We want to change how healthcare ideas, research, and companies get funded by connecting patients, Doctors, Medical and Research institutions, and strategic partners to the innovators and motivated individuals working to make a change in healthcare. Whether people want to create a new healthcare gadget, make an app, make music, raise money for research, write a book, make a movie, or just raise awareness, MedStartr is all about getting it done and building a community of supporters.
We are happy to report that we have moved from the Alpha to the Beta thanks to our early supporters from the first time we released the site. Thanks to the Doctors, Nurse, and the Crowd, who stepped up and Said “this should exist” and voted with their wallets and purses, we were able to buy server time and quit our day jobs (thanks Heroku!) We have an amazing team of volunteers too (Brett Berliner Rocks!) and great things are happening every day. I can’t say everyone’s name, but folks like Eric from Pebble, VPs of Innovation from companies that rhyme with Shmizer, and the outstanding folks at HHS who are so receptive to our project are among the many I would thank. Also Timothy Hay from Venture Beat and WSJ who published a great piece about us last week. Only in America! Thanks All!
Check out all the other press we have gotten on our Press Page! To get all the news every Tuesday, just sign up for a free account and we will send it to you as well.
Note: To see the first project backers look at the backers tab – half of whom are Physicians!
MedStartr is a crowdfunding platform specifically designed for healthcare. Healthcare is different than most other industries and suffers for this difference. Healthcare is different because it is so important. This is not something to hang on your wall, this is your Life or the life of one you love and it is serious business. It matters deeply. Another difference is that the payment structure is like none other creating a vast chasm between Patients and those that care for them (Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals, Pharma,…) Finally, there is the moral issue: are healthcare services a right or a privilege and where does our government fit in? These factors have made our healthcare delivery system one of the most massive train wrecks of all time but it is far too important to fail and needs our innovation help. The good news is that much is being done in this regard.
Our Government has made some bold steps and fostered innovation in healthcare in a great many ways. The Affordable Care Act, love it or hate it, has been the most expansive innovation drivers in the industry in 38 years. Thousands of new ideas are being tried and developed and a new forest of innovative startups have changed how healthcare works. Many are getting funded now through traditional VCs and there are some amazing incubators out there (StartupHealth, BluePrint, HealthBox, RockHealth, Innov8 for Health,…) Angel groups are popping up and there is suddenly a significant ecosystem to fund innovation. This is awesome and so much better than it was even six months ago, thanks to CCHIT, PPACA, the Beacon Program, Challenge grants, Health 2.0 and so many more initiatives that have been supported by the public and private sectors.
Because it isn’t enough and investing in startups without proven products or customers is risky and driving traction and development is expensive. Secondly, not all ideas that are attractive to Patients and Doctors will be initially attractive to investors, grant funders, or large companies. Need an example, look at the work of Regina Holliday or the FMDchat project here on MedStartr. Are they important? Absolutely! Will a corporate giant back them? Not until We The People get behind them first. This is why we are Born on the 4th of July, to Declare our Independence from traditional funding sources!!! Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for traditional funding sources, but the best term sheet is called a bill of sale and it comes from your customers. Trust us, your friendly neighborhood Angel or VC will agree. We actually did a little survey the other day…
A successful crowdfunding project is good for your company. According to Ambar Bhattacharyya of Bessemer Ventures, a good crowdfunding project shows scrapiness, aggressiveness, and engagement with the people who matter to your company – customers, doctors, institutions, distributors, pharma, and more. At a recent event, our CEO asked the audience of investors if they would be more like or less likely to invest in a company that had gotten 100 customers and $5,000 on Medstartr. Over 20 hands went up for more likely and only one went up for less likely. The Investor crowd is with us!
One of the biggest surprises in our first month is the number of partnerships and even one straight up acquisition that have seen among our startups. More are in progress, but just go look at the Avado or BraGGs projects. We also have some great stuff happening ourselves from really really big companies that want to help drive innovation in America and around the world faster and better than ever.
We have the pleasure of knowing the founders of hundreds of startups. Two different ones approach us in May and wanted to list on our new service. The second heard about a similar one already in the process of getting onto MedStartr and asked if it was okay to have two related products. They had already been through an incubator, had a great product and a few customers, but needed to turn the corner to generate lift-off. Well, the second company decided not to list and while they are still operational, they have not seen the stellar success of the one that did list that has won raised a great deal of outside capital and has three new big partnerships. The moral of the story: When in Doubt, take a chance on yourself and don’t worry about the competition, let the customer decide.
Another reason MedStartr is critical is to test ideas and see what works before committing resources. Healthcare problem solvers are doctors, Ph.D.s, Hospital Administrators, Patients, and everyone who has been touched by the havoc that comes from illness and disease. MedStartrs didn’t come from Design or B school, they came from Med School, Nursing, Hospital Administration, your local toy shop, and/or a patient experience that inspired them to change the system. And it isn’t easy either, even experts like the folks at Google try really hard and fail to achieve a workable product for our strange industry. These are amazing people (look through Regina’s Walking Gallery to see hundreds of them), but often there needs to be a trial and error process before incredible folks like Regina can emerge as the Patient Advocacy Speaker and Leader she has become or the iPhone ECG becomes a stunning success (note, both Regina and Kim Whittmore, who brought that amazing product to market, are here on MedStartr.) MedStartr is a place where we can all try stuff out. We know some will not achieve threshold and that’s ok, every project is a learning process for teams of really smart people who learn fast. Some iterate and manage to redesign studies for 5% of the original cost. We did this for FairCareMD, when we redesigned our server architecture to cut costs in half as well.
Finally, MedStartr is all about driving public awareness and adoption for great products like Dave Chase’s Avado and Dr. Jen Dyer’s Endogoddess that are awesome but need to drive adoption or do a clinical trial. We have dozens more that will roll out over then next few weeks too! We think MedStartr is a place where people can shop for the latest greatest Medical and Health IT tech before it is available anywhere else and even help the innovators refine their offerings to suit the needs of doctors, patients, institutions, and partners. MedStartr is here to fill the adoption, attention, and funding gaps and help drive the creation of a better care through innovation. This reduces risk for investors at the next stage and helps make products better by connecting innovators to early adopters who will give feedback and advice on making the products even better. Do the Aetnas and ZocDocs of the world need it? Not for themselves, but it is a great place to look for rising star companies that they could consider partnering with.
Patients have never had a say in what innovation gets developed. There are conspiracy theories and true stories about life saving products that never became available due to a clinical trial not getting funded or a company being bought and closed. This is not urban myth, look at in home kidney dialysis that has been around since the 90s but is only now approaching the mainstream. It is cheaper and would have saved 100,000s of lives but was not adopted because those that were at risk of dying (one in 5 new dialysis patients die every year) were not involved in the decision making. Read the Forbes article and do the math. Patients NEED to get involved in healthcare innovation as their life could depend on it. In total millions die every year because some interventions and inventions or simple solutions like Dr. Gwande’s Checklist Manifesto were never created or adopted or didn’t get here fast enough. Did it really take Bill & Melinda Gates to buy all those mosquito nets and start to drive back Malaria, or could all of us done that? This is why MedStartr needs to exist, so we can get involved and fund the care that WE, as patients, care about most.
Note, your Donations, where indicated, are tax deductible thanks to the support of the Cancer 101, a non profit dedicated to cancer education.
One of the most frustrating aspects of giving care are the limitations. Innovation brings new possibilities and breaks down the barriers to what can be done. By backing projects on MedStartr, Physicians, Dentists, Nurses, Hospitals, and all healthcare providers can help bring products to market faster and gain access to them as soon as possible. We are pleased to report that half the early backers and most of the money in the first phase of this project came from MDs and RNs. We are proud to be able to offer an avenue where these caring, inspiring people can get involved in the great ideas that will change healthcare.
A friend of mine once commented that crowd funding is not as good as angel investing because the money is not as “smart”. I have to disagree. Give me 1,000 patients and 100 Doctors and let me run ideas by them and I bet we come up with some pretty clever ideas. The difference between Angel or VC “smart” money and crowdfunding dollars is like the difference between good design and market research – one is not nearly as useful without the other.
The MedStartr Partner program is specifically designed to help drive innovation at all levels and for all stakeholders. By becoming a Partner organization you can Sponsor projects on a matching basis. This means that you ONLY need to invest your time and resources into the project AFTER the Doctors and Patients have signed up to participate, pre-purchased, and have become engaged in the solution. This vastly reduces the risk of the investment, improves products, and makes the people who care about the innovation your partners in making it happen. The MedStartr Partner Program is a true WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN – for Patients, Doctors, Innovators, and Strategic Partners. See the rewards specifically designed for you and contact us for more details.
I pitched my second and third startups dozens of times and the most common comment was “you don’t have enough traction yet.” They were right and eventually we got it, but it was a long road. By driving adoption and a little funding early on, we take the risk out of the equation and help Angels, VCs, Incubators, and all investors go where SEC statements can’t – where the rubber meets the road. Imagine if you could talk to 100 of your potential investment’s customers online whenever you wanted to? Would this level of transparency aid investment decision making? You betcha! That is why our next deliverable is a platform called MedFundr.com, for qualified investors who are interested in successful MedStartr projects. We agree with my friend Dr. Milena Adamanian, who says, to paraphrase, that ‘Crowdfunding is not a stand alone in most cases, but part of the continuum of care and feeding of innovative ideas and products.’
There will be a $1,000 fee to join MedFundr but you can joining now for only $333 by taking that reward and helping fund the build out. This will also put you on a special “Meet the MedStartrs” mailing list and let you connect directly to our growing cadre of successful MedStartrs.
Unfortunately, equity-based crowdfunding needs to be seperate from the kind of funding you see on MedStartr. While the JOBS / CROWDFUNDER act set a path for equity investing requirements that will change this industry over the next few weeks and months, currently only “qualified investors” may invest in companies online. We are optimistic that the future is quite bright for the crowdfunding industry, this version of the platform is purely focused on Donation and Reward based funding and is absolutely not equity based. As additional options become available we will adapt quickly, but still keep equity purchases separated on the seperate MedFundr platform until further notice.
The US government and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been among the greatest champions of change, issuing challenge grants, reforming the laws that define healthcare, opening datasets, and inviting people like me to DC to meet the President. Startup Health, for example, is part of the Startup America Initiative and has been helpful in this effort as well. Through our MedMatchr program we hope to enable grant issuing organizations like the NIH, HHS, CMS, and any other three letter agency to issue “MedMatchr Grants” where the Agency issues a Matching Grant and the project that gets the most support gets the grant! See the MedMatchr Reward at the right and be the first to pilot this new feature!
Yes, a few qualified investors already have already expressed interest. We are a Delaware C corp. offering standard vehicles that, for legal reasons, can’t be specified here. Please call (530) MED-STARtr or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an investor package.
First and foremost, because if we want to do this right we need to spend some money. We are proud to say that since April 27th when we launched the alpha we have been crowdfunded on our own platform and that is just so Meta, as Tim Soo, CEO of Meddik, says. I don’t even know what that means, but I like it!
1. Continue to build out this platform.
2. Build the next Platform: MedFundr.com to help companies in the 500K – 5 million raise range
3. Build out our team of Facilitators to help get Entrepreneurs shape and target their offerings
4. Build a Mentor and Partner Network to Match MedStartrs with the companies that need them
5. Launch MedStartr Events in Boston, LA, San Fran, Houston, DC, Florida. Tell us where you want a MedStartr event in the comments area and we will be there to bring the crowd to crowdfunding!
We have gotten a flood of requests from aound the world. This began when we ran our first prototype MedStartr Event in conjunction with Health 2.0 NYC, iBreakfast, the Drapin Group, and mHealthcon. We recorded the whole thing and you can see it on our Blog. Since then we have not had to market at all. Now, partnering with Health 2.0, mHealthSummitt, One Med Place, the World Health Forum, and many more great organizations we are bringing the MedStartr tent to many events, bringing the Crowd to Crowdfunding.
Mike Pence – Co-Founder FairCareMD, Tech Lead: Kickstarter.com, iTunescore, and many more. Ruby on Rails Guru that has created more large scale projects than you can shake a stick at
Steve Greene – Events – PR / Marketing Guru – SperlingGreene.com. Creator of mHealthcon and Startupalooza
Alan Brody – Author, “Are You Fundable?”; iBreakfast Founder; and much much more!
Sarah Krug – President, Society for Participatory Medicine; Executive Director, Cancer 101;
And a team of amazing Programmers, MBAs, Interns and other really awesome smart folks!
NYC! The world’s Hub for healthcare innovation. If funded we will move into BluePrint Health’s HQ this Summer.
We would not have gotten this far without your support. Thank you for all you have done to encourage us and get us going. While we are attracting outside funding, crowdsourcing our crowdsourcing platform is by far the best way to do this.
Founder & CEO
Tax Deductible Donation: If you love what we are doing, show your love by putting your name on a Tax-Deductible donation to the cause. Your Support is creating a wave that is changing how people think about funding healthcare projects and companies, building a Tidal Wave of Innovation. THANK YOU! (note, tax deductible donation empowered by soon to be announced partnership with a 501c(3) organization)
One Free "I am part of the Solution!" MedStartr T-Shirt designed by Regina Holliday. See Updates for Design and to enter the Cool Caption Contest
One Free "I'm a MedStartr" T-Shirt or Poster designed by the awesome Dr. Nima Shiekholeslami of PositiveMed.com
Free Ticket to a MedStartr Local Event where you can meet local MedStartrs + a T-Shirt
1 Backer(s) Limited (49 left of 50 )
MedStartr Local Event Exhibitor Booth - one 6 foot table at an event with at least 200 attendees, many of whom will be interested in your product or service. Present your product or service and the Crowd can Crowdfund you right then and there! Coming Soon to a city near you!
Free Project on Medstartr - no fees! Make one right now! + a T-Shirt + 2 Tickets
INVESTORS - Do you want to invest in successful MedStartrs? Apply to join our MedFundr Program where you get exclusive access to our MedFundr investment platform just for investing in successful projects. Get access to the Entrepreneurs first through introductions and later through the MedFundr platform we are building now. Note: please do not take this reward if you have less than 1M in assets and under 200K per year in income. To see the full qualifications, please see the Reg D Qualifications as outlined by the SEC here: http://www.sec.gov/answers/accred.htm
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Free Event Booth Table OR Medstartr Project AND a Pebble Watch Signed by Pebble Founder Eric Migicovsky. Yes, THAT Pebble.
MedStartr Startup Full Promotion Package: Video recording; Project Development, PR Planning, Partner Matching Program, Free Project, and Free Booth at Local event. + 3 T-Shirts + 5 Tickets
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FOUNDING MATCHER: Support the development of, have a hand in designing, and get first access to the MedMatchr feature that enables any innovation funding organization to issue a grant challenge and let innovators compete right here on MedStartr to see who wins a Matching grant. The public votes and funds the innovation they believe is most important and you only fund projects that are well supported by the public. Can you imagine a more democratic way to fund innovation and use tax payer dollars?
Original Work of Art by Regina Holliday about your healthcare innovation to improve care! + Free Project on Medstartr + 3 T-Shirts + 5 Tickets
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FOUNDING PARTNERS: Be listed among our early supporters alongside some of the fortune 50 companies that are getting involved with Us. Get early access to the exclusive Partner Section of the site that allows deeper access to the MedStartr system and enables direct, private communication with the MedStartrs before, during, and after their projects launch. The MedStartr Partner program enables established Pharma, Insurance, Medical Device, and Health IT companies to utilize the MedPartnr Program to drive traction and pre-sales for companies in their innovation pipeline. Sponsoring MedStartr projects on a success-only basis takes the risk out of investing in startups. Most projects have Partner Rewards but the Partner Program enables your innovation team to participate in the process and pre-negotiate terms with the start-ups.
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Exclusive Partner Program: Same as the MedPartnr Program, but for each industry Your Company is the only partner in Medical Devices, Pharma, Insurance, or other sub-sectors EXCLUSIVELY for one year. Includes being listed as a Founding Partner of MedStartr.