Since 2014 we’ve been witnessing a major shift in the digital health accelerator space moving towards a wider variety of business models.  In October 2014, the California Health Care Foundation issued a report authored by Lisa Suennen about the state of healthcare Accelerators in the U.S. and around the world. The report identified more than 115 healthcare dedicated accelerators. Lisa predicted that as accelerators begin to mature, they would evolve into various models. Here are the 6 models she reviewed in her report:

  1. Independent commercial model
  2. Enterprise-based innovation model
  3. Product- or service-amplification model
  4. Economic development model
  5. University-affiliated program
  6. Collaboration platform

In January 2016, a MedCity article confirmed Lisa’s prediction, announcing that several accelerators had evolved from their original model since they launched, including StartUp Health Academy and Healthbox. Rock Health also ended its accelerator to focus on using a fund to seed early stage companies, which was soon followed by the announcement that its founder was leaving the fund. The unmet needs of the digital health industry and the model experiments resulted in a new form of organization -- the collaboration platform. What is a collaboration platform? Definition: a platform where the members of a community can openly collaborate with one another; such a collaborative community consists of all the key stakeholders in the field. In the case of digital health collaboration platforms, the key stakeholders include payors, providers, pharmaceuticals, tech and devices, investors, clinicians, and entrepreneurs. HealthXL is the leading global collaboration platform for digital health innovation. We started this journey back in May 2014 - read about our journey. Here’s how our collaboration platform is different from a digital health accelerator -- How is a digital health accelerator different from a collaboration platform such as HealthXL? There is a few high-level distinctions:

  1. Investments:
  • Accelerators: they invest various amounts, in exchange for equity or on a convertible note
  • HealthXL: no investment, no equity. Instead, we give companies access to our community of advisors including some of the leading digital health investors
  1. Mentorship
  • Accelerators: most offer an educational program, online or onsite, for a specific period of time, usually between 3 and 12 months long. Often the startups pay for the accelerator program.
  • HealthXL: we don’t mentor or educate the digital health companies. We give them free access to a community of advisors - clinicians, investors, industry experts, as well as potential clients.
  1. ppFocus:
  • Accelerators: some accelerators develop a portfolio across all areas in digital health, others focus on a specific area
  • HealthXL: we focus on the areas of strategic interest to the members of our community. Together we solve major healthcare problems through digital health collaborations - we use a four-step process to accelerate the outcomes.
  1. Space:
  • Accelerators: mostly offline, many of them have a dedicated physical space where the different batches learn and help each other during/after the program
  • HealthXL: online, on the HealthXL Platform we bring together key market stakeholders in digital health, and empower them to collaborate and learn from each other
  1. Objective
  • Accelerators: exit - IPO or acquisition
  • HealthXL: successful commercial collaborations between members of the HealthXL Community -- leading healthcare organisations and digital health companies.

Interested in joining our collaborative platform?


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P.S. Below I’ve selected a few recommended resources to help you prepare for digital health collaborations: