The big list of Digital Health Accelerators

Here is my first attempt to put together a complete global list of Health IT and Digital Health accelerators, the definition of which is difficult to nail down so I’ve gone with organizations that provide a formal accelerator program of some type that also combine investment and mentoring among other services.

I’ve arranged the list in roughly alphabetical order which is sometimes difficult to ascertain due to the unique names of some of the organizations.

If I’ve missed any or any details require correction please let me know in the comments.

Blueprint Health New York City, New York – 3-month accelerator program with $20k investment (6% equity exchange), approximately $60k of services, mentorship, office space and more.

Dreamit Health Philadelphia – 4-month accelerator program with $50k investment, mentorship, office space and more.

Health Axis Europe Cambridge (UK), Leuven (Belgium) and Heidelberg – startup competition, and 5-day ‘summer camp’ for winning startups to prepare for the “expo” where they are able to present their plans to VCs.

Healthbox Boston, Chicago, London – 3-month accelerator program with up to $50k investment (7% equity exchange), mentorship, office space and more.

HealthStartZ Denver, Colorado – 90 day bootcamp with seed funding and mentoring provided by SeedHIT.

healthxl (Startup Bootcamp) London / Dublin – 3-month accelerator program with €15k investment (8% equity exchange).

Ignition Labs Eveleigh, Australia –3-month accelorator program with $25k seed funding, mentorship and a US/EU investment roadshow program.

Infuse Accelerator Indianapolis, Indiana –24 week accelerator program with services investment up to $75k and seed funding of $75k with a potential of an additional $100k follow on.

Modern Aging – Stockholm, Sweden – 4-month accelerator program with 50,000 SEK seed funding, focused on improving the lives of the elderly

New York Digital Health Accelerator New York City, New York- 9-month accelerator program with up to $300k, mentoring and VC matchmaking.

Nike+Accelerator Portland, Oregon – 3 month accelerator program powered by TechStars, $20k investment, mentoring, access to Nike tech resources, startups are expected to leverage the Nike+ platform and NikeFuel.

PILOT health tech NYC New York City, New York – provides funding of up to $100,000 each to innovative projects that pilot new technologies in New York City healthcare settings.

Project Lift Miami, Florida – 3-month accelerator program with $20k investment and services & resources to a total value of $160k.

Redesigning Data Washington, DC – 2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge’ awards $100,000 to the winner.

Rock Health San Francisco – 5-month accelerator program with optional $100k investment, 30k of services, mentorship, office space and more.

Sanotron Vancouver, British Columbia – A hands-on company development program focused on outcomes with access to funding and mentorship.

StartUpHealth International – 3-year program of inspiration, education, and access to customers, capital, and other critical resources.

The Iron Yard Greenville, South Carolina – 3-month accelerator program with $20k investment, 1 year free co-working office space, mentorship and more.

Tigerlabs Health Princeton, New Jersey – 3-month accelerator program with $20k investment, $100k+ in perks.

Welltech Funding New York City, New York – 6-month accelerator program with up to $50k in funding (with right to participate in future funding rounds), mentoring and office space.

wemultiply New York City, New York – investment and marketing support for early stage health & wellness startups.

XLerateHealth Lousiville, Kentucky – 10-week immersion program with $20,000 cash investment, office space and mentoring at the University of Louisville’s Nucleus Health Innovation Center.

ZeroTo510 Memphis, Tennessee – 2 x 90-days program to assist medical device startups to achieve FDA approval with $50k investment (equity exchange required) and 3 selected startups participate in the second 90 day program with an additional $100k investment.

Why Scanadu is crushing it on Indiegogo

Scanadu’s Scout dubbed the world’s first medical Tricorder is absolutely crushing it on Indiegogo setting the record on the crowdsourcing site for the fastest funding velocity in history. So far they have raised 1.3M with 10 days still left to go absolutely destroying their modest goal of $100,000.

So what the heck is it? The Scanadu Scout is designed to be a medical grade Tricorder that uses your smartphone and Bluetooth LE to emulate an Emergency Room in your pocket. It was originally designed by Scanadu as part of the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition and the first prototype of the device was only released six months ago.

How it works is you hold the hockey puck-shaped device to the side of your head and the Scanadu Scout will determine your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and oxygen levels in the blood. It can then send this information to an iOS or Android smartphone, via Bluetooth.

It’s a pretty cool product and the perks offered on Indiegogo are very appealing but on the surface it doesn’t seem to be that much different than other crowdfunded products in much more sexy markets.

So why is a health tech startup resonating so well?


Scanadu took its cues from Captain Jean Luc Picard when launching their Social Media campaign, “engage”! Scanadu has executed a near flawless Social Media campaign that has amassed almost 6,000 loyal followers on Twitter, 2,000 Likes on Facebook and 500 followers on LinkedIn. While these numbers aren’t huge, they represent loyal believers that have spread the word, shared, liked, blogged and commented about Scanadu significantly enough to catch the attention of traditional media and A list bloggers.

Geek factor

Ok, they’re calling it a Tricorder so they clearly understand their market, geeks. More specifically health geeks. Health Geeks are data driven but they also want cool stuff. This product delivers on both counts. It demos well, provides tons of interesting data to analyze and it just plain looks awesome. Adding the quirky Star Trek reference gives users permission to play with the technology, show off the device and tap into the cult of geek in an industry where most medical devices would never be considered cool. Which leads to…


Picture a “medical device”. You’re probably imagining a big ugly green or beige box with LED displays and lots of wires popping out of it everywhere and something that periodically beeps. Yuk. Now look at this thing.

It’s gorgeous. Even before I knew what it did I wanted one.

Lean Startup Principles

Even with great product design and brilliant online marketing campaign Scanadu recognized that to really hit it out of the park they needed to get the device into the hands of customers early. This allowed them to validate their prototype fast and then pivot or re-engineer based on real customer feedback and to build a solid reference base and huge list of prospective customers eager to buy the finished product. Scanadu readily admits and credits a number of its early adopter customers with the incorporation of additional features such as assistance for visually impaired users.

Scanadu addresses real customer pain

This is really by far the most important aspect of the product. It solves a big problem that lots of people have. When it’s 2 AM and my toddler has a fever and a cough and I’m not sure what to do I can call telehealth and wait on hold for hours, take him to the ER and spend the night in a hospital waiting room or simply sit and worry until morning and call the Doctor hoping for an appointment.

For a parent there is no greater pain than seeing your child in pain without the means and ability to take action. Having a device that will help me make an informed decision in that moment is well worth the money I spent. More importantly having the ability to proactively manage my health and the health of my family with real measurable data empowers me and ultimately reduces the costs and burden placed on the healthcare system.

Final thoughts

With significant sales already booked via the Indiegogo campaign, Scanadu is in a great position to bring it’s product to market and launch cash flow positive.

They are entering a huge market with significant demand already created and they are doing it with a truly disruptive technology not just a gadget. While this first iteration may not completely deliver on the promise of a medical Tricorder it is miles ahead of many of the other heath tracking gadgets already on the market and addresses a real customer pain which will drive sales funding further R&D and product iterations.

Check out the Scanadu site here and the Indiegogo campaign site here.

Summer health tech startup report reading

If you have any interest in the digital health or health tech startup markets, here are two reports that are required reading:

Rock Health is the Platinum standard of Digital Health Startup cool. They are also data geeks who know how to put together an awesome infographic and slide deck.

Why I like their reports is the crisp clean presentation but more importantly the analysis they provide. This report indicates that while funding is still up, overall funding growth is slowing. Interestingly the focus now seems to be on funding software products with a significant drop in medical devices.

Trends identified include Remote Patient Monitoring and Analytics / Big Data are on the rise. This is not surprising as these markets mature and more and more customers are looking to reduce costs, do more with less, manage and solve problems with data.

The StartUpHealth report isn’t as graphically flashy, however it makes up for this in the amount of data it pacts. If you’re looking to drill into the numbers of individual deals and how they compare to trends then this is a great report to check out.

Health Tech Hatches a new crowd-funding model

Health Tech Hatch Home Page

The crowd-funding phenomenon continues to cross over into the world of Healthcare technology with this launch this month of Health Tech Hatch. Health Tech Hatch’s online and mobile platform is dedicated to allowing individuals to help entrepreneurs launch early stage startups with seed funding for innovative health and wellness products and companies and claims to take the “friends-and family money” idea and multiply it’s results by leveraging the social web.

Beyond funding, entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to have their project evaluated by panels of medical experts, patients and consumers to provide early feedback and validate their ideas.

The team backing the venture has a wide variety of letters after their names from MDs to MBAs and interestingly 3 out of 5 of them are women. Once again it seems the ladies are leading the way!

The advisory board is equally impressive and diverse in credentials.

While the site is still in Beta, there are plenty of opportunities to check out with projects offering perks much like Kickstarter instead of equity.

Health Tech Hatch Fund


You can find out more about Health Tech Hatch on their websiteblog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ pages.

The Digital Health industry is red hot, but is it a good investment?

It’s a perfect time to be in the Digital Health Industry. Daily deal sites and social media apps may be still be getting some press, but Digital Health is finally going mainstream and more importantly it’s getting the investment dollars. Wearable health tracking devices and “quantified self” applications are beginning to mature and find an enthusiastic consumer market at the same time that mobile health and big data are fundamentally changing the way healthcare providers deliver care.

Rock Health VC Funding Q3 2012

But with all this hype, is it a good time to invest in the Digital Health space? Is it too late or still way to early?

I think we’re just getting started. Here’s why:

The established players are making good money

Growth in legacy systems has been sighted as “abysmal” by a number of sources this year. Large complicated EHR systems are often characterized as out-dated, not aligned with the emerging model of healthcare based on patient outcomes and frankly, just really expensive. And yet the numbers tell a different story as old guard EHR companies such as Cerner and McKessson have seen incredible growth over the past year due mostly to innovation outside of the traditional EHR sale as well as strategic acquisitions.

Cerner Stock Performance 2012

The outliers

Big data, genomics and translational medicine are going to require more and more computing horse power. This opportunity alone is going to bring focus to the healthcare market from the traditional IT companies that can provide the hardware and software needed to build and deliver on the Big Data promise. The big IT vendors in this space with deep pockets and huge cash reserves are already buying up healthcare start-ups for both technology and talent acquisitions to go after these emerging markets. This is creating successful exits for a number of startups, which in turn puts cash back into the hands of the very entrepreneurs creating the growth. It’s also driving industry consolidation for more established long-term players giving them access to greater resources and markets.

The up and comers

Beyond the growth rates of the established players, there is an increasing global trend towards outcome-focused healthcare, which is putting pressure on these large vendors to cut costs, improve efficiencies, demonstrate clear and quantifiable results and do it quickly. The problem is these multi-billion dollar vendors are just not designed to deliver the kind of rapid and ground breaking innovation required by the market today. This is what is opening up plenty of new opportunities for startups who can innovate, iterate and aren’t held back supporting legacy systems. Bottom line, there’s markets in everything and plenty of share for everyone so rather than compete with the big players, there is plenty of room below the radar.

The consumer market

Wearable technology, quantified self and mHealth technology focused start-ups are popping up all over the place. Take Fitbit as a great example. Backed by Foundry Group, True Ventures and SoftTech VC, Fitbit makes small wearable sensors that collect data about your physical activity during the day and with the help of an armband your sleep activity during the night. They also make a scale that collects weight, BMI and body mass data. All this data is synced via WiFi to a portal on the Internet where you can crunch your own personal health data in real time, set health goals and monitor your progress. The real killer part of the application is that unlike other health, fitness and diet solutions with Fitbit you can see results online and in real time.

These startups are tapping into a completely consumer based business model that relies on a combination of product sales a subscription services to drive revenues with a great deal of upside potential to include other personal monitoring devices such as blood pressure and glucose monitors. This new market alone has enormous potential and as startups begin to built out these siloed platforms, consolidation and acquisitions are bound to drive further interest and valuations.


Incubators and Accelerators oh my!

You can’t walk more than a few steps with your quantified-self device anywhere in North America without tripping over a new Digital Health Incubator or Accelerator. And they’re all producing some pretty amazing stuff. Some of my favourites to watch are Rock Health, MaRS, Blue Print Health, StatUp Health, The New York Digital Health Accelerator, Healthbox. Unlike other Incubators and Accelerators in other niche market, Digital Health a really the untapped startup opportunity of our generation and these folks are pursing it with a level of ferocity that puts us Dot Com veterans to shame.


So am I bullish on the Digital Health Market? Yep. I can’t think of a better place to invest both my time and money. I think we are still in the very early stages though. That means as an investor there is a great deal of risk that needs to be managed, but also a great deal of opportunity. The best part is, unlike the Dot Com days, these new startups are driven by not only profits but a real desire to help people live healthier lives. That alone will attract a new level of commitment and talent to this market.