Starting A Women-Led Healthcare Or Life Science Startup?
By Joshua Henderson (Director of Programming, Springboard Enterprises)
Several weeks ago, I wrote about resources available to high-growth, women-led companies.
Besides missing a few important organizations like SmartGirlsWay, NewME Accelerator, Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, BlogHer Entrepreneurs and ACTiVATE, I said that we wanted to partner with non women-focused groups/events to champion more women through the funnel from idea to startup to exit.
So when I saw that six companies in the latest TechStars NY batch are led by women, including Springboard alumna Payal Kadakia of Classtivity, it got me excited about bringing attention to other groups like TechStars that are doing great things to support women-led companies too!
We’re now recruiting at Springboard through April 3, 2012 for our own accelerator program which is designed to support and promote companies led by women with innovations across the entire spectrum of healthcare and life sciences (we’ll focus on the digital media and tech world later starting in mid-April).
For 11 years we’ve followed a simple recipe for success: recruit great companies seeking funding and partnerships, screen and select the most promising ones, surround them with a “Personal Advisory Board” of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and industry veterans from our Springboard community and hustle like crazy to tee them up to pitch in front of the right potential partners and check-writers.
But since we’ll only pick a small number of companies for our 2012 life science forum program, we know we can’t help everyone even though we’d love to. So for those that aren’t the right fit for Springboard, I thought I’d share some resources and opportunities available to women entrepreneurs in the life science industry (full disclosure: many of them are Springboard Pipeline Partners).
If you were thinking of recommending someone for our program, you still should! But make sure they check out all of these other groups as well -
In the growing health IT space, there’s no shortage of opportunities:
Health 2.0 has distinguished itself as a go-to innovation community, conference and media platform focused on the technology-meets-health sector. You’ll also find a number of great seed-stage accelerators focused on this vertical, groups like Blueprint Health (in NYC recruiting for its summer program right now), Rock Health (in San Francisco, which thanks to Halle Tecco and her team has been a breeding ground for great women-led startups like Cake Health and Skimble, among others), Healthbox (in Chicago, which is uniquely positioned to tap into the incredible healthcare resources in the Midwest and counts Sandbox Industries’ Nina Nashif as a co-founder), and StartupHealth (which just announced the first class of Health and Wellness startups that will go through their academy).
In the biotechnology space:
Entrepreneurs will find an amazing partner in Women in Bio, which is spreading like wildfire across the country and globe to convene entrepreneurs and industry experts in this space. There are also great things happening at a local level in this sector: incubators are popping up to provide shared lab space like in Brooklyn under Eva Cramer’s leadership; regional groups like the San Jose Biocenter and Massachusetts Life Science Center are running programming that make me wish I could be in two places at once; and I’m constantly impressed with the things happening in the Midwest with organizations like BioEnterprise, iBIO Institute, MichBio, KansasBio and down in Texas at BioHouston to connect the dots within local biotech communities.
Devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, drug development platforms, and everyone across the broadly-defined healthcare industry:
Check out Investors’ Circle (and their rolling admissions), Women Leaders in Health Sciences and Technology (currently in Boston, NYC, Seattle and the Bay Area), Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (Cambridge), MassChallenge (a truly global competition and accelerator), Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (national), and NYC Health Business Leaders.
Among the big industry conferences:
You can count Kauffman’s Life Science Ventures Summit (June in San Francisco), BIO (June in Boston), Biotech Showcase and OneMedForum (January in San Francisco), Life Sciences Summit (Fall in NYC), ADVAMED (October in Boston), mHealth Summit (December in Washington, DC) and HIMSS (next March in New Orleans). I’m sure I’m missing many others..
If you’re trying to keep up on industry news and you’ve already read all of the articles here on Women 2.0, you’ll want to check out Disruptive Women in Healthcare, mobihealthnews, Mobile Healthcare Today, MedCity, Healing Innovation, Xconomy’s Life Sciences and Health IT channels, and the trio of FierceBiotech / FierceHealthIT / FierceMedicalDevices. Make sure you leave time for building your company.
Let me know who I missed. And if you’re with a high-growth, women-led company or know of one doing interesting things in the healthcare and life science arena, let me know and I will see how we can help.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Joshua Henderson is Director of Programming at Springboard Enterprises, and irrationally committed (hat tip to Seth Godin) to supporting, promoting, coaching and connecting high-growth, women-led businesses. Joshua runs forum programs and manages the relationships between the entrepreneurs, investors, coaches, external partners and corporate connections in the Springboard community. Follow him on Twitter at @SpringboardEnt.