For those not familiar with Techstars, they are one of the best startup accelerators out there today. You can literally look at the statistics for the startups they’ve invested in on the TechStars stats page. For those not familiar with the startup accelerator model, companies get a small sum of money (usually enough to live for 3 months) and spend 3 months in a city with other startup companies building out your startup company. It’s turned out to be a great model with Ycombinator and Techstars leading the pack and plenty of healthcare startup accelerators following after.
Many of the Techstars companies have been healthcare startups (especially the Techstars Boston classes) and Techstars has just created a new partnership with the Mayo Clinic to help these startup companies even more. It’s called Techstars++ and is launching with the Mayo Clinic. Here’s a description from the announcement:
Techstars++ offers companies from across the Techstars network the opportunity to extend their Techstars experience by spending time on site and engaging deeply with a relevant corporate partner. For example, after completing Techstars, healthcare-oriented companies can spend two weeks at the Mayo Clinic exploring business development opportunities and other synergies. A full time Techstars Program Director will reside on-site and work closely with the startups and the corporation to help maximize the opportunity. There is no charge to Techstars companies to participate in Techstars++.
In the past, I’ve wondered if general tech accelerators like Techstars were the right approach for healthcare startup companies. There’s so much that’s different in healthcare that you need to make sure you have someone who understand the healthcare culture. I still think this is a major challenge for a healthcare startup in Techstars, but this 2 week residency at Mayo Clinic is a good step towards opening customer doors for healthcare startups in these programs. They should then expand the program to include a medium and small size hospital as well. Having those three categories of hospitals on board is incredibly important when launching a health IT company to the hospital world.