[Medical] Entrepreneurs Drawn to Starting Incubators?


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David Cummings on Startups

Last week I was reading an article about a successful entrepreneur that had started an incubator to work on multiple startups simultaneously. Incubators, now called studios or labs, were popularized during the dot com boom, and most failed to work, leaving a negative connotation for many people. Now, the cost to start is 10x cheaper and there are millions of people with mobile broadband connections, making for a different dynamic compared to 15 years ago. While it is still expensive to scale, getting started is easy.

Here are a few ideas why entrepreneurs are drawn to incubators:

  • Timing a market is terribly difficult, so having multiple startups running simultaneously increases the chance of finding a fit
  • For many (most?) entrepreneurs, the starting part is more fun than the scaling part
  • Small, dedicated teams without a legacy customer base can innovate fast, making it more fun to see rapid progress
  • When…

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2 Responses

  1. “Sleeper” Machine?

    The new machine that could one day replace anesthesiologists sat quietly next to a hospital gurney occupied by Nancy Youssef-Ringle. She was nervous. In a few minutes, a machine — not a doctor — would sedate the 59-year-old for a colon cancer screening called a colonoscopy.


    But, she had done her research. She had even asked a family friend, an anesthesiologist, what he thought of the device. He was blunt: “That’s going to replace me.”




  2. Texas Medical Center launches TMCx
    [A digital health accelerator]

    Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute has accepted 13 companies into its four month health accelerator program, called TMCx.

    The accelerator plans to run two programs this year, it’s second year in operation. The first, which will run from January to June, TMCx is focusing on digital health companies. The second, which will run from July to December, will focus on medical device companies. During the program startups will be able to attend orientation sessions and presentations as well as pitch their offerings to leadership at Texas Medical Center.

    “We believe the potential synergy of bringing 13 companies together, each of them focused on different aspects of digital health care innovation, will lead to unpredictable associations, collaborations and greater acceleration for each company,” TMC Innovation Institute Director Erik M. Halvorsen said in a statement. “TMCx companies have access to the largest collection of top physicians, scientists and business expertise on one campus, which serves over 7.2 million patients annually. The new program structure will make the best use of these important resources.”

    A little over a year ago, Texas Medical Center partnered with investment firm Village Capital to launch a program for early stage digital health companies, called VilCap USA: Health IT 2014. Some of the startups in this class included 1DocWay, which was acquired by a behavioral health pharmacy chain in November.

    Here are the 13 startups in TMCx’s digital health accelerator:

    Houston, Texas-based Aprenda Systems has developed an offering that helps healthcare organizations collect and manage data. Some of the tools the company offers includes Signature, an identity management program, and Discovery, a web-based research collaboration tool.

    Houston, Texas-based CareSet Systems builds physician networks.

    Houston, Texas-based DocResponse is a software company focused on health care diagnostics for clinical decision support.

    Seal Beach, California-based ePreop has developed a software program, called SurgicalValet, that helps coordinate perioperative care. SurgicalValet also offers patient engagement, billing support, and readmission prevention features.

    San Francisco-based GreenLight Medical has developed a decision-engine that helps hospitals make and quality conscious purchases new medical technology with an eye on cost and quality.

    Marina Del Rey, California-based Moving Analytics aims to help hospitals implement home-based cardiac rehab programs delivered through patients’ mobile devices.

    San Francisco-Based Qidza is a mobile program that translates developmental science into fun health screening activities throughout human development, starting with babies.

    Houston, Texas-based Secure Healing helps hospitals comply with auditing the requirements of HIPAA and other regulations. The company identifies inappropriate access of confidential information.

    San Francisco-based sense.ly is a virtual nurse platform that helps clinicians better manage and communicate with their patients. Last summer, the company raised $2.2 million, bringing their total funding to $3.5 million.

    Houston, Texas-based The Right Place helps skilled nursing facilities (SNF) with care coordination and patient placement. The company also raised $2 million a few months ago.

    Philadelphia-based TowerView Health helps chronically-ill patients manage their medication. Two years ago, TowerView Health participated in another digital health accelerator, this one in Philadelphia.

    New York City-based Valera Health has developed a smartphone-based support tool for behavioral wellness and care coordination.

    Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Xpress has developed a tool that offers providers and patients access to pharmaceutical resources and information.

    Aditi Pai


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