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Wanna launch a healthcare startup? Here’s advice from a CEO who sold his company

Eric Heil will be the keynote speaker at the American Heart Association's Philadelphia Heart Science Forum on April 28. We're giving away two tickets.

At the Philadelphia Heart Science Forum 2016. (Courtesy photo)
This is a guest post by Eric Heil, former CEO of RightCare Solutions, which sold to naviHealth in 2015.

Are you consider starting a new venture in healthcare or investing in a startup to transform the delivery of healthcare services?  There are many steps and factors to consider as one sets out on this entrepreneurial journey. With a unique idea, good timing, a strong leadership team and a vision for success, the entrepreneurial journey is a rewarding one and worth considering, particularly in healthcare.

Here are three things to consider when launching a new venture.

1. Does your unique idea truly solve a meaningful clinical unmet need or health problem?

Does your unique idea add significant value to a healthcare stakeholder? For example, in heart disease alone, in a recent report from the American Heart Association, it shows that 45 percent of the U.S. population could suffer from cardiovascular disease by 2035. Annual costs related to this — both medical and lost productivity — are expected to surpass $1 trillion; that’s more than all other chronic diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Improving heart disease and the recovery from heart disease is both a meaningful and significant opportunity.

There are many ways of validating these questions quickly and cheaply. Healthcare is complex with very localized market dynamics and purchasing rationale, so simply confirming with at least three potential customers in various geographies across the country that would purchase your product or service that they have the same problem, how much they would be willing to pay for such a product or service and likelihood to pay for a solution to solve this problem will shed a lot of light on the urgency and significance of your target unmet need.

2. Focus on building a team that wants to but more importantly can make it happen.

Think about the types of individuals and character traits that are important for any company executive such as demonstrated leadership, strong team builder, deep industry expertise and personal integrity. To find the right team, network with as many folks as you can to help find the right people. Usually the right people for your new venture are highly employable and aren’t necessary looking for a new job but everyone is usually willing to hear more about a new opportunity, so you have to go find them!

Go check out local conferences or company sponsored events. For example, industry leaders from across the spectrum of healthcare will gather later this month on April 28 in Philadelphia to discuss innovation and advances in heart science at the American Heart Association’s annual Philadelphia Heart Science Forum.

[Related: A dispatch from the Philadelphia Heart Science Forum 2014, on how changing the culture of academia can drive Philly’s life sciences industry]

3. It’s going to be hard and no one really talks about the hard things.

Surround yourself with the support system to get through it all, family, friends, coworkers, advisors and mentors. Do not just focus on becoming an expert in your specific field of the new venture but also become a student of entrepreneurship during the journey. If you have conviction in your new idea, a passion to make a difference, humility and a willingness to continuously learn, the entrepreneurial journey may be right for you.

If you’re interested in launching a healthcare venture, come get inspired and meet new people at the Philadelphia Heart Science Forum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Old City on Friday, April 28, which falls on the first day of Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast.

Tickets are $150.

(Editor’s note: We’re giving away two tickets to two readers. To enter the giveaway, sign up for our newsletter, which sends out the day’s news every day at 1 p.m. Use the code “HSF.” If you’re already a subscriber, then subscribe to our national newsletter, which sends out news from all five of our markets, with the same code. We’ll choose winners on Thursday, April 20, at 1 p.m., so enter before that.)

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Companies: RightCare Solutions

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