It seems everybody and their brother is launching a digital health accelerator these days, and if you ask me, the more the merrier. The most recent comes out of DreamIt Ventures (@dreamitventures) and will be based in Philadelphia at the VenturefOrth shared office space.
DreamIt is partnering with Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), which will provide selected companies access to local health care organizations with thousands of patients. This will generate mountains of valuable data for them to use to validate their products and business models.
Companies selected for the DreamIt program will receive up to $50K to participate, as well as four months of office space and mentorship from individuals from the Philadelphia health care and entrepreneurial communities. In return, DreamIt takes an 8% equity stake.
“Health IT is interesting to us, but it’s never been part of our proactive recruiting strategy because we do not know where to source them,” said managing partner Kerry Rupp in an interview with MedCity News. “We do the technology meetups and recruit at entrepreneur clubs. If we knew about more opportunities in the health IT space, we would love to have more applicants from that pool.”
Those of us on the front lines of the digital health revolution might find it hard to believe it would be difficult to find health IT companies interested in participating in their program, but it is understandable that a group without much exposure to the sector would want to take their time when setting up a dedicated accelerator in this space. I think the DreamIt team has chosen a great city and ideal partners to launch their first digital health class. Philadelphia has been among the most proactive cities in America in terms of local organizations getting behind the emerging digital health community with the biggest advocate being DreamIt partner IBC.
According to TechCrunch, DreamIt has funded 80 businesses in the four years since it launched, which have collectively raised more than $80 million at a combined valuation of greater than $330 million. This is certainly an impressive track record, and DreamIt has had a busy 2012, announcing two new branches in Austin, TX and Israel, as well as kickstarting fundraising for a new $50 million fund.
Companies interested in applying can do so here by February 8 with the four month program expected to begin in April. The program will be overseen by DreamIt managing partner Karen Griffith Gryga and prolific health tech entrepreneur Dr. Elliot Menschik.