Funding and the wisdom of crowds

Also up in Boston at the World Congress on Telemedicine was a panel on the alternative world of funding called crowdfunding. “Funding From The Crowd that Cares: How Crowd Funding From Patients and Providers is Driving mHealth Innovation” panelled Alex Fair of MedStartr and organizer of the 2,000 person Health 2.0 NYC Meetup, Eric Migicovsky of Pebble Technology (who raised $10 million for his ‘e-paper’ watch from 69,000 participants on Kickstarter), Candace Klein, Co-chair, Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA), the leading advocacy group for the crowdfunding industry and Ambar Bhattacharyya, Vice President in Bessemer Venture Partners‘ Cambridge, MA office. Fair’s big news was that MedStarter, the first crowdfunding platform for healthcare startups, fully funded itself in less than one month. MedStartr’s companies raise modest sums from individuals in return for small items, discounted product and the like, not equity [TA 12 July]. Right now they have more modest goals than Pebble, and results vary widely. The most successful to date, Dave Chase’s Avado patient/provider experience platform, has raised $4,400–88% of its goal, with 33 days left. (Update 6 August–Avado over the line and now at 144% of goal.) EndoGoddess, which is a tracking platform for blood glucose and diabetes founded by Jen Dyer, MD, is only 5% of the way there, with $1,223 and 5% of goal with the same time left. As a means of very, very early stage funding, the word is spreading. Last Thursday, Fair spoke to the NYC Bio Meetup, attended largely by young biotech developers out of NYU/Poly’s incubator, and interest was definitely there as a new way of early funding and a prelude to angel funding. MedStartr, Kickstarter for health care, funds itself in first month of business (

Other conference highlights:

From Monica Wahi in the Examiner:

Texting in mobile health reducing disparities in health delivery. VA, Text4Baby and Text in the City cited.

Strategy, governance and process the unsexy keys to managing mobile health. Cleveland Clinic’s Vice Chairman of Clinical Informatics warns about organizations ‘innovating themselves into a corner.’

Updated 31 July

Neil Versel in Mobihealthnews hits the traffic jam of data in clinical use–how absorbing patient data is a barrier in practices and until it’s integrated into EHRs, it won’t be valuable to the doctor.  With Dr. Mohit Kaushal, EVP at the West Wireless Health Institute, Dr. David Judge, medical director of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Dr. Andy Steele, director of medical informatics at Denver Health.  (Yet again we return to our FBQ–The Five Big Questions– who pays, how much, who’s looking at the data, who’s actioning it, how data is integrated into patient records. You read it here first!)

1 thought on “Funding and the wisdom of crowds

  1. Health tech and devices industry is under far more regulation and scrutiny by the FDA, SEC, etc than many other industries; however, crowd funding for health plays an interesting role as almost all health startups stand on the high moral/ethical ground. They are, generally speaking, for the advancement of the people’s health and wellness thus startups that utilize crowd funding in this industry to get started sit in a great position to garner the support of masses on the nature of the business alone. Even still, the support of large numbers can generate more realistic efficacy and could help break down the wall for government approval nation-wide.

    I’m interested in seeing the future of crowdfunding as it relates to the health industry.

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