A friend recently told me about HealthBox that more people should know about. With all the talk about Y Combinator, Tech Stars, The Founders Institute, and 500 Startups I think it will be a great program to help with startups in the HealthCare field. Here is a little about the program:

Healthbox will officially launch in January 2012 with an inaugural class of 10 startups. For three months, these teams will share collaborate in Chicago, where they'll have access to:
  • The expertise of industry leaders, investors and established entrepreneurs who can provide feedback and advice across an array of healthcare disciplines
  • A collaborative workspace where other entrepreneurs and mentors can come together in an environment that stimulates learning and knowledge sharing
  • Forums where business experts will lead engaging discussions on topics relevant to early-stage companies
  • Seed capital – each team will receive $50,000, in exchange for 7 percent equity.
I know the media likes to hear about Peter Thiel and his 20 under 20 and of course Y Combinator. But this program has something much more compelling. Bring startups in the medical field together and helping fund them with $50k, give them mentorships and access to people that can help nail and then scale their companies, and to collaborate and network with other start-ups. 

The technological startup bubble is causing a lot more entrants in the market and the quality, to society, of the startups is declining. Are they actually creating something valuable? I mean, how many Groupon clones do we need? How many new ways do we need to share photos on an iphone? How many new iphone, ipad, or Facebook games do we need? Is this the kind of innovation that we need to help push us forward? Is this the innovation and job creation that will help push output for the worldwide economy? No. Is funding the mark of value to society? No. Is the number of users a mark of value to society? No. 

The measure of a successful startup should be the value of the output into the economy. Maybe this is my background in Economics and Accounting talking. This is what we want to cultivate as a society. We should be targeting real innovation and real output increases. The ability for people to perform more, perform better, perform new things. I am not just referring to B2B. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are fantastic inasmuch as they allow us to share and collaborate. Look at how the Middle East is changing due to those services. 

Here is the Unofficial List of Y-Combinator Startups. Are there great companies on the list? Yes. Heroku. DropBox. Scribd. Just to name a few. Did some exit? Yes. CloudKick and more...
But is anyone surprised that this failed? JustSpotted Radar - the best and only place to see sightings of the hottest stars near you. This and many other startups, which were accepted in Y Combinator don't provide any value in terms of output t society. (I would hate to see the rejects...)

The models that Y Combinator and others are using is an example to other industries. So here comes HealthBox, employing the same successful format for innovative companies that will have the potential to impact 16% of US GDP, probably lead to more innovations that will help the output of medical care across the world. If HealthBox is able to execute well, its companies will provide more value to the economy and with that will come some of the other metrics of startups; more exits, less failures and of course less celebrity spottings. (Wait, how about an app that notifies you when a celebrity goes to the doctor....)

We've chosen to apply to HealthBox. As Managing Partner of Bern, I hope we get accepted. We are doing something compelling that helps discover billing errors for physicians. As a member of the society, I hope that we don't make the cut and that there are even more deserving companies. But that would be impossible :)

David Fuhriman


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