The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Digital Health Ecosystem
A global guide to health-focused startup accelerators, investors, Tech Transfer offices, investment match makers, hackathons, competitions, open innovation forums and conferences
If you’re digital health startup looking for funding, mentoring, training, R&D support or networking, then look no further. It’s our aspiration to create the best, most inclusive guide to the world’s digital health ecosystem, but we need your help. We may have missed a few interesting organisations, some categories are far from complete (e.g. Tech Transfer) and some categories we haven’t published yet (e.g. venture capital, corporate venture capital). Therefore, we would be tremendously grateful if you could let us know who’ve we’ve missed! (hsuteam at www.healthstartup.eu). And please keep in mind, that we are not endorsing any of these entities, we’re simply listing, so please make your own inquiries and certainly make your own decisions.
Short Accelerator Programs (< 6 months, with seed funding, mentoring, office space & plenty of freebies)
- Rock Health - the granddaddy of accelerators (into its fourth class of startups), based in SF, 5-month program, invests $100k and asks nothing, yes nothing.
- healthbox - 3-month programs in Boston and London. invests up to $50k and asks 7% equity
- Blueprint Health - New York-based 3-month program. Invest $20k investment, ask 6% equity
- Dreamit Health – Dreamit organises several tech acceleration programs in the US and Israel and have recently added a 3-month health-focused program in Philadelphia.
- The Iron Yard Digital Health Program - A new health startup accelerator has launched in South Carolina that’s accepting applications for new companies looking to commercialize ideas in the medical tech space (software & software/hardware combinations – not medical devices & biotech). Chosen firms will receive $20,000 in initial capital, three months of mentorship, a year of free co-working space, and everything that Greenville, SC has to offer.
- Tigerlabs Health - 3-month program in ‘heart of NJ pharma corridor’ offers $20k , unclear what they ask for
- Nike+Accelerator – 3 month program powered by famed TechStars. Idea is to leverage the Nike+ platform and NikeFuel
- healthlaunchr - 4-month mentoring program, claiming to the first such program in Europe. €15-40k investment, asking 5-15% equity
- Modern Aging – Stockholm-based program (4 months) focused on improving the lives of the elderly. 50,000 SEK seed funding for accepted teams.
- Redesigning Data – somewhat unique, this program integrates elements of a competition, hackathon and mentoring-based accelerator. The ’2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge’ awards $100,000 to the winner. To participate you’ll need to submit a proposal online. Finalists take part in a weekend bootcamp in San Francisco and receive mentoring in the month following that. The final winners are selected at the Demo Day in Washington DC.
- XLerateHealth – 10-week immersion program in Louisville, USA. $20,000 cash investment + office space at the University of Louiswille’s Nucleus Health Innovation Center + plenty of mentoring
- HealthXL - A European startup accelerator that is putting together a dedicated healthcare program in Dublin. 3 months program. €15k investment, asking 8% equity
- Health Axis Europe – Another European initiative, the Health Axis Europe (HAE) is a strategic alliance between the health innovation clusters Cambridge (UK), Leuven (Belgium), and Heidelberg (Germany). The program comprises a startup competition, and a 5-day ‘summer camp’ for winning startups to prepare them for the ‘expo’ where they’re able to present their plans to VCs.
- HealthStartZ – A 90 day bootcamp, launches in 2012 in Denver, Colorado
- HealthFounders – new (residential) incubation/acceleration initiative from Ireland. Focused on specific challenges: keeping people out of hospitals and reducing hospital stays.
- weMultiply – US-based acceleration program, targets health & wellness innovations with early stage investments and support from the holding company’s other divisions (investors, healthcare agency)
- Infuse Accelerator – program based in Indianapolis, USA, positions itself as a best practice program with rigorous selection process and targeted innovation opportunities. 24 week program with services investment to the value $75k + seed funding of another $75k
- Project Lift – Miami-based seed accelerator specifically focused on digital health. This 3-month program invests $20k + services & resources to a total value of $160k
- PILOT Health tech NYC - A new program which provides funding of up to $100,000 each to 10 innovative pilot projects to take place in New York City. The program seeks to match early-stage healthcare technology companies with NYC healthcare service organizations or individuals. Each pilot project will be focused on addressing defined needs of the healthcare industry and testing a technology prototype in a healthcare setting for a period of approximately 3-6 months.Brought to you by the the Bloomberg Administration, City of New York, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
- ZeroTo510 – a Memphis-based accelerator of medical devices companies. Offers a 2 x 90-days program to help companies get through FDA approval. The first 90-day program is focused on mentoring and market validation (with $50k investment, in return for equity participation). 3 winners are selected from the first program, who continue for another 90-days with an $100k investment.
- Ignition Labs – Australian accelerator that offers a 3+3 month full-time program. Offers $25k seed funding and the program culminates with Australian and US/EU roadshows.
- Health Wildcatters - Health wildcatters is a mentor driven Healthcare startup accelerator in Dallas
- Black Forrest Accelerator provides an once-in-a-lifetime experience for teams with innovative ideas in the healthcare & fitness markets by providing seed funding, intense mentorship, co-working space and contacts to media and investors.
- Sprint accelerator The Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator for ten mobile health (mhealth) companies that will be based in Kansas City.
- XLHealth XLHEALTH is an investor for startups of the IT healthcare industry, offering access to strategic partners, exclusive mentors and a co-working space in Berlin’s city centre
- Livestrong Big C competition. Prices and accelerator program for audacious product, service or innovation helping those facing cancer today
- Health Start HealthStart is India’s first accelerator program dedicated to supporting start ups in healthcare industry through funding, mentorship and other requisite support.
- Microsoft Ventures 4-month program for early stage tech startups in Tel Aviv, focusing on Cyber Security and Medical/Health
- The AIA Accelerator – powered by Nest, this is a 12-week programme run by a full-time, dedicated team. Up to 8 startups will be selected to come to Hong Kong to accelerate their health tech and/or wearable businesses. No equity conditions.
Longer Accelerator Programs (6 months+) or programs without a specific time frame
- Accelerace Life – a 6+6 month programme organised by 4 tech/innovation agencies in Denmark, Estonia and Latvia. “Loans, no equity taken. No need to relocate your life and company”
- Bio & Health Tech Entrepreneurship Lab NYC – A 6-month training and mentorship program for aspiring entrepreneurs in New York City’s life sciences and healthcare technology community. Features a mini-MBA curriculum, expert coaching, pitch preparation support, team building activities and access to a community of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and mentors
- Moebio – Probably the most impressive accelerator/fellowship program we’ve seen emerge in Europe. 8 month program based in Barcelona, inspired by Stanford University’s Biodesign Fellowship.
- Health for America – A 1-year ‘fellowship’ for recent graduates (for US citizens only). Unique about this program is the immersion in a real community healthcare setting. Teams are paired with a physician champion and a community leader and subsequently tasked to solve real-world problems using technology.
- New York Digital Health Accelerator - 9-month program that offers up to $300k, mentoring and matchmaking. Startups accepted in the program are asked to open an office in NYC.
- Startup Health - A “long-term growth academy”.. training & mentoring program that guides startups over several years. USA.
- Reshape Healthcubator – A new 6-month program organised by Lucien Engelen of Radboud Reshape Centre in the Netherlands. A 6 month, University Medical Center, program facilitating young short-to-market health start-ups that aim for patients as partners.
- Welltech Funding - 6-month program run from NYC, offers up to $50k in funding with mentoring and office space. Asks right to participate in future funding rounds.
- AcceleraceLife – Scandinavian 6-month program (with option to extend to another 6 months) focused on health industry and life sciences. is a health industry and life-science company accelerator that is using a new, evergreen, sustainable funding model and acceleration process that focuses on minimizing risks to create an elite cross-boarder acceleration platform for health industry and life-science start-up.
- Sanotron - Canada’s Centre for Wireless and Digital Health Innovation is a non-profit accelerator. It tries to identify real problems that their strategic partners have in the market, apply evidence-based research and user needs and human-centered design to real solutions, and understand and generate revenue early in the process. Sanotron also organise Hacking Health and several summits in Canada.
- Paris Incubateurs – a new incubator being set up in Paris with a focus on design, cities of the future and e-health. Accepted companies have access to significant funding and will be supported for two to three years.
- Launchpad Digital Health Next generation accelerator, based in San Francisco: Better program features, more startup capital, more time and attention (co-location for 12 months) and more mentoring
Customized Acceleration & Consulting Services
- HIP – Health Innovation Portal - a free quick scan of your healthcare innovation to see if it has any potential in a practical healthcare setting (such as hospitals). Very useful Dutch initiative by UMC St Radboud, Oost nv, Cbusinez and others.
- Atlantic Accelerator – A Cambridge, UK, based accelerator service, that matches selected startups with potential investors and customers.
- Digitome - This London-based outfit creates ‘collaborative programmes to bring together innovators, investors and enterprises’
- Digital Health Masterclasses – Initiative by Johnson & Johnson: Masterclass will offer executives from selected digital health companies the benefits of a growth-focused curriculum, expert advice, and close interaction with customers and venture financing partners (+ €50,000 in prize money).
- medicoventures – Focused on medical device startups, this company offers a suite of business development and consulting services to help their clients succeed
- Biolauncher – UK-based company that helps life sciences company secure funding and bring innovations to market
- The Greenhouse – The Greenhouse (Luxembourg) provides a special and unique environment to early-stage innovative start-ups.
- Next Wave Health – A venture by US healthcare pioneer and investor Ivo Nelson. Next Wave Health will help start-up healthcare information technology companies succeed with management advice, operational support and capital.
- AVIA – a different type of organisation to most in this list, Avia works with healthcare providers (as opposed to startups) to accelerate innovation. They’re a consulting business, but want to operate on a membership-based, risk-sharing model it seems.
- Healthcare.mn Exclusively focused on encouraging and supporting Minnesota’s growing digital health startup ecosystem
- Samba Health Samba Health is the first accelerator in southern Europe specialized in Digital Health and Medical Devices.
Business formation and acceleration initiatives linked to universities and hospitals (such as tech transfer)
- Center for Digital Health Innovation at University of California – Building a digital health ecosystem that connects UCSF resources with healthcare and tech leaders. They ‘incubate, validate and connect’…
- The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse – A public/private partnership founded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and local universities, PLSG offers capital investment and business growth programs to life sciences startups in Pennsylvania
- BioEnterprise - Founded in Cleveland by local universities and hospitals, BioEnterprise is a business formation, recruitment and acceleration initiative focused on bioscience technologies
- Medipex - Medipex Ltd is the NHS Innovation Hub for the Yorkshire and Humber region in UK and provides technology transfer services to the National Health Service (NHS) in UK. If you ‘submit an invention’ they may offer you a range of commercialisation services building on their links with the NHS.
- iMinds- offers an incubation program and R&D funding/support for Flemish ICT startups, backed by Flemish government and universities, strong focus on healthcare
- Hacking Medicine MIT - linked to MIT, Boston, this group organises educational events ‘to teach entrepreneurs and clinicians the skills necessary to launch disruptive healthcare businesses’
- CIMIT – A non-profit consortium of Boston’s leading teaching hospitals and universities, CIMIT fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among experts in translational research, medicine, science and engineering, in concert with industry, foundations and government, to improve patient care. Basically they organise and fund interdisciplinary research projects and advise innovators in introducing technological innovations into healthcare.
Corporate R&D labs & incubators open to startups
- Janssen Labs – “Janssen Labs is a new life science innovation center created by Janssen Research & Development at its La Jolla-based West Coast Research Center. By providing emerging healthcare companies with many big company advantages, Janssen Labs offers a capital efficient way for companies to discover and develop solutions to the healthcare challenges we face today. This model is intended to give companies the opportunity to invest their capital in research instead of infrastructure and to focus resources on progressing science instead of day-to-day operations.” Open to biotech, devices, diagnostics, instrumentation.
Hackathons and startup weekends
- NHS Hack Day - This group have organised one-day software development jamborees, trying to leverage NHS datasets, in London and Liverpool (next one coming up in Oxford)
- Prebacked Health - A 3-day hackathon for health startup teams in Silicon Valley
- Health Hack Day – 3-day hackathon in Stockholm
- Hacking Health - Canadian outfit that organises hackathons in Toronto and Montréal
- Health Startup Weekend – The famed Startup Weekend goes healthcare. First edition was held in September in Mountain View, CA.
- Health 2.0 Code-a-thons – Hackathons with great prizes, organised by the people from Health 2.0 (the conference, see below), as part of their Developer Challenge program
- Health & Wellness Innovation – An annual 2-week (yes 2 week!) hackathon at MIT Media Lab
- Health UP – Health hackathon in Singapore. Edition in May 2013 is on diabetes management and workplace health
- Hack for Health – Belgium’s first… organised by Microsoft Innovation Centre and yours truly (HealthStartup team)
- HealthHack Dublin – 2-day event in Ireland
- Healthcare Weekend: Berlin Edition – two and a half days of healthcare innovation in Berlin following the familiar Startup Weekend pattern.
Investor matchmaking and crowdfunding
- VentureHealth – Silicon Valley based crowdfunding portal for healthcare innovations, offers equity participation
- MedStartr – A Kickstartr for healthcare innovation.. based in US but coming to Europe too twitter handle @MedstartrEU
- Biofunder – a crowdfunding/investment portal that claims to let people invest directly (in equity) in life sciences startups
- Health Capital Network - A membership-based matchmaking service for investors and health industry startups
- Host of Ideas - An online platform for connecting startups and investors, based in Chicago and London. Generalist but organises a healthcare award to attract health startups
- Health Tech Hatch – An online crowdfunding platform for health-tech ventures. Currently offers donation-based and reward-based funding but they intend to also offer loan-based and equity-based funding in due course.
- AARP Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch – Investor pitching event in Las Vegas for start-up companies in the “50 and over” health technology and innovation sector
Competitions & Awards
- Health 2.0 Developer Challenge – The Health 2.0 conference team has invited a range of corporates and institutes to fund developer ‘challenges’ and ‘code-a-thons’, claiming more than $2 million in prizes awarded thus far. Check them all out here. Or for example: Janssen Healthcare Innovation Connected Health Challenge - Janssen Healthcare Innovation (JHI), a team within Janssen Research & Development, offers a €30,000 award, focused on personal health management, medication adherence and residential/patient homes care
- Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards - Into its second edition (2012) this program is co-organised by AGE Platform Europe and the European Disability Forum (NGO that represents 80 million Europeans with disabilities) and focuses on IT apps that improve the lives of people with disabilities. Compete for a share of the €200k prize fund.
- Hackovate Health – The challenge: “Develop and showcase a mobile, online or social applications to help consumers address core healthcare needs and understand how the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects their lives (aka “Obamacare”).” Main prizes courtesy of H&R Block will be awarded to the top three innovative ideas as determined by a panel of judges. Top prizes are $15,000, $5000 and $2500
- Host of Ideas - An online platform for connecting startups and investors, based in Chicago and London. Generalist but organises a healthcare award to attract health startups. ‘Large cash prize to be confirmed’
- Accenture Innovation Awards – Health & Public Service - Dutch division of Accenture honours a bunch of tech innovators at an annual gala event, includes a ‘health & public services’ stream
- eHealth Solution - With the endorsement of the ICT for Health Unit at the European Commission, TICBioMed organizes a competition for rewarding the best eHealth solution of 2012 produced by an European SME
- Innovate Health Tech NYC – Initiative of NYCEDC, Health 2.0, StartupHealth and others. They invite software and hardware developers and other innovators living or working in New York City to create new commercially viable technologies that solve urgent health care problems. $50k in prizes.
- X-Prize Nokia Sensing Challenge - The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE is a $2.25 million global competition to accelerate the availability of hardware sensors and software sensing technology that individuals use to access, understand, and improve their health and well-being. Innovation in sensing is an important component to creating a means for appealing, usable, smarter digital health solutions.
- X-Prize Qualcomm Tricorder Challenge - The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, making reliable health diagnoses available directly to “health consumers” in their homes.
- The Guardian Healthcare Innovation Awards - The Guardian’s new awards aim to recognise and celebrate innovation across the healthcare sector and beyond. They want to showcase ideas or services which significantly improve the quality or management of care for patients, and share them with the rest of the sector. Backed by GE, 3M, & Unipart Group. 2013 application closed.
- Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge - Building on the Healthcare Innovation Challenge started by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, the Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge is bringing together healthcare and technology professionals from around the state to identify and develop solutions to some of today’s most challenging health information technology problems.
- The Challenge Cup 1776 - Supported by a $180,000 grant from the District of Columbia and in partnership with Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs, the Challenge Cup will feature competitions in 16 cities across the world, eight in the United States and eight internationally, in which startups will compete in the categories of health, education, energy, and city challenges. The competition will culminate in a week-long festival produced in partnership with Tech Cocktail in May 2014 in Washington, DC that will bring together 64 winning startups from around the world – along with corporate partners, investors, policymakers, and media – to crown the winner of the Challenge Cup.
- Qualcomm Ventures – according to RockHealth, this venturing arm of telco Qualcomm is one of the more prolific investors in digital health.
- BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners – venturing division of health insurance company BlueCross BlueShield. Several digital health investments …
- Merck Global Health Innovation Fund – venturing arm of biopharmaceutical company Merck. Several digital health investments …
- West Health Investment Fund – a US-based non-profit that wants to lower healthcare cost through innovation. Several digital health investments …
- Ascension Health Ventures – fund backed by US-based alliance of hospitals
Investors (VC/private equity/angel)
- Aberdare Venture – several digital health companies in its portfolio. One of the more prolific investors according to RockHealth. Forbes writer, David Shaywitz, describes it as one of the most well-respected investors in the field
- NEA - large VC/private equity player with several digital health companies in portfolio
- Khosla Ventures – high profile VC with expressed commitment to digital health scene
- Esther Dyson – legendary investor in numerous big name digital startups, with strong interest in healthcare
- Ariadne Capital – prominent UK-based VC, founded by Julie Meyer, with interest in digital health
- Radiant Capital – advisor to several funds with healthcare focus
- Council Capital – Nashville based investor in healthcare innovation
Networks, communities & open innovation Forums
- Health 2.0 Accelerator – membership-based forum that facilitates business and technical collaboration among health technology companies (e.g. on interoperability issues)
- Many2Many – a platform for linking up tech innovators with patients, for idea generation, market research, user testing and so on
- Health-Lab – a Dutch ‘living lab’ initiative that organises ‘live’ technology experimentation in the Amsterdam region. iMinds in Flanders (also see above under tech transfer) organises something similar.
- PRoF Projects – Belgian open innovation initiative to dream up the ‘Patient Room of the Future’
- innov8 for health - Innov8 for Health is a multi-stake holder effort to create a health innovation ecosystem involving employers, investors, universities, startup companies and the health care community.
- Digital Health LinkedIn Group - Undoubtedly the largest (13,000+ members) and most active digital health online community, founded by Paul Sonnier (see his list of conferences too, above).
- Medical Devices LinkedIn Group - broader focus but certainly huge (140,000+ members)
- Health Informatics Technology LinkedIn Group - community for HIT professionals, 22,000+ members
Health Innovation/Technology Conferences
- Paul Sonnier’s Global List of Health Innovation Conferences – There probably isn’t much point in duplicating Paul’s good work here. Certainly the most comprehensive list of conferences we know of. We’ll only list some of the major events below.
- TEDMED – The TED of healthcare innovation. Washington DC. Big names guaranteed.
- TEDxMaastricht – The European TED of healthcare innovation, strong focus on patient empowerment, organised by Lucien Engelen (Radboud UMC)
- Health 2.0 - major conferences organised in Silicon Valley, Berlin, India and Dubai.
- HealthBeat – tech blog Venture Beat ventures into healthcare conferences. We like the focus on hospitals.
- Innovations & Investments in Healthcare – ‘Boutique’ networking conference in Berlin connecting healthcare innovators and investors
- mHealth Summit – huge annual summit in Washington DC
- Medicine X Stanford – 2-day conference at Stanford Medical School (organised by Dr Larry Chu) “explores how emerging technologies will advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care”
- Doctors 2.0™ & You – 4th edition coming up in Paris (June 5-6, 2014), Doctors 2.0 is a “patient inclusive” conference pursuing the mission to engage physicians and healthcare providers in digital interaction with patients, industry, government and payers. The winner of the Doctors 2.0 & You Paris start-up contest in June gets to pitch in Palo Alto in September at Stanford Medicine X, the conference partner event.
- Health:Refactored - 2-day conference in Silicon Valley, May 13 – 14, 2013 for developers and designers to learn and share the latest hacks, hone their skills, and make the necessary connections to thrive in the health industry. By the Health 2.0 organisers.
- HealthStartup – probably a bit shameless of us to promote our own event here, but we’re pretty well known for our format that facilitates intense networking and is focused on helping disruptive, high-potential digital health startups succeed. A very intense experience guaranteed. London edition coming up 12 December
- The Medical Entrepreneur Summit – Also a book and app, The Medical Entrepreneur focuses on the business & entrepreneurial aspects of being a doctor. It looks at the operational aspects of running your medical practice but also targets medical professionals who want to launch non-clinical business ventures (such as digital health startups..)