well I can resist.

There are a few events where people are paying for me to attend the event and cover it on my network of sites and on Twitter. That makes it much easier to justify attending. Otherwise, I might be attending a lot of these conferences virtually as I follow their various hashtags on Twitter.

The unfortunate thing as I look at the list is that it doesn’t have any digital health events listed for Las Vegas. One year I was spoiled with HIMSS, ANI, and MGMA all in Las Vegas the same year. This year it seems like we’re looking at a bit of a drought.

What digital health and mHealth events are you planning to attend? Which events do you think I should attend?