Many of the devices and apps that Medgadget has covered recently have been raising money through crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. However, as Brian Dolan of MobiHealth News writes, many of these crowd-funding sites do not welcome all types of submissions:
Officially, Kickstarter does not allow startups or developers working on health, fitness, or medical projects to hawk their wares through the site. For that matter, you can’t use Kickstarter for baby products, causes, automotive products, pet supplies, electronic surveillance equipment, or pharmaceuticals either. The list of prohibited categories of projects numbers at least 30 by my count.
In an effort to make sure that healthcare products can get crowd-funded, BluePrint Health mentor Dr. Alex Fair is launching MedStartr. The site itself is a project on the MedStartr platform (recursive funding?), and describes the mission as follows:
We want to change how healthcare ideas, research, and companies get funded by connecting patients, Doctors, Medical and Research institutions, and strategic partners to the innovators and motivated individuals working to make a change in healthcare. Whether people want to create a new healthcare gadget, make an app, make music, raise money for research, write a book, make a movie, or just raise awareness, MedStartr is all about getting it done and building a community of supporters.
Glance through the other projects on MedStartr and one can see the potential for getting some really great ideas off the ground. We reached out to one of the projects on MedStartr, So They Can Know (whose founder, Jessica Ladd, we first met at TEDMED earlier this year), to get their opinion of the experience on the new crowd-funding platform so far:
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: First off, what is “So They Can Know”?
Jessica Ladd: So They Can Know is a website that helps people who’ve been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to let their partners know they need to get tested. The website features videos and tips for people who are willing to tell their partners themselves, and for the rest of us who are just too awkward, the ability to anonymously email our partners to let them know. Partners are given basic information about the STI, like the fact they probably won’t have symptoms, and are able to search for a testing location near them with their zip code.
Medgadget: When did you start raising funding?
Ladd: June of this year. But we’ve been working on this for the last three years and will launch in August.
Medgadget: Why did you choose to put your project on MedStartr (as opposed to other crowd-funding websites)?
Ladd: We liked that MedStartr was health-focused and gave us the ability to create different types of rewards for different types of funders (patients vs. clinics vs. partners). And we knew Jigar Mehta – who’s on the MedStartr team – through our Hopkins connection. He’s the one who introduced us to Alex Fair [the founder of MedStartr].
Medgadget: What’s your experience on MedStartr been so far?
Ladd: Fantastic! They’ve given lots of attention to make our project as successful as it can be, work hard to get things online quickly, and are great at communicating what’s going on.
Medgadget is looking forward to seeing what projects take off on the new platform. You can be certain that we will keep you posted on the most exciting developments!