As difficult as it was to keep this news to myself, I am proud to announce that we have now formally launched the Startup Health Network (“Network”), an AngelList-style platform dedicated to helping digital health startups, investors and customers communicate and collaborate in an effort to further the adoption of new technologies.
The long-term vision for the Network is to build THE go-to resource for all stakeholders in the digital health sector. At this early stage we envision entrepreneurs using it as the go-to business development resource, whether it be to raise money from investors, identify potential competitors and/or partners, or find and engage potential enterprise customers and/or pilot partners.
Ultimately, while the Network most closely resemble AngelList, there will be an OkCupid-style social matchmaker element which uses creative and thoughtful questions and defined preferences to divine the most appropriate/desired partners and deal flow.
Startup Health Network is truly a unique approach to catalyzing collaboration in digital health. The platform is built on top of the existing eLearning platform used by startup founders selected as Healthcare Transformers to access the curriculum for the three-year Startup Health Academy. Its quick to get started as users can easily build dynamic profiles by importing their LinkedIn or AngelList data with a few clicks.
Startup founders, CEOs and business development leads should, among other things, use the Network to find potential strategic partners, competitors and for later stage companies target acquisitions. This is truly a business development tool and our primary target user is the digital health startup founder, as we expect they will be able to use the tools available to directly engage potential customers.
Providers are one of these customers, probably the largest, though it is very difficult for startups to find the right person to engage to have serious discussions about launching a pilot or clinical trial, or even who to send their sales person to see when they are trying to grow their business. These groups are still in the early stages of reforming their information technology infrastructure so it will take time for these individuals to even be formally identified internally by providers. Once there is clarity on who has that authority, they will have a tool to quickly and simply review and contact potential vendors.
I can imagine inside each health system across the country there are a few doctors who are the early adopters. Just like any large organization, it will be these few who drive adoption by their peers and force institutional evolution throughout the health care sector, finally bringing it into the 21st century to a large degree. We hope to empower these and all physicians who now must view the products developed by these digital health startups as much more than simply “nice to have” but rather “must have”, especially as the nation undergoes a shifting paradigm in reimbursement models and these tools are becoming mandated by regulators.
Pharmaceutical business development teams can use the site to find startups creating software application that add tremendous value to their mission of bringing a drug to market faster and cheaper. Once they have claimed their company’s profile and been confirmed by the Startup Health team they can use the site to engage in serious purchasing discussions with these startups as well as accept proposals from those same startups. This also applies to large health IT firms such as Philips, GE, AllScripts Cerner and Epic, not to mention payor groups such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Aetna, and others.
VCs and angel investors should use the Network to find potential investments, learn details about a company’s business model and eventually negotiate terms directly with startup founders. They can also use their profile to detail specifically what types of deals they are looking to make, including investment size, market, and location.