We all know that small businesses are the engine of America’s economy. Luckily, there are groups out there that have made it their mission to help small businesses and startups survive long enough to change the world: business incubators. By providing funding, mentorship and office space to startup companies, incubators give businesses the time and resources to refine their technologies and services while finding investors and customers.
While incubators help turn bright ideas into real consumer products and services, they also create new opportunities for established businesses. As startups are mentored and helped through their early phases, they become invaluable investment and partnership opportunities for other service companies.
Below, we’ll introduce you to some of the leading incubators in the healthcare industry, one of our economy’s fastest growing sectors. These incubators have a proven track record in helping innovative young companies bring new ideas and services to consumers and businesses.
The Top-Six Healthcare Incubators and Accellerators
Rock Health – Rock Health invites early stage companies to work within the incubator and receive funding and mentorship from a variety of companies and health organizations. Rock Health notes that 18% of our economy is healthcare-based, but it’s one of the last industries to receive a tech makeover. With more than 50 active startups in its portfolio, Rock Health is one of the most experienced healthcare incubators, especially for startups that focus on providing web services, mobile applications and SaaS solutions for healthcare providers and companies.
Health Wildcatters – Health Wildcatters is a mentorship-driven healthcare seed accelerator in Dallas; slightly different than an incubator. Though similar to incubators in their goals, accelerators typically acquire a small amount of equity in a startup, then work quickly to help a company achieve a short-term goal like raising money or launching a product. While incubators house companies for months or years, accelerators like Health Wildcatters work in weeks. Health Wildcatters focuses mainly on early-stage healthcare technology startups, including IT, SaaS, digital health and mobile health companies. Companies receive an initial seed investment and a 12-week program in which Health Wildcatters works quickly to help the company build value and refine its product. The name “wildcatter” hearkens back to independent oil entrepreneurs who were willing to take risks in where they drilled. Health Wildcatters takes the same approach to finding companies. This entrepreneurial approach allows it to help more startups reach their goals.
StartUp Health –Chaired by TimeWarner CEO Jerry Levin, this incubator aims to fund 1,000 healthcare companies within the next decade to help transform the face of the healthcare industry. StartUp Health works to build sustainable growth in its companies over a three-year period. During the incubation period, StartUp Health matches companies with a network of more than 10,000 health professionals and business people focused on improving digital health and wellness.
The Iron Yard – With its first location in Asheville, NC, the Iron Yard is growing a network of incubators focused on growing new areas of technology like digital health, green tech and emerging technologies. Its digital health accelerator, located in Spartanburg, SC, is working to turn one of the nation’s oldest railroad junctions into a hub for digital health innovation. The Iron Yard offers startups $20,000 in seed capital and three months of mentorship and workshops from experts in design, development and financing. The Iron Yard also offers training in web development and programming to place graduates with the startup companies it supports.
Blueprint Health – Blueprint Health, located in New York City, is one of the largest incubators in any niche and offers an expansive network of healthcare mentors to assist healthcare entrepreneurs launch new ventures. Blueprint Health focuses on companies developing tech projects directly for hospitals, physicians and health plans rather than consumer-facing applications, which means deeper access to established customers. In 2013, Blueprint Health focused its efforts on mature startups companies. While many incubators assist early-stage companies, more than half of Blueprint’s mentees already had paying customers. With more than 12,000 sq. ft. of space and two classes per year, Blueprint Health is able to help more than 100 healthcare companies each year.
Healthbox – Healthbox offers accelerator programs in Boston, Chicago, Tampa, London, Nashville and Salt Lake City that provide digital health entrepreneurs with funding and access to a global network of healthcare investors and providers. Healthbox launched its first accelerator program in Chicago in 2012 and quickly grew to other states and the UK. It recently expanded its business programs with $7 million in funding and started a program that helps hospitals create their own in-house Healthbox accelerator programs that, in turn, help companies gain traction within their own medical communities. So far, Healthbox has invested in 56 active startups, supported by a network of more than 350 expert mentors.
It Doesn’t End at the Incubator
Incubators do an incredible job of supporting young companies with startup capital, office space, design and marketing help and more. But, there are some services that most incubators just aren’t able to provide, especially to startups that handle sensitive information like personal health information and payment information. Securing that data and complying with the regulations that protect sensitive information can be a difficult process for a startup to undertake alone.
Since startups have to make every dollar stretch as far as they can, hiring IT staff and maintaining compliant data infrastructure can be out of reach. Luckily, startups can find partners outside of their incubator space that can help them meet data security and compliance standards. Layered Tech is committed to helping startups do just that. With a three-year commitment through the Layered Tech Startup Program, qualified businesses can receive the first six months of cloud hosting and compliance management free and the subsequent six months at a 50-percent discount. Layered Tech is proud to partner with startups to drive innovation in the healthcare and payments industries, and as a leader in secure cloud and compliant hosting solutions, understands the importance of helping startups focus on growing their business, and securing their data.
About the Author: As Director of Partner Sales for Layered Tech, Steve Chu (@stevendkchu) brings over 9 years of experience to the Payment and PCI Compliant Hosting industry. His background prior to Layered Tech was with HMS/Micros Systems, which provides a point-of-sale solution for the hospitality industry, and also with global IT consulting firm, Sogeti Capgemini.