New developments for healthcare startups

New developments for healthcare startups

Following Google’s partnership with Ascension late last year, Bright.md released its first Health Care Consumer Trust Survey. The survey revealed that while patients may say they want a health care experience that rivals the convenience and service they’ve become accustomed to with eCommerce, they aren’t yet putting their trust in large retailers or technology companies. At the same time, virtual care is growing in popularity. Other key findings include:

  • Consumers overwhelmingly prefer their own doctor or hospital to provide health care services, however, more than half of patients trust ANY provider or hospital to provide care.
  • Only one in four patients trust their insurance companies to provide health care, though nearly half do trust insurance companies to handle their personal health information.
  • Patients are still wary of technology companies’ and retailers’ abilities to protect their private data, and put greater trust in doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.
  • Virtual care is growing in popularity.

“Competition for attracting and retaining patients is at an all-time high. Patients want on-demand access to information and care that tech giants and retailers promise, but they aren’t yet ready to rely on those companies for their health care needs,” said Dr. Ray Costantini, M.D., Bright.md’s CEO and co-founder. “For now, patients clearly prefer to use their own or other providers, who they are most likely to entrust with their care and personal information. These patient sentiments underscore the tremendous opportunity for health care systems and providers to maintain their current competitive advantage by delivering the convenience and access consumers have learned to expect in other parts of their lives.”


This week, a partnership between NeuroFlow and athenahealth went live, creating an opportunity for more than 160,000 healthcare providers to integrate validated behavioral health data into their workflow. It’s a major step forward for “collaborative care”, a model that fuses together physical and mental health care practices.


Vineti, a San Francisco-based software company that develops software for  cell and gene therapy firms, has closed a $35 million Series C funding round. Cardinal Health, one of the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country, led the round, with participation from a division of Swiss drugmaker Novartis and Gilead Sciences’ Kite Pharma.  Click here to read more.


We are excited to announce that we have extended the deadline for INVEST Pitch Perfect in Chicago to February 14. If you are a healthcare startup focused on diagnostics, medical devices, biopharma, health IT or health IT services, and meet the criteria, we’d love for you to apply. Click here to check out the criteria and submit an application for the event, which takes place April 21-22 at the Ritz Carlton.


Check out our library of eBooks highlighting startups and contextualizing developments in healthcare innovation from AI in healthcare to revenue cycle management. Click here for your reading pleasure.

Photo: akindo, Getty Images

Source: StartUPDATES: New developments for healthcare startups

Plan on Launching a Startup in 2020? Here Are 7 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself First

Plan on Launching a Startup in 2020? Here Are 7 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself First

If you are thinking about starting a startup, a side hustle, or a small business to kick off the new decade, here are seven questions to explore before you do.

1. Who is the customer?

Always be your own customer. Being your own customer has historically had a strategic advantage. As an example, Uber and PayPal were created by founders solving their own problems.

After all, being your own customer not only ensures you have insights; it also ensures you  have easy access to the customer. Access is the most underappreciated aspect of starting a business.

In the beginning of a company, only innovators and early adopters will be interested in a new offering. To be successful, you need lots of access to customers because you’ll typically collaborate with your customers to make the best solution. So always serve a segment that you belong to.

2. What’s the problem?

Now that you have a customer segment to target, you need to explore the big problems that group is struggling to solve. What is the most inelastic problem facing those customers? What would they gratefully pay to have solved?

I recommend solving needs, not wants. Create aspirin, not vitamins. You want to find a problem bad enough that early adopters will pay even when the solution is not perfect.

3. What’s wrong with the status quo?

You’ll need to explore the current solutions to understand why incumbents are not sufficiently addressing the market. Look at solutions the incumbents are avoiding because it will cannibalize their empire.

Understand the flaws in existing solutions, and understand what factors a new solution must address to overcome the sunk costs already incurred. Sticking with the status quo kills more startups than almost anything else.

4. Can you produce an additional solution?

Netflix couldn’t destroy Blockbuster Video until the majority of America had access to high-speed internet. What solution would your future customer need for the best possible experience? Can that be built? Can you build it? If you build it, can you protect that intellectual property?

That said, a new solution doesn’t always require new technology. Netflix, Tinder, Airbnb, and Uber all rose to success based on their models, not just their technology.

5. Will anyone buy it?

Because the cost to launch a prototype solution has dropped so low, most investors expect founders to have traction (revenue, user growth) before funding. It is more important to get early user commitments than it is to perfect your solution.

If you can’t find buyers for your beta version, I worry that the problem you’re solving isn’t big enough for a portion of the user base to adopt early. So make sure you sell now, perfect later.

6. Can you generate a profit?

If you can’t eventually generate more revenue than costs, your venture is dead. It really is that simple.

Try to find the lowest-cost way to attract new customers. Is that Facebook ads? Twitter contests? Trade shows? You want to find and convert users quickly and at a low cost. Then, once you have that, focus on making the most of these new customers. Try to find ways to increase revenue by extending value.

7. Can it scale?

Scaling is the process of turning your profitable business into a world leader. Today, founders look at the relationship between cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value. It is premature to scale until you have an ability to make more money from each new user than it costs your venture to attract and onboard each new user. Premature scaling–growing resources out of sync with revenue growth–is responsible for killing lots of startups.

2020 is a year of new beginning. If this is the year you finally become an entrepreneur, ask yourself these question first, and good luck.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: Plan on Launching a Startup in 2020? Here Are 7 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself First

Here’s the Reason You’re Wasting Your Time Writing a Business Plan

Here’s the Reason You’re Wasting Your Time Writing a Business Plan

First, I want to share my bias because this question, like lots of other entrepreneurial ones, has no perfect answer. I started my entrepreneurial career while very young when, I think, there were typewriters but well before there were personal computers and software products such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect (I am definitely dating myself with the WordPerfect reference). So, had it occurred to me at the age of eight or nine to write a business plan for my lawn cutting business, it would probably have been more work than benefit.

The truth is this: the need for a business plan is a function of the complexity of the business, a need for capital and the experience of the entrepreneur.

Let’s take a few scenarios. If a person wants to start a business, has been an entrepreneur for a long time and has the very small amount of capital required to start that business, it seems to me a business plan has little to no benefit. On the other hand, if a scientist who has never been an entrepreneur wants to start a biotech company, he or she may need to have a good business plan to help think through the business and raise money.

So, unlike even the top business schools, which still teach entrepreneurship through a business plan, I believe the need for developing a business plan is highly variable, and I find that people waste way too much time writing plans rather than getting out to market and getting customers.

If you sense my skepticism around business plans, you are correct. Another big reason I’m not a big fan of business plans is that, by writing them, entrepreneurs get caught in a set of assumptions that may not remotely resemble true market conditions.

Developing a business is not like an orchestra playing Handel’s Messiah. When conducting the Messiah, there may be small variations for tempo and such, but the central framework for the music should not change. Entrepreneurship is nothing like this at all, and it never will be.

In entrepreneurship, your basic assumptions are likely to change dramatically, even when well researched. So, where a business plan is static, the real world is quite dynamic.

Lastly and importantly, however, I don’t want to leave the wrong impression about an important point. I do believe many businesses could use good planning and research in analyzing a market. Even this is subject to some real limitations, but with any reasonably sophisticated new product or service, it would benefit entrepreneurs to do some good market analysis before starting. Now, how you format that research is not important.

I made the mistake of not thinking through my potential market at Sageworks, and it cost me a lot of time. Of course, turning financial statements into plain-language analyses was such a new idea that we really had to resort to a lot of trial-and-error in finding our market. Ironically, Sageworks was the one and only time I did write a business plan and that turned out well, so there you go!

When you’re considering a business plan, ask yourself, would my time be better spent getting the product to market and getting new customers? The answer is often yes.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: Here’s the Reason You’re Wasting Your Time Writing a Business Plan

4 Ways Small City Startups Can Win Funding from Big City Venture Capitalists

4 Ways Small City Startups Can Win Funding from Big City Venture Capitalists

For startups located outside of Silicon Valley and New York City, raising venture capital isn’t always easy. The two coastal ecosystems eat up the majority of VC dollars flowing into the startup market–with Silicon Valley companies raising over $40 billion in 2019, according to data and research firm PitchBook, and New York City-based companies raising over $16 billion.

However, small businesses headquartered elsewhere can still beat out their coastal counterparts for investors’ funds–they just have to work a little harder. That was the message coming out of Twin Cities Startup Week this October. Held throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul–where companies have raised over $347 million in VC funding this year–the week-long event celebrated local startups, connected entrepreneurs, and hosted a pitch competition.

It also offered a panel of speakers from early-stage venture capital firms to discuss the ways that companies based in smaller cities can attract out-of-state VC money. Speakers included Ryan Broshar, the founder of Minneapolis- and Boulder-based Matchstick Ventures; Zann Ali, a senior associate of New York City-based 2048 Ventures; and Michael Proman, the managing director of San Francisco-based Scrum Ventures.

Here are four key takeaways they shared with Inc.

1. Master your local market

Founders who are in the beginning stages of fundraising should first focus on getting money from local sources rather than big-name VC firms, according to 2048 Ventures’ Ali. “Dollars are dollars,” he said.” Why not get that capital from your backyard?”

What’s more, larger coastal funds will use regional funds as filters when deciding whether to invest in a company or not, Matchstick Ventures’ Broshar said. “Having the local support gives you an advantage and helps you be seen as a leader in the community.”

When you’re ready to seek VC funding from out-of-state vendors, Ali advised that you first meet with local experts. These include community connectors as well as other entrepreneurs who have successfully raised outside money.

“Download the brains of other people in the same ecosystem,” Ali said. “Some of these people have likely interfaced with venture capitalists on the coasts and beyond.”

2. Make your location a bonus

Founders in smaller cities can’t have “the victim mentality,” Broshar said. Entrepreneurs in areas outside of the coastal hubs must help build a positive message about the community and share it with anyone who will listen. What’s more, the narrative needs to be thoughtful and collaborative, and to say more than your town is “the Silicon Valley of whatever we are known for.”

One of the ways founders can do this, the panelists agreed, is by showing potential investors where their money will go. In cities like San Francisco, investments will heavily fund high salaries for employees, whereas companies in smaller cities can use that money to hire more people or invest in a larger office space, Scrum Ventures’ Proman added. “Being in a city where you can scale easily and where the cost of living doesn’t outpace the scale of investment is an advantage,” he said.

Founders should also tout the things that make their city special, like talent pipelines from local colleges or access to the outdoors, Broshar said. “Being able to articulate your city’s competitive advantage is a really important part of the strategy.”

3. Think big

When dealing with companies in smaller cities, some investors will want to see that their founders have experience outside of their communities. “Minnesota has a comfortable market, low cost of living, and good quality of life in comparison to other places,” Proman said. “But that doesn’t necessarily breed disruption. Because of that, you have to get out of your comfort zone.”

Proman looks for companies that have been able to diversify their revenue streams across different regions or ones that have plans for scaling operations out of the state. Meanwhile, Broshar prefers to invest in companies that demonstrate their interest in scaling globally: These founders have been taking notes on how they can create the best startup in the world, not just in their market. They know who their competitors are, what those companies are doing differently, and how much funding they’ve raised.

4. Spend time on the coasts

Entrepreneurs who want to land VC funding from coastal sources should also get to know those environments and build personal relationships with venture capitalists in those cities. “Those relationships aren’t built on the phone,” Broshar said.

Second, to get a better perspective of what it takes to compete with the companies that are winning VC money from the coasts, Broshar advised founders to immerse themselves in the cultures of those cities. “You have to get a taste of that,” he said. “Then, bring it back and replicate it where you are.”

Source: 4 Ways Small City Startups Can Win Funding from Big City Venture Capitalists

This Year’s Most Exciting Companies–and Startup Hubs–Are Challenging Conventional Wisdom

This Year’s Most Exciting Companies–and Startup Hubs–Are Challenging Conventional Wisdom

One of the great joys of working at Inc. is seeing how real stories of successful entrepreneurs differ from the clichéd notions you see elsewhere.

Take Pat Brown, founder of Impossible Foods, the company that brought the world the meatless burger that sizzles, sears, and bleeds like the real thing (thanks to some fancy genetic engineering). Brown, while a notably driven founder, didn’t start his first company until he was in his mid-50s–challenging the popular wisdom that entrepreneurship is for the very young. He spent decades as a star academic before launching Impossible around one very big, potentially climate-saving idea. Specifically, as Inc. editor-at-large Burt Helm puts it: “What if juicy, delicious beef didn’t come from cows?”

For one thing, if it’s juicy and delicious enough to make inveterate carnivores crave fake beef, as Helm’s fascinating story reveals, wild demand will follow. And that comes with challenges. Impossible’s runaway success has put intense strain on all of its operations. It’s not clear the company is truly on the other side yet. But what a story. And what a founder. You’ll find Brown’s determination and vision inspiring, even if tales of Impossible’s crazy growth make you wince in fear or recognition. And you’ll come away understanding why Impossible was the clear choice to be Inc.’s Company of the Year.

Impossible is headquartered in the Bay Area, which the conventional wisdom considers Startup Central. There is, of course, an enviable entrepreneurial ecosystem there. But San Francisco, and its environs, is not the only such place in the country. Far from it: Just look at our second annual Surge Cities list of the 50 most startup-friendly cities in the U.S. Along with our partner Startup Genome, which studies innovation policy, we analyzed reams of data on metropolitan statistical areas–including net business creation, rate of entrepreneurship, and density of high-growth companies–and found that, in 2019, the Bay Area landed in sixth place. Which is pretty good! But it trails some cities that standard thinking might not consider, like Boise (fifth), Denver (fourth), and Salt Lake City (second, for the second year in a row).

The Surge Cities package, ably captained by senior editor Marli Guzzetta, digs deep into how such cities foster growth. You’ll learn a lot from it: about what smart local governments and institutions are doing to make entrepreneurship happen–and, of course, about the founders whose efforts put these cities on our map.

From the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Inc. Magazine

Source: This Year’s Most Exciting Companies–and Startup Hubs–Are Challenging Conventional Wisdom

5 Ways to Truly Deliver on Your Next Business Plan (and Impress Investors)

5 Ways to Truly Deliver on Your Next Business Plan (and Impress Investors)

In my work with new and aspiring entrepreneurs, I find that most struggle with putting together a written business plan, often pointing out that someone they know started a business without anything written down.

It’s no secret that the rate of failure of new business startups may be a high as ninety percent, so we all need all the help we can get, validating the opportunity, clearly positioning against competitors, projecting financials, and planning all the necessary marketing and operating activities.

I recommend the following short list of deliverables to keep you on a winning track:

1. Create a new business overview brochure.

Starting a new business starts with selling everyone, including yourself, on the viability and specifics of your idea.

Just talking and waving your arms doesn’t do it. Most people will be engaged by a single-page double-sided glossy executive summary, and offer support or the right people to move forward.

Whether you are looking for partners, investors, or future customers, you need to show a level of professionalism and leadership very early that will draw people to your idea. It can pay big dividends as this stage to get help from an experienced business advisor.

2. Two-minute video highlighting you and your idea.

Even people who read will be impressed with a video clip these days, as an introduction to you, showing your passion and commitment, and highlighting your business focus and direction.

Be sure to net out the opportunity and the solution in the first thirty seconds. Make it light, but factual.

For details and examples, check out these directions and suggestions. You really need at least a prototype product or customer to make the video come alive. Think of it as an infomercial. You don’t need special lighting or equipment; keep it concise and simple.

3. PowerPoint pitch for investors and partners.

This section is especially important if you intend to attract outside investors or strategic partners.

In my experience as an angel investor, the perfect pitch length is ten slides, outlining the business problem, your solution, opportunity sizing, competition, and financial projections for the next five years.

Remember, investors or interested in acquiring a piece of your company, so keep the focus on the attractiveness of the company, rather than the product. Make sure you can cover all the material in as little as ten minutes – investors are easily bored.

4. Prepare a business plan 20-page document.

No matter how much you enjoy talking, you don’t have time to reach all the people who need to know, with the right level of detail, what you can put in a document.

This document must cover all the content discussed earlier, with details to make it come alive without you talking to fill in the gaps.

If you are an entrepreneur who doesn’t feel comfortable writing, there are many advisors, investment attorneys, and independent contractors who are available to help, for a fee. Review some examples to assure you have all the proper legal disclosures and content.

5. Validate your financial assumptions with a model.

I always recommend the creation of a simple Excel spreadsheet with your projections of revenue, cost, and other major financial elements over the first five years of your new business.

You will likely need this work to properly answer potential investor questions, and test your own assumptions.

The real objective here is convince both you and potential investors that the business is financially viable and lucrative over the long term.

There are plenty of guidelines and sample models available on the Internet, so don’t be intimidated by the terminology.

While the completion of all of these items entails a lot of work, I assure you from experience that the results are worth it, to minimize the probability of a serious business failure and bitter disappointment on your part, and the confidence of people who believe in you.

In my years of work with new businesses, I’m more and more convinced that having the idea is the easy part – the real work, and ultimate success or failure, is in the execution.

If you want to stand out above the crowd, my advice is to focus early on all five of the business plan elements outlined here, and enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: 5 Ways to Truly Deliver on Your Next Business Plan (and Impress Investors)

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