Here's the latest $2.4M effort to make Philly the Silicon Valley of health IT - Technical.ly Philly

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May 29, 2015 8:04 am

Here’s the latest $2.4M effort to make Philly the Silicon Valley of health IT

A whole cadre of city bigwigs say they'll work together to make it easier for health IT startups to flourish in the city. They'll invest $400,000 in the effort, plus $2 million in startup funding.

The Independence Blue Cross building in Center City.

(Photo by Flickr user @redjoe, used under a Creative Commons license)

Have a look at all the heavy hitters coming together with the hope of making Philadelphia a better place for health IT startups.

There’s venture firms like Safeguard Scientifics and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, industry champs like Independence Blue Cross, research institutions like Drexel and healthcare providers like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University and the Jefferson Health System and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Also, Comcast. It’s a lot.

The coalition is called the Health Care Innovation Collaborative and each of of the eight partners have invested $50,000 for a total of $400,000 in the initiative. They plan to hire a program director. BFTP and Rittenhouse Ventures have also put aside $1 million each to fund startups that the collaborative serves. (Safeguard did not put aside any funding for startups.)

The collaborative will be focused on connecting startups with their customers: big industry players.

“In its most simple form, the Collaborative helps early-stage companies avoid the guessing game they often face, wondering what solutions large health care institutions are looking for and developing products or services that may or may not be needed,” Independence Blue Cross CEO Dan Hilferty said in a statement.

This approach worked well for DreamIt Health, a DreamIt Ventures accelerator whose industry partners (IBC and Penn Medicine) often ended up running pilot programs with the participating early-stage startups.

It also seems like a natural move for IBC and CHOP to join the collaborative, since they’ve been making moves to get involved with startups (IBC with DreamIt Health and their innovation fund, and CHOP with partnerships with DreamIt Ventures and Osage University Partners).

The idea spun out of the healthcare innovation arm of the CEO Council for Growth, a group the Chamber of Commerce runs. Drexel president John Fry and IBC’s Hilferty co-chair the healthcare group.

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