$50k available for your health IT startup ideas

This morning I spoke with the founders of HealthBox, a business incubator and accelerator program focused on health IT startups. If you’ve got a great idea that you’d like to get funded, need $50k to make it come to fruition, and don’t mind giving up 7% of your company to the accelerator program then HealthBox may be for you.

They’re giving away a good amount of cash ($50k vs. the normal $20k for other tech accelerators), but what I like most about their effort is that they have a strong partnership with three key buyer segments: Walgreens for retail, Ridgeview Medical Center for providers, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for payers. That means if your IT concept needs to sell to one of those constituencies then the Healthbox strategic partners will provide you (likely invaluable) advice on how to sell to your intended audience. Healthbox is also providing, as is customary, a group of pretty good mentors to help you along the way. Mentors are comprised from other healthcare providers, healthcare investors, and successful healthcare entrepreneurs that can show you how to gain traction in the market and acquire healthcare customers (which is never easy).

Unlike some other health accelerator programs out there, HealthBox is not affiliated with HHS, ONC, or any other government program and I think that’s probably a plus.

You have until mid October to get your application in, selections will likely be made by Thanksgiving and announced by early December. The kick off for the program (assuming you’re selected) is second week of January and lasts 3 months, ending in April with a “demo day” for investors. Companies will have workspaces in Chicago and founders will probably need to travel Chicago during the entire program but they said some team members can work remotely with some flexibility; they want everyone near each other because HealthBox believes the value of the program is creating energetic workspaces and having startups help each other. I pretty much agree with the model.

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2 thoughts on “$50k available for your health IT startup ideas

  1. Shahid. I dont think HHS is involved in any incubators in health care–although why you think a start up is better taking money for which they have to give up equity than taking government money for no equity (which has been the basis of the biotech industry for ever) I’m not sure. However, other than that Healthbox will do well as there’s actually a lot of activity in Chicago which will coalesce around it

    1. Agreed, Matthew, thank you for dropping by. HHS isn’t “involved” per se in any incubators.

      I should have been clearer about my point about lack of government involvement being good is that when venture capital, on its own, is interested in healthcare IT accelerators it means that VC are seeing monetary value (and that’s a good thing in my book). I think the government’s general involvement in pushing the healthcare industry into technology (including the stuff you guys are doing with Health 2.0) is a great thing; I think it’s even better when VCs, accelerators, incubators, are jumping in with their own money.

      I like the idea of giving up a little equity because VCs can, sometimes anyway, help in ways that a startup can’t do it on their own. And many times that’s worth giving up a little ownership. For example, if the strategic partners (the buyers) can really become buyers of these startups products it would really be an accelerator. If, however, it turns out there are no buyers and the strategic partners are just doing this for a little PR then of course it won’t be helpful. I guess we’ll see how it goes… 🙂

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