Healthcare Accelerators Evolve Towards Specialization

California-HealthCare-FoundationI am excited to announce that the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) has just published a report, authored by me, about the state of healthcare Accelerators in the U.S. and around the world. For those of you who don’t know CHCF, it is a very large not-for-profit endowment that has a mission to improve the quality, cost and efficiency of healthcare delivered to the underserved populations of California. In so doing, they also provide a very valuable educational service to the overall healthcare community and fund the creation of reports like this one about Accelerators.

The new report, entitled Survival of the Fittest: Healthcare Accelerators Evolve Towards Specialization is available for download HERE.

This report is intended to update the report that CHCF released two years ago entitled “Greenhouse Effect: How Accelerators are Seeding Digital Health Innovation” about the then emerging field of healthcare Accelerators.   I would have to say that two years later in 2014, these programs have definitely emerged.

In fact, there are now more than 115 healthcare dedicated Accelerators in the US and four other continents, nearly one for every Starbucks. Well, not quite, but the proliferation is profound. Here are some statistics for you (again, this is only healthcare accelerators; if we included all of the other kinds, I don’t think there would not be enough room on the Internet to describe them all):

  • 87% of the accelerators are in the US (76%) in 25 of the 50 states
  • 36% of the accelerators were in CA and 27% in NY, mirroring the distribution of the venture community to a large degree
  • 93% of the accelerators (82% of the total) are focused on digital health and health IT, while the balance span other healthcare sectors
  • 40 of the accelerators receive venture capital backing (35%)
  • 61 of the accelerators receive backing from large corporations (54%)

I am quite sure we didn’t find them all so these statistics are undoubtedly understated. If you click HERE  you will be able to go on the CHCF website and look at the list of Accelerators that were included in the report (to add up to the 115, I mean). CHCF intends to keep a running list so you can check back frequently to see who is out there, new, old and in-between.  If you want to add your Accelerator to the database because we missed it, you can do that now and HERE.  I am hoping we hear from the penguin health Accelerator in Antartica, as that is the one flavor we haven’t come across yet.

As the Accelerator world begins to mature, one can also now see the early signs of evolution similar to those that Darwin observed when looking at various forms of sea life way back in his day. Darwin noted that as species evolve, they must specialize and change or risk death, and we are seeing this very same thing play out on the Accelerator front. Given what I have seen in my recent travels, here is what I know for sure: if Darwin were alive today, there would probably be an Accelerator forming on The Beagle.

Lisa Suennen is a former partner with Psilos and on faculty at UC Berkeley.

3 replies »

  1. You got 130 diff accelerators to actually “crowdsource” themselves? I dont believe you!

    And dont worry Aaron Apodaca mentioned the Health 2.0 Accelerator (which he ran with Julie) in the previous report…

    And the question remains, did we need more trees in teh first place (or was it more copses, or was it more foresters or woodland areas, or clear cutting, or…well you get my analogy problem)

  2. Ah Matthew, who knew you would pay such attention? Yes, Health Box has 6 separate ones as they are managed separately, have separate selection processes, sponsors, etc. Sorry about the lack of mention of Accelerators past, even if it wasn’t an accelerator. All of the ones in the report list that you downloaded put themselves in there when we crowdsourced the list, so they must think of themselves as such.

    If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to accelerate it, does it still hit the ground at the same speed? Who the hell knows. Guess we will find out in a few years!

  3. So you goaded me into it,. Lisa and I downloaded the list. There’s a lot of double counting in that accelerator list (HealthBox is 6 separate ones?) and a bunch of things in there that don’t meet the criteria of accelerators (for instance NYC Pilot Health Tech aint one, as the guy who’s company manages it I feel relatively confident saying that!)

    And no mention of the original health tech accelerator, the Health 2.0 Accelerator (Julie Murchinson at the helm) even if it wasnt an accelerator either by any stretch of the current concept (like about 20% on that list!

    But the question remains. If 800+ companies had already applied to speak at Health 2.0 BEFORE 2010 and the birth of Rock Health et al. Did we need one in the first place (let alone 123 or whatever there actually are)?