Which Health Incubator Should You Apply To?

Health startups are emerging in high numbers this year and it’s no surprise.  The health tech space is booming with new advances in HTML5, mobile health, and social media.  But with the economic downturn, it’s hard to go out on your own without funding or guidance.  But there’s help.  Over the past year, four startup incubators have surfaced offering a mentoring program specific to health technology entrepreneurs.  But, which one should you apply to? Here’s a breakdown of each accelerator and their offerings:

Rock Health

  • $20,000 grant awarded
  • no equity is asked in return
  • best for companies early stage and pre-VC funding
  • companies focused on web and mobile apps preferred
  • mentorship from successful entrepreneurs
  • weekly workshops in design, health policy, lean startup, financing, etc
  • office space is provided in San Francisco (you must move there)
  • access hours to legal counsel
  • access hours to Cooper Design
  • demo days are organized for you to launch to investors
  • the program is 5 months long
  • 2 programs per year
  • Rock Health is the most experienced incubator of the four having launched the first

Startup Health

  • a small amount of equity is required
  • startups at any stage are accepted
  • access to their database of clinicians and businessmen ready to join health startups
  • discount services on vital business products such as hosting, design, etc
  • you don’t have to move anywhere
  • weekly 90 minute workshops are held online
  • quarterly full day workshops in new york city
  • multiple demo days are held for you to pitch to customers such as hospitals, doctors, and businesses, in addition to investors
  • the program is 36 months long
  • rolling admission means you can apply anytime and start whenever there are 10 startups selected
  • the first class will start early 2012

Blueprint Health

  • $20,000 cash awarded
  • 6% equity in return
  • best for companies ready to go from idea to product
  • mentorship from successful entrepreneurs
  • office space is provided in New York City (you must move there)
  • free legal counseling
  • financial consulting
  • human resources support
  • demo days are organized for you to pitch to investors
  • the program is 3 months long
  • the first class will start in January 2012


  • $50,000 awarded per team
  • 7% equity in return
  • startups at any age are accepted
  • any field of health from consumer to pharma can apply
  • mentorship from successful entrepreneurs
  • office space is provided in Chicago (you must move there)
  • demo days are organized for pitching to investors
  • the program is 3 months long
  • the first class will start in January 2012

Each program has their advantages and disadvantages.  Take a step back and think about your idea, product, or company.  Are you more design focused with web 2.0 style?  Rock Health is a good fit.  Does your product cater to the life sciences or pharmaceutical companies?  Healthbox has some successful mentors in that arena.  Can’t pick up and move to a new city?  Startup Health says you don’t have to.  Have an idea but not a prototype?  Blueprint Health will get you there in 3 months.

Whichever you decide, it’s an admirable endeavor with great potential.  I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you launch at Demo Days.

Dr. Thuc Huynh is CEO of ScrubdIN, a startup company that aims to help health professionals choose their next medical app. Her main interest lies around how medicine can play a role with web 2.0 and social media. This post first appeared at Medicine and Technology.com

4 replies »

  1. We have found different varieties of health care opportunities to overcome from our health care problems; programs those are quite beneficial to deal with low health care situations and serve a quality health care service in front of us. We have found a mixed review on every health care reform programs but in reality health care reform decides our health care future.

  2. There is lot of value ADD to the incubator/accelerator programs. They provide excellent guidance, and resources for your business to succeed.
    I have applied to StartupHealth, I hope to get accepted.

  3. Aren’t these “incubators” really more accurately promotions for rental real estate? Who’s moving, even a few miles, for a lousy $20-50 grand?

    Color me highly skeptical