If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one bajillion times. If you’re going to start a business accelerator, don’t clone Y Combinator or TechStars. Find a niche. With the glut of new accelerators today, the most successful are building vertical-specific approaches that bring together seed capital with meaningful industry partnerships to create real business (and learning) opportunities for their startups. Lately, digital health has been leading the way in this regard, as Rock Health, Healthbox, New York Digital Health Accelerator, DreamIt Health and Startup Health are all beginning to blossom.
One of the veterans (a relative term) of this space is the NYC-based Blueprint Health, an accelerator that got its start in 2011 and launched its first batch in January of last year. Today, the accelerator is announcing its third batch of startups as part of its Winter Program, which kicks off on Monday.
For those unfamiliar, Blueprint, like Rock Health and its brethren, is focused on helping early-stage health startups build their businesses by giving them access to customers, capital and business development opportunities through industry partners.
A charter member of the Global Accelerator Network (started by TechStars), Blueprint has created one of the largest healthcare-specific mentor communities out there, which now counts over 150 health entrepreneurs, investors and executives among its ranks. When the accelerator opened for applications in 2011, it already listed a large group of mentors, which included those who founded or helped lead companies like Eliza, Everyday Health, Keas, Livestrong, Medivo, ShapeUp, ZocDoc and New York Presbyterian Hospital, along with representatives from Union Square Ventures, Aetna, Verizon, CVS, Teladoc, Cerner and Premera.
Since then, the accelerator has continued beefing up its roster, and recently added 10 additional mentors to its program, including:
- Sam Bastia — GM, Global Strategy, Verizon
- Mark Blake — EVP, Strategy and Corporate Development, Cardinal Health
- Sander Duncan — Innovations Officer, Cleveland Clinic
- Laizer Kornwasser — Formerly, SVP Consumer Solutions & Retail Markets, Medco Health
- Supriya Laknidhi — Director for Payer Strategy, Optum
- Ross Levin — VP, Operations & Strategy, Accretive Health
- Donna Moore — Former COO, OptumInsight / UHG
- Richard Roth — VP, Strategic Innovation, Dignity Health
- Beth Seidenberg, M.D. — Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- Colin Watts — SVP, Health Solutions and Global Innovation, Weight Watchers
What’s more, Blueprint has also been looking to bring further resources to the table that will help its startups accelerate their growth, get insight into the inner workings of the industry and validate business models with potential customers. To do so, the company has struck partnerships with Verizon, Humana and Aetna in recent months, each of which offer access to key decision-makers within these organization and hope to lay the groundwork for potential revenue-generating relationships down the road.
Blueprint Health has helped launch 18 digital health startups, and today it’s adding 11 more to its portfolio. Over 80 percent of its first two batches have gone on to raise additional capital, at an average of $400K per startup. On January 1st, the accelerator also launched Blueprint Co-Work — a healthtech-specific co-working space — that is currently home to 25 health startups, which are now plugging away in its 12,000 square-foot loft in SoHo.
But without further ado, here’s a peek at the 11 companies that are part of the accelerator’s most recent batch:
DocASAP (Philadelphia, PA) — Led by Puneet Maheshwari & Archana Gupta, DocASAP has taken a unique approach of forming ecosystem alliances to solve the problem of long wait times for seeing a doctor. DocASAP partners with health insurers and hospitals to manage their provider directories for free and charges doctors a monthly fee to offer online booking via their partner web sites. Puneet is a Wharton and McKinsey alum with over 15 years of experience working in technology startups. Archana is an engineer with extensive experience building enterprise applications.
for[MD] (New York, NY) — Led by Greg Chang, Sameer Tanakia, Kris Brower, Mike Gagnon, and Chad Mather, MD, forMD manages physician networks for associations and societies and allows users to exchange with peers and subject matter experts. forMD already manages networks that include 20 percent of all orthopedic surgeons in the United States.
HealthyOut (San Francisco, CA) — Led by Wendy Nguyen, Jonathan Hironaga, and Dan Myers, HealthyOut helps consumers discover and order healthy restaurant dishes matched to their personal health and taste preferences. HealthyOut aggregates food items from menus and online ordering sites, and provides consumers with an easy to use interface to enter dietary requirements (e.g. Weight Watchers points, Paleo diet, low sodium), find appropriate dishes, and easily purchase items for delivery or take out. HealthyOut is currently a Top 10 Food & Drink app in iTunes.
iMedicare (Charlotte, NC) — Led by Matthew Johnson and Flaviu Simihaian, iMedicare provides pharmacies and insurance brokers with a platform to quickly analyze the cost of Medicare and Medicare Part D plans for their customers. This platform saves the pharmacies and brokers time and allows them to differentiate their ability to help their customers. iMedicare is generating revenue.
IntelligentM (Sarasota, FL) — Led by Seth Freedman and Dave Mullinix, Intelligent M provides data driven hand hygiene related infection control solutions for hospitals that dramatically reduce Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAI’s). HAI’s cost the US Healthcare System $30B annually and over 10 percent of the average hospital’s operating budget is related to infection control. Intelligent M’s patent-pending solutions include on-the-spot notification for missed hygiene opportunities, as well as detailed compliance reporting at the individual healthcare worker level. Seth is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in manufacturing and technology that includes a successful track record of growing companies in the consumer goods and GPS channels. Dave is an electrical engineer technologist and a patent holder with 30 years experience creating market leading B2B products from start-ups to multi-billion dollar enterprises.
Keona Health (Chapel Hill, NC) — Led by Oakkar Oakkar, Jason Skowronski, Jimmy Kaanapu, and Stephen Dean, Keona Health provides an online triage system that reduces the amount of staff resources that need to be dedicated to triage and allows providers to focus staff on billable services. The company has five paying clients and SBIR funding. Oakkar worked as an analyst with the Hawaii State DoE on case management systems and enterprise integrations. Jason was an Amazon.com developer responsible for analytic quality inspection systems, shipping, and global fulfillment and was formerly at Microsoft and IBM Research. Jimmy was an award-winning programmer and architect at Prudential. Stephen was a lead engineer behind IT integrations at HP.
Luminate Health (Washington, D.C.) — Led by Shally Madan, Sidd Sinha, and Jessica Hsu, LuminateHealth provides a platform for labs and healthcare providers to easily and cost-effectively enable patients to access, manage, and understand their lab data. Shally is a former Googler and spent several years developing and leading commercial development strategy at Genentech, where she won the firm’s prestigious Innovator Award. Sidd was formerly a consultant at Bain & Company, has several years of product development experience, and was previously co-founder and VP of Product Development at Husk Insulation, a cleantech startup. Jessica is an engineer with several patents and a dozen published technical papers on efficient algorithms she has developed. She also previously co-founded two companies: Clairvoyant Technologies and Biogreen Energies.
MynewMD (Boston, MA) — Led by Liz Keyser and Chris Betti, MynewMD provides condition-specific market research to hospitals via its crowd-sourced consumer survey methodology. Liz is a master’s graduate from Emerson College and Tufts University School of Medicine. She is an expert in health communication and consumer psychology. Chris is a developer and database architect who was formerly at Endeca and TripAdvisor.com where he focused on eCommerce, enterprise search, and analytical database development.
Nurep (San Francisco, CA) — Led by Adam John, Paul Schultz, and Nick Damiano, Nurep has developed a mobile telepresence application that allows medical device manufacturers to offer guaranteed product support in and out of the operating room. Physicians can access the latest product information and instantly connect with the best available representative with a single click. Nurep tracks and optimizes the sales and support team effectiveness and reduces healthcare costs by minimizing unnecessary overheads. Adam has 12 years of international sales and marketing experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Paul worked for Campbell Alliance where he earned the first Pacific Northwest leadership award for work done in the field of commercial effectiveness for biotech and medical device companies. Nick worked as an engineer for several medical device companies, developing a novel motion-tracking algorithm for the world’s first functional lead-less cardiac pacing system.
PadInMotion (New York, NY) — Led by Nir Altman and Dr. Gabe Vorobiof, PadInMotion helps hospitals improve patient satisfaction and reduce readmissions by providing customized medical and entertainment content to patients via tablet technology. Nir was a manager in the Strategy & Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting and is a former executive at American Express and TheLadders.com. Gabe is a Board Certified Cardiologist and Director of Adult Non-Invasive Cardiology at UCLA. Gabe was an Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Medicine and trained at Columbia University, University of Rochester, and Harvard University.
Touch Surgery (London) — Led by Jean Nehme, Advait Gandhe, Andre Chow, and Sanjay Purkayastha, Touch Surgery is a mobile education platform changing the way surgeons learn through novel technology: cognitive task simulation. The medical device industry uses the platform for brand awareness, cost-effective education, safe introduction of devices, identification of advocates and qualification of individuals for high-cost interactions through analytics. Four surgeons determined to improve medical education developed Touch Surgery. Since launching in 2012, Touch Surgery has been downloaded over 40,000 times with interest from academic institutions globally. Jean is a plastic surgeon and achieved honors in a Surgical Simulation MSc. Advait is an orthopedics surgeon, iOS coder and expert in 3D imaging. Andre is a general surgeon, developer, and recently completed a PhD in stem cell research. Sanjay is an academic surgeon specializing in obesity surgery and consulting on how to stop overeating.