Tag Archives: digital health

Introducing New York eHealth Collaborative and Digital Health Accelerator

Introducing New York eHealth Collaborative and Digital Health Accelerator

Text: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

OWI’s US Gateway program is on a mission to find Finnish startups different gateways to the US healthcare market. Part of this mission is to recognize important connection points in the US and make sure our developers in Finland are aware of these possibilities. In this miniseries we interview some interesting people we have met during this fall.

September 26, 2013 I had the possibility to visit New York eHealth Collaborative and their Digital Health Accelerator. I met there VP Anuj Desai and Senior Program Manager Yossi Saadon.

Here’s what we discussed:

Eeva: I’m interviewing Yossi Saadon, Senior Program Manager of the Digital Health Accelerator in New York. Hello Yossi.

Yossi: Hi Eeva, how are you ?

Eeva: Great. Please tell me, what exactly is NY eHealth Collaborative and the Digital Health Accelerator ?

Yossi: NY eHealth Collaborative is a non-profit organization with a mission to bring healthcare to all New York through health IT. We break it out into different initiatives. The main thing is to drive the adoption of health IT and electronic health records across New York state.

We also created a state-wide health IT network to allow large hospitals to exchange clinical data with each other. This is the largest clinical network in the USA. We created an API on top of that network to bring innovation and startups to develop and stimulate this ecosystem.

On top of that we developed a New York Digital Health Accelerator program together with our partners, the partnership fund for New York City. This is a 9 month program for health IT startups, usually at the later stage. We require them have a beta and potentially some customers. The companies receive 300.000 usd investment from a group of investors. They have to have a presence in New York during the program.

Our unique differentiator in the program is that we match each of the companies selected to the program with 2-4 provider mentors, so they work with large hospitals in New York State, such as New York Presbyterian Hospital, North Shore LIJ and Mount Sinai. They work with them and receive their mentorship with the goal to get a pilot launched. We had our first class graduated in May 2013. We got 17 pilots launched with the providers and the companies created over 100 jobs in New York City.

Eeva: Sounds great. Can anyone from anywhere in the world apply to your accelerator ?

Yossi: Yes of course. Actually for the first program we received over 250 applications from different states in the US and also from across the world, from England and Israel for example. There is no problem of being part of the program.

Our only condition is to have a presence during the program in New York state. So we just try to attract companies with a hope that eventually they will have enough customers so that they will stay, because we also have an economic mission to create jobs.

Eeva: Do you give funding for the companies and do you take equity of them?

Yossi: Every company accepted into the program receives up to 300.000 usd from a group of investors in a form of a convertible note. First they receive in the beginning of the program 100.000 usd. We have a mid-program check in. All the companies that meet all the requirements receive the additional 200.000 usd.

Our partners, the Partnership fund for New York City, which is a VC with an economic mission to develop the New York, is responsible to a group of investors and they created the fund and can take the equity of the companies.

Eeva: There is a huge development potential in healthcare. Are there any specific domain areas you are looking for when choosing the startups for your accelerator program ? What kind of healthcare problems are you actually trying to fix ?

Yossi: Together with the healthcare providers who are part of our program we have identified four focus areas where there is a need for improvement in healthcare system. The four focus areas are: care coordination, analytics, patient engagement and message alerts. We are looking for companies in each of those specific focus areas to help improve healthcare delivery and reduce costs in those areas.

Eeva: Those are not any small problems you are solving. What are the biggest challenges for health IT startups ? What are they mostly struggling with ?

Yossi: Startups struggle with a lot of different things. It’s admirable to see entrepreneurs come with ideas and driving them forward. I would say the biggest challenge is all about selling. It’s trying to sell what you have. It’s selling to get investors, selling to get customers.

Also the access to customers is very, very challenging if you are a company developing product for healthcare providers because those hospitals have a very slow procurement process. It takes some time to review and get their approval and push it forward. Sometimes it just gets stuck. And just because it gets stuck doesn’t mean that they don’ t need it. Access to providers is very very challenging for startups.

Eeva: Sounds great that you help exactly in those difficult areas. What about investors, are they now active in health IT ?

Yossi: We have eight different investors as part of the program. Some are classic VC’s and some more strategic. There is a lot of excitement in this field, because it’s a changing industry with the Affordable Care Act.

When industry is changing, there is always opportunities for new innovation to come in. When new innovations are about to grow investors want to be part of it and help companies grow and be part of the business development and push it forward. It’s very exciting. This whole market is being stimulated. It’s a great place to be in.

Eeva: Sounds good. Finally, Yossi, we have a very active health IT developer community in Finland. What would you like to say to our developers ?

Yossi: First of all, I admire your drive to become entrepreneurs and developers in any field. I know it’s very very challenging. Keep up. I know sometimes it looks hard. Just do your things right, push forward and things get in the right place.

I invite all of you to come check our program. We offer a lot of tools and needed resources for developers and access to providers. New York State has a lot of large hospitals and health care providers that are eager also to accept those innovations and open-minded to mentoring. That access I want to provide to you guys.

Eeva: Thank you very much, Yossi.

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Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Text by Eeva Kiuru and Veera Virta, Oulu Wellness Institute
Photo by Veera Virta

This is the third blogpost in our series introducing investors in health, wellness and life science. In previous parts we have collected investors in Finland and in Scandinavia. Now it is time to introduce investors in Europe and US. Since corporate venturing has started to play important role is life science investing, we have also included a list of some corporate investors in this domain.

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Aberdare Ventures is investing in disruptive digital healthcare companies who aim to cut the unbearable cost of current healthcare. They see new technologies, such as connectivity, analytics, and portability; smart sensors and connected implantables; fast and inexpensive analyses of genes and proteins, the drivers of the change in healthcare. They are located in San Fransisco.


Advent Ventures is a growth and venture capital investor in market-leading tech and life science businesses. Their investments cover a range of sectors within life sciences, including new drug discovery, enabling technologies, med tech and diagnostics. They invest predominantly in early and mid-stage life science companies in Europe and US.

AESCAP is a venture capital company investing in private medical companies in Europe. Their focus is in high-potential companies that work in the fields of diagnosis and treatment of human diseases with realistic product opportunities. The office is in Amsterdam.

Aravis is a Swiss hands-on investor and within life science their focus is on biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and biotechnology companies. They operate in Europe, Asia and North America, with offices in Zurich.

Ariadne Capital is an early-stage investor with a focus on enabling technologies and tools which are transforming established businesses and creating the digital ecosystem of health and lifestyle. They are based in London.

BB Biotech Ventures focuses on emerging companies developing and marketing drugs and medical devices. They primarily focus on product-driven, clinical-stage companies.

Earlybird VC manages over 20 institutional investors’ funds and has invested in over 70
companies. They focus in startups based in Europe and their investment focus areas include medtech. The offices are located in Berlin, Munich and Milano.

Endeavour Vision is a venture and growth capital firm providing expertise and funding to entrepreneurs and companies with global ambitions in life sciences and information technologies. They operate in Europe and US and invest in early to expansion stage companies including spin-offs and restarts.

ED Venture‘s primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a focus on health care, human capital and aerospace. Overall, the chairman of ED Ventures, Esther Dyson, is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets (both economically and politically).

Forbion Capital Partners invests in life science and biomedical technology companies that are developing world-class drugs and technologies. They focus in late stage preclinical and early stage clinical product development programs. They have offices in Naarden, Netherlands and Munich, Germany.

Gimv invests in life science, medtech, health and care services companies operating in European market. Offices are in Antwerpen, Paris, Munich and Hague.

Index Ventures is one of the early venture firms in Europe, and they are dedicated to building world-class information technology and life science companies. They invest globally in companies with European focus, and their offices are located in Geneva and London. The initial investments focus in on series A and B rounds.

Khosla Ventures is a high profile investor interested in sevaral disruptive sectors including consumer health. They focus on early stage crazy ideas, black swans and unusual approaches with an unfair competitive advantage in their early and growth phases.

Life Science Partners, LSP, is one of the largest specialized healthcare and biotechnology investment firms. They operate in Europe and US with offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston. They invest in variety of areas in healthcare and biotechnology, including drug discovery and development, medical devices, diagnostics, IT-based solutions, industrial biotech and bio materials. The focus in on start-up companies in need of first venture funding but they invest also in later-stages.

Merieux Development is a healthcare investment company. Their main objectives are to identify scientific and technological innovations and support entrepreneurs and companies which potentially will contribute to the medicine of the future. Their target is to have 12 SME’s at different stages of development by 2014 in their portfolio. They operate in Europe, North America, India and China, with office in Lyon, France.

MVM Life Science invests in emerging, early and later stage, healthcare companies with focus on venture capital and growth equity investments. Currently portfolio companies are located in Europe, Israel and US. In life sciences they focus on platforms and products, discovery and development and devices and drugs.

NBGI Ventures is a venture capital fund investing in medical technology companies. Primarily, they invest in EU countries and in companies of all stages from seed to development.

NEA is investor focusing on three key domains—information technology, healthcare and energy technology in the early and growth phases. They operate in US, India and China.

Sofinnova Partners is venture capital firm based in Paris. It invests throughout Europe in life science and clean energy start-ups, early stage companies and corporate spin-offs. It is often the first institutional investor in round A financing.

TPG Biotech is the life science venture investment arm of TPGSM (formerly known as Texas Pacific Group), a global private investment firm. TPG Biotech supports physicians, scientists and entrepreneurs who are building innovation-based businesses in the life sciences. TPG Biotech invests across life science sectors, geographies and stages.

Wellington Partners makes early-stage and growth investments in life science and technology companies. Their focus in life science is in medtech, diagnostics, therapeutics and industrial biotechnology.

Vesalius BioCapital offers venture capital to young, innovative European life science companies and invests human health related companies. The focus is on therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and novel food applications and in companies of all stages of development.

Corporate investors

Ascension Health Ventures (AHV) is a strategic healthcare venture fund with $550 million in capital and nearly 300 acute care hospitals and numerous other healthcare related facilities as limited partners. Besides financial return, investment criteria include fit with strategic priorities of AHV’s limited partners’ health systems and potential to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, and/or enhance the experience of patients, families and caregivers. Investment focus is in
healthcare information technology and services, and medical devices and diagnostics.

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners (BCBSVP) is corporate venture fund sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in technologies, products and services in the healthcare industry that promote efficiency, lower costs, and provide more consumer options. Investments are made from seed through growth stages in US based companies. Focus areas are health IT, informatics, administration and back office, health programs, consumer driven solutions and healthcare finance.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund’s objective is to search significant enhancements in patient care through innovative and pioneering science. They look globally for groundbreaking therapeutic approaches and technologies that have the potential to advance patient care and meet unmet medical needs. They make initial investments in seed or series A funding.

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHI) is building a portfolio of investments in six focus areas that are outside of Merck’s core pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer products, and animal health businesses. GHI’s goal is to grow emerging health care solutions into meaningful businesses. Companies they invest in typically have current revenues, a strong business plan and high growth potential. Focus areas include flexible access, health intervention, personalized medicine, health productivity enablers, health infromatics and analytics and heath data liberation.

Qualcomm Ventures (QCV) is investment arm of Qualcomm Inc. They focus on disruptive early stage companies across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare. Their healthcare focused fund is Qualcomm Life. It specifically focuses on investing in venture-backed wireless health start-ups that will help accelerate the Qualcomm 2net Platform commercialization. The areas of specific interest to the fund range from personal wellness to disease management. Investments are made in areas such as body worn or implantable biosensors or devices for vertically focused applications such as chronic disease care, medication adherence, and fitness or wellness; integrated system providers that do remote diagnosis, monitoring or specialize in independent living; mobile software health IT applications; and health informatics/analytics

West Health Innovation Fund’s mission is to lower health care costs. They invest in companies that are developing health care technologies or services that have the potential to substantially lower the cost of health care delivery. The Fund targets early stage opportunities with a strong preference for pre-commercial and early commercial companies. They invest in innovations in the following areas: advancing cost-effective, cost-saving models of care, creation of efficient medical marketplace, promotion of actionable health care policy and health care data liberation.

This was quite a long list of potential investors. Life science and especially it’s new frontier, digital health and health IT is bubbling right now.  We wanted to do our share and make the funding opprtunities better visible for entrepreneurs. We are sure there are plenty of other investors currently active or becoming active in this field since this is a growth area and many traditional investors are already kicking tires of health tech and health IT.

And by the way, may we recommend you also have a look also at AngelList. There you can find  investors with specific keywords that fit exactly your funding needs.

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In the next and final blogpost of this series we will focus on collecting the health tech and life science business accelerators. As always, please comment if we missed something you think should be added here. We would love to hear your comment to make sure this a valuable resource for you.