Rock Health – A Model for Funding Health 2.0 Ideas

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Although happily being located in the heart of Europe, both Franz and I have spent a decent amount of the time in the US and it’s still great to see the innovation coming out of certain areas across the ocean.

One of the recent additions on the venture capital, incubator and tech funding game has been Rock Health. A pleasent and transparent alternative to chunky venture capital firms or other institutional investors and a self-proclaimed “seed accelerator for health apps”. The Rock Health approach is clear and understandable for people who are not so fundraising-savvy. The program is dedicated to entrepreneurs who want to build applications or products that are dedicated to solving health-related issues.

So if you are a young medical doctor, medical student or any other person who believes in technology and its capability to help improving health, then you should definitively have a look at what the fund offers.

At a glance

  • $20,000 startup grant to each team
  • Support from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation and Cincinnati Childrens Hospital
  • Mentorship and workshops from experts in design, health policy, lean startup methodology, financing, and more
  • Office space in Silicon Valley
  • Office hours with startup counsel lawyer Michael Esquivel and legal workshops with the Fenwick team
  • PR strategy and resources from Ballou PR
  • Support from our in-house staff (medical, branding, social, and strategy)
  • A passionate community of like-minded individuals solving meaningful problems

We, at MedCrunch, have been eagerly awaiting such a fund and model. It’s exciting to see people from all walks trying to tackle health with software applications. MedCrunch would seriously encourage, endorse and promote such a fund here in Europe as well, but we are not aware of one (are you?).

Comparable to Rock Health is Y Combinator, an incubation program founded by Paul Graham (who, by the way, has some of the greatest readings on startups, technology and investing on the web) and famous for bringing out some of the most efficient and fastest growing internet startups. Teams are being funded with money, network, office space and all that’s needed for the first several months to build an application. Then they are ideally released into the wild a.k.a. raising their first round of funding to help gain traction.

We’d be intersted in a more in depth look at their funding model, since some questions remain: At what valuations is the fund investing? Which stake of the company are they taking? Is it intended for an intertional audience or solely the Valley?

In any case, we are excited to this addition in the health 2.0 sphere and wish them all the best. We are so excited that eventually Franz and I would love to help build a similar accelerator model and investment vehicle in Europe. We are still far away from Rock Health’s professionalism, but nevertheless we look forward to hear more about your health startup at hello@medcrunch.net. At this point in time, we could at least help you with getting some media coverage, hook you up with our network of healthcare, technology or investment professionals or simply listen to your idea over a beer.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this great writeup!

    We wanted to answer some questions you had above:

    At what valuations is the fund investing? Which stake of the company are they taking?
    – We are providing GRANTS to startups, meaning we take no equity. Rock Health is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

    Is it intended for an intertional audience or solely the Valley?
    – International audience. However, we do require teams to be with us for the duration of the program.

    Please visit our FAQ to learn more! rockhealth.com/FAQ

  2. I am already trying to establish a similar idea for the UK National Health Service (see my recent blog in the BMJ(http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2011/04/01/david-kerr-angry-bird-medicine/).

    My idea is to begin with Diabetes and Technology. The NHS Ideas Incubation Centre would be for trainee clinicians to spend 1-2 years in the NIIC being mentored by clinicians, business and technology experts instead of the traditional period of “doing research”- clinical research outside of large Pharma funded studies is almost impossible nowadays.

    Hover there is o reason why it could not be a European Centre – lets talk?

    Professor David Kerr MD
    Managing Editor
    Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology

    Founder: VoyageMD.com

  3. Thanks for the feedback!

    Maybe you should communicate a bit clearer that it’s a public model and not affiliated with private investors – or is it a blend of both?

    If a non-US startup is eligible for the program, then under which Visa-conditions do the people work in the US? – This is something we weren’t able to find in your FAQs.

    Best
    Lukas (MedCrunch)

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