Healthbox is combining $7 million in new funding with learning from the seven startup accelerator programs it’s run over the last two years to expand its offerings for entrepreneurs and provider organizations.
“We started with the issue of how do we close the funding gap, but we’ve realized that these companies don’t just need funding – they need market traction,” explained Jill Seidman, a director at Healthbox. “We’ve also worked with 19 strategic partners, and we’ve seen that they’re really trying to find new solutions for their problems and figure out how to support a culture of innovation within their own organizations.”
Healthbox has secured funding from Intermountain Healthcare, Health Care Service Corporation – the operator of Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas – and Chicago Pacific Founders to move forward with three new business models under the umbrella of Healthbox Global Partners.
First it will bring its accelerator model to hospital systems via a service called Foundry. The goal is to use expertise gleaned from evaluating some 1,500 companies which have applied to the Healthbox accelerators to help healthcare organizations source, evaluate and scale ideas within their own organizations.
Health systems that already have innovation and commercialization initiatives in place stand to benefit, as well as those that don’t, Seidman said. Intermountain Health is Healthbox’s first client in this capacity, and it already has a Healthcare Transformation Lab that works with employees to foster innovative ideas.
“We’re here to drive further collaboration and expand their innovation efforts to cover the full continuum, from concept phase through later-stage financing,” she said.
Healthbox will also work with health systems to develop innovation and venture investment programs that meet their individual needs.
“We’re trying to help organizations that have money dedicated to innovation figure out what the best way of using it is,” Seidman said.
The third new service is Healthbox Solutions, which Seidman said will work with startups to help them develop business development plans and get their products in front of providers. The company has assembled a group of early-adopter providers who are ready for innovative technologies and could serve as initial customers.
Meanwhile, the Chicago-based accelerator said it will invest in more than 50 new early-stage companies this year and continue to operate six accelerator programs across the country and the UK.
Seidman said that the expansion plans are part of Healthbox’s overarching goal to drive actionable innovation through collaboration between entrepreneurs and the healthcare industry.
It’s also part of an industry trend whereby accelerators are growing into ecosystems and service providers. Rock Health, for one, is a seed fund and accelerator but also hosts events and curates funding data that it sells in the form of reports. On the opposite coast, StartUp Health has blossomed into an international online and in-person network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and partners.
[Image credit: @health_box]