DreamIt Ventures continues its investment in the health tech space by launching its third DreamIt Health program. We’ve previously covered the 2013 DreamIt Health Philadelphia program and the 2014 DreamIt Health Baltimore program, which is ongoing. Applications for the third class, which will be in Philadelphia from July 18th till November 9th, are currently being accepted until May 16th. If you have the next great startup idea for health, you can apply here….
We had the opportunity to speak with DreamIt Health Managing Partner, Elliot Menschik, MD, PhD, about the program and where he sees opportunities in health tech entrepreneurship.
Medgadget: This is the third DreamIt Health program. What lessons have the first two cycles taught you?
Elliot Menschik: We’ve had 2 previous healthcare cycles, but many more earlier accelerator programs that were not industry-specific. Each time we do a program we learn what works well and what needs improvement. In both healthcare cycles, we’ve really seen how powerful it is to give the teams access to domain expertise, clinical champions and real-world validation from working with our strategic partners like Hopkins, Penn and Independence Blue Cross. At the same time, we continue to streamline how to best engage with large organizations such as these so that the teams can get the most out of a very compressed period of time. We’re also continuing to strengthen our support for teams working on devices from hardware to mobile medical apps. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to go to market with a meaningful health IT solution that is not in some way fall under regulatory scrutiny, so we are also refining how to help companies develop and execute quickly on a successful regulatory plan.
Medgadget: There’s a lot of excitement around wearables and B2C plays in the digital health space. Some have said this is not a good thing because it takes away funding from more risky, yet needed health tech endeavors. What are your thoughts on how the space is evolving?
Menschik: We strongly believe that the thorniest problems in healthcare and the biggest business opportunities are in the enterprise/B2B side of things. You see that reflected in whom we’ve partnered with (payers, providers, pharma, industry) and in the vast majority of our healthcare portfolio. Regardless of how frothy things may be around wearables, quantified self, wellness and the general B2C side of things, we believe that ample funding is out there for companies executing successfully to solve real problems on the enterprise side.
Medgadget: What is DreamIt’s competitive edge compared to other health tech programs?
Menschik: We’d emphasize two key differentiators that give DreamIt companies an edge when they exit the program:
1) Experience. DreamIt is built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. We’ve been there before from founding through successful exit. We know what you’re up against. We pull out all the stops to give you an unfair advantage. Many of us come from technical/engineering backgrounds. We love hard problems, we value technology innovation above business innovation, but we also know how important it is to give techies the business chops to successfully go to market. Our mentors come from this same mold and we go to great lengths to create a custom fit between the needs of each team and a mentor who can best help. Finally, we’ve worked with 145 startups to date which translates directly to knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.
2) Access. DreamIt Health in particular gives our teams unprecedented access to people and resources that materially advance their products and companies. Teams are embraced by some of the most prominent names and organizations in healthcare. They have streamlined access to senior executives and clinicians. They have intimate meetings with industry leaders from Epic founder/CEO Judy Faulkner to Apple to the FDA. Beyond people, there are opportunities to access data and systems for prototyping and testing that are typically beyond reach of a startup. You see the impact immediately on Demo Day where companies that began with nothing but a concept are, four months later, announcing initial implementations with bellweather healthcare organizations.
Link: DreamIt Ventures….
Flashbacks: DreamIt Health Medtech Startup Incubator Coming to Baltimore; DreamIt Health Startup Incubator Announces First Class of Companies…; DreamIt Health Application Due Friday: Interview with Dr. Elliot Menschik…