While accelerators may be in a bubble, they’re also beginning to have a measurable, positive impact on the ecosystem. The real opportunity, though, is not in creating another Y Combinator, but in building vertical-specific accelerators that bring together industry partnerships to create learning and business opportunities for their startups. In healthtech, there’s Rock Health, Blueprint, Healthbox, New York Digital Health Accelerator and Startup Health to name a few.
The roster is growing, and today we have another addition to the list from veteran accelerator DreamIt Ventures. Today, DreamIt is partnering with Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and The University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) to create a digital health accelerator, designed to provide with entrepreneurs with the resources they need to take advantage of opportunities in the changing landscape of the health industry.
The four-month program, which DreamIt says makes it Philadelphia’s first healthcare accelerator, will seed its chosen companies with up to $50K in capital (it will be taking a collective 8 percent stake in its startups), along with providing office space, mentoring and coaching from industry experts as well as access to critical health care-specific resources thanks to IBC and Penn Medicine.
Through its partnerships with a leading local insurer and provider, DreamIt Health will allow its startups to validate their business models with potential customers, build out their products and services using claims and clinical data and possibly set the groundwork for revenue-generating relationships down the road.
Like other DreamIt programs, the health accelerator’s program will end in a Demo Day, at which all companies will present their businesses to an audience of investors and healthcare organizations. The advantage for entrepreneurs in working with DreamIt is that that the accelerator has already launched 80 companies over the last four years across its TechStars-like national network. The accelerator was founded in and runs a general accelerator in Philadelphia, where it’s currently incubating 15 companies.
According to DreamIt Managing Partner Karen Griffith Gryga, the accelerator’s companies have gone on to raise over $80 million in funding and are collectively valued at close to $330 million. DreamIt Health’s offices will be located at Venturef0rth, a Philadelphia lab and co-working space. Gryga will co-lead the health program along with Dr. Elliot Menschik, a teacher and entrepreneur, who most founded HX Technologies, a pioneer in medical imaging and health information exchange, which was acquired by MEDecision.
Gryga says that DreamIt Health will be looking for a broad pool of startups, both geographically (not just those located in Philadelphia) and in their approach to the healthcare industry — those looking to bring novel connectivity solutions, data analytics, treatments, delivery models engagement tools, remote monitoring (and so on) to insurers, physicians and hospitals. The first class will consists of up to 10 companies, but the partners will be looking to expand future classes to include as many as 15.
Applications will be accepted through February 8th. Those interested can apply here.