Florida Blue is partnering with Chicago-based Healthbox to bring to Florida the platform designed to stimulate healthcare entrepreneurialism and expose the healthcare industry to innovative solutions.
Just two years old, Healthbox
is experiencing significant growth, expanding to Boston and London with a mission to create opportunities for healthcare entrepreneurs while fostering broader system collaboration.
"We saw a need in the industry for more innovation. From that, we saw that entrepreneurs needed to be introduced to different groups within the healthcare industry, but we also wanted to learn from them and learn to grow within the context of the industry," says Healthbox Communications Manager Abbie Ginther.
Since the program's inception in 2012, 37 early-stage healthcare companies have received capital investments with more than 80 partnerships while creating nearly 20 new jobs.
"Success of startups lead to growth and infusion of capital which leads to economic development and job creation across the state. It is certainly something that will help spur the economic development statewide," says Les McPhearson, innovation and business development executive for Florida Blue
With each new emerging local program, 10 healthcare startups are targeted to be selected into the program and receive $50,000 in seed capital in exchange for 7 percent equity.
"The exploration is a journey. There are insights and intelligence to be gained that can add value," says McPhearson. "It is a combination of a very disciplined and rigorous program to help these companies become successful and grow while providing them the opportunity to run their companies. We want to help them find that right balance to help them become successful.''
Florida's resilient healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem paired with technological innovations and the incubation of startups presents an opportunity to capitalize upon regional growth opportunities that lead to economic stimulation and job creation.
"Florida poses some interesting dynamics that other regions don't face. Our hubs in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, central and south Florida bring different dynamics around access to capital, research, acadamia, and entrepreneurial support. We view it as an opportunity to weave some of this together," says McPhearson.
Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Abbie Ginther, Healthbox; Les McPhearson, Florida Blue