Independence Blue Cross (@IBX) has announced it is accepting applications for a new startups challenge called the IBX Games Challenge in partnership with Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, the Department of Public Health of Philadelphia, VentureFOrth, and ?What If! Innovation Partners.

IBX appears to feel a responsibility to take a stand and confront the entire Philadelphia-region for its poor rating among large US cities in terms of both mens and women’s health.

In fact, according to the 2012 list of the 100 healthiest cities by University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Philadelphia ranks last among the 100 largest cities.

If you take away the word ‘challenge’, this initiative looks much more like an accelerator program, with the winning companies required to relocate and remain highly present in the Philadelphia economy for the indefinite future, but its free money for the companies selected and if used effectively the funds could lead to a significantly larger follow-on investment from IBX or one of the VC challenge partners.


IBX Challenge Timeline


  • Monday, June 1, 2012: The Challenge begins and entries will be accepted.
  • Tuesday, July 10, 2012: Deadline for online entry submission through the website is 5 p.m. EST.
  • Monday, July 16, 2012: Announcement of finalists. Finalists will be notified by email and posted on this website.
  • Tuesday, July 24, 2012: In-person presentation by finalists. Finalists will be invited to make a 10-minute presentation of their proposal, followed by five minutes of Q&A, to the panel of judges in Philadelphia.
  • Week of July 30, 2012: Announcement of winners.


Evaluation criteria


  • Problem: Does the proposal addresses a significant problem fundamental to health in the Philadelphia region?
  • Impact: How does the proposal affect the selected problem?
  • Innovation and creativity: Is the proposal new and innovative?
  • Practicality: Is the proposal feasible, cost-effective, affordable, sustainable, and scalable?
  • Team: Do you have the right people to build a sustainable product or program?




  • $50,000 grant toward implementation of their proposal
  • Opportunity for the team to present their proposal to a panel of IBX decision-makers
  • Business mentoring services from Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs
  • Up to three months of desk space, business support, and advisory services at VentureForth, a health care-focused incubator in Philadelphia
  • Consulting session provided by ?What If! Innovation Partners for each winner to help them further build out their idea and maximize its impact