PILOT Health Tech NYC Matches Startups with NYC Health Care Service Organizations

Let’s face it, as a startup in the health care space, it’s not easy to land a first pilot to demonstrate the value your new technology, much less get paid for one. Strict federal regulations, billion dollar EMR implementations, and the fear of privacy leaks have made our nation’s providers very risk averse and extremely cautious about working with early stage health tech companies. Implementing new technologies in hospitals, where there are strict IT guidelines relating to ensuring patient data privacy and heavy bureaucracy, is difficult. Large hospital systems and other health care service organizations simply do not have the bandwidth or resources to guide companies through these challenges and therefore are reluctant to partner with early stage companies.

What results is a problem we are all too familiar with – failure of new technologies to diffuse into the market. Startups face the classic chicken and egg problem. As a startup, you need some traction, or proof of evidence that your technology brings some value to your customer. But in order to show that you bring value, a startup needs to test out the technology in the health care setting. Houston, we have a problem!

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The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), a non-profit that aims to catalyze economic growth in New York City’s five boroughs, recognized this problem early on and decided to tackle the issue head-on. After many health care stakeholder working groups and other research, NYCEDC launched PILOT Health Tech NYC in collaboration with Health 2.0, Blueprint Health, and Startup Health. PILOT Health Tech NYC matches early-stage health care technology companies (‘innovators’) with key NYC health care service organizations or individuals (‘hosts’), including hospitals, physician clinics, payors, pharma companies, and nursing associations. NYCEDC will fund approximately 10 innovative NYC-based pilot projects with up to $100,000 each. That funding is equity free and acts like a milestone based grant that can be split between the ‘host’ and the ‘innovator’ as they see fit.

And the best part – the program will help facilitate connections between ‘innovators’ and ‘hosts’ via matchmaking events to promote formation of partnerships. For most startups, that eliminates months (if not years) of cold-calling and precious business development resources.

Last week, 17 NYC-based ‘host’ organizations selected over 85 ‘innovators’ from NYC and all over the country whose products aligned with their needs. ‘Hosts’ included large provider groups like New York Presbyterian, Maimonides, Continuum Health Partners, Montefiore, academic institutions like Pace University and Weill Cornell Medical College, as well as the pharmaceutical company, Novartis. Over the course of two days of matchmaking held at the Alexandria Center for Life Science – NYC and at Blueprint Health in SoHo, 190 structured 15-minute meetings took place and brought a flurry of excitement to both sides. See photos from the events below.

Matchmaking Sessions, February 20 and 21, 2013

With the matchmaking completed, the hosts are tasked with selecting one or more companies to pilot with and applying jointly to the PILOT program by the May 27th deadline. Though, it should be noted that interested participants do not need to go through the formal matchmaking process to apply to the program. The up to $100,000 in funding will cover the cost of carrying out the pilot for both parties. That includes hours spent on implementing the pilot, allocating technical and non-technical resources, reporting on the results and more.

The PILOT organizers are excited to see the pilot proposals that come out of these matchmaking efforts both inside and outside the scope of the program. Apply now to take advantage of this unique opportunity to improve the health care system for New York City and beyond!

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