Blueprint Health, which raises money from investors and operates like a venture fund, stakes startups to office space, mentors and $20,000 to $50,000 in capital in exchange for a 6% equity interest. It's still in the early days for most of the graduates, but many are building a client base and successfully raising more money.
New York is also home to other health-tech incubators, including StartUp Health, chaired by Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin and New York eHealth Collaborative's Digital Health Accelerator.
Barely two years old, Blueprint Health has so far helped to launch 30 health IT companies. One grad, New York's AdhereTech, has raised $200,000 to outfit pill bottles with cellphone technology to help people remember to take their meds. Another homegrown alumnus, Medikly, whose cloud-based technology helps Big Pharma companies market to physicians and measure the effect, recently raised $1.2 million from Easton Capital.
Companies in the class that just graduated are looking for $500,000 to $1.5 million, and most have already banked a few hundred thousand dollars. Their business models run the gamut from simulated-surgery training to hand-hygiene compliance to helping Medicare patients choose the right drug plan.
For Mr. Chang's company, federal healthcare reform and a looming shortage of physicians are major drivers. As reimbursements drop, hospitals are hiring more physicians and buying up practices to expand their market share. At the same time, regulations and reimbursements are squeezing lone practitioners and smaller practices, and many are looking to bigger practices and providers to take them out of their misery—a confluence of events custom-made for a new-style recruiter.
Mr. Chang has a personal motivation, too: A mentor of his died because an overburdened doctor failed to read the results of a test that indicated he had cancer.
That experience became the impetus for his move from sales into healthcare administration and, later, the inspiration for for[MD].
To date, the young company has raised $445,000 of a $750,000 round from the Rothman Institute, a Philadelphia orthopedic practice and ambulatory surgery clinic, but since demo day, Mr. Chang said, he has been fielding calls and emails from more than a dozen interested investors.
So far, he's signed up alumni associations at four of the country's major medical schools—Duke, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford and Johns Hopkins—to his communications platform. Doctors trade professional advice and information, and hospitals upload job listings, to which doctors who are qualified, interested and actively searching can respond. It's a far cry from the mass solicitation, cold-calling and listservs typically used in the recruiting process, said Mr. Chang. For[MD] gets $15,000 for every hire it facilitates.
"[We want to] take a broken process in healthcare and make it more efficient and cheaper so that doctors and healthcare providers can focus on taking care of patients," he said. "We're addressing a pain point that not many people are addressing well."
"Blueprint spins out health tech" originally appeared in Crain's New York Business.