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Independence Blue Cross, Penn Medicine Announce Philadelphia Health Care Accelerator

DreamIt Health seeks 10 startup companies for 4-month program

Philadelphia, PA – Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and Penn Medicine (The University of Pennsylvania Health System) today announced that they are teaming up with DreamIt Ventures to sponsor the first-ever Philadelphia-based health care “accelerator,” an organization that will jump start new companies developing innovative solutions in health care. Designed to help promising health care startups rapidly accelerate the development of new products and high impact business models, the accelerator will provide cash, guidance from experienced health care executives and entrepreneurs, office space, and more to 10 young companies selected for a four-month boot camp.

This collaboration marks the first time a leading health insurer and a leading health care provider have come together to offer entrepreneurs the resources they need to capitalize on emerging health care opportunities.

The accelerator is named DreamIt Health, powered by IBC and Penn Medicine.

DreamIt Health will accept applications from today through February 8 from startups nationwide in the health care sector, and on March 8 will select 10 early-stage companies that have strong founders, innovative products or services, and entrepreneurial passion to participate. During the four-month boot camp, from April to July 2013, the companies will work in space at Venturef0rth in Philadelphia, whose offices are specifically designed to house and support startup companies.

The accelerator will give each selected company a stipend of up to $50,000 plus in-depth mentoring, coaching from experts, and access to other critical health care-specific resources to rapidly develop and test its product, validate its business model with potential customers, and get the company organized and ready to pitch to investors. The program will culminate in a “demo day” when the 10 companies will present their businesses to an audience of leading investors and health care organizations.

“At Independence Blue Cross, we believe that innovation is the key to bringing fresh ideas into health care and truly changing the game,” said IBC President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. “From the IBX Game Changers Challenge to creating DreamIt Health, we are committed to transforming the Philadelphia region into a national magnet for health care innovation, investment, and employment.”

As the Philadelphia region’s leading health insurer and leading health system, respectively, IBC and Penn Medicine are uniquely positioned to provide contacts, a potential customer’s perspective, and resources like access to data and technology that health care startups need to succeed.

“We are deeply committed to translating strategies from discovery to application in clinical practice,” stated University of Pennsylvania Health System CEO Ralph Muller. “Through the partnership of Penn Medicine and IBC on DreamIt Health, we have established a collaborative relationship between the health insurer and the health system, eliminating the usual obstacles to health care innovation.”

With DreamIt’s unparalleled network of mentors and its proven curriculum that guides the growth of young technology companies, participants in the accelerator will have the opportunity to rapidly build out their products and services using claims and clinical data as well as other resources. By acquiring potential customer validation, participating companies will be able to accelerate their progress toward raising capital and launching to a broader marketplace. DreamIt has launched 80 companies over the past four years (15 more in Philadelphia in the current session) who have raised over $80 million in follow-on investment capital with an enterprise value of close to $330 million.

The accelerator encourages applications from companies nationwide that take a broad view of working across the health care industry, including health insurers, physicians, hospitals, and others in the health care industry, to apply technology to the challenges of proactively keeping people healthy, as well as providing more effective and affordable interventions when people get sick. The accelerator seeks applicants nationwide that “think big” and want to take advantage of the resources that come with this unique collaboration among a health insurer, a health system, and DreamIt.

Some of the innovative ideas that the DreamIt Health accelerator is interested in include:

  • connectivity solutions that enable patients, health insurers, hospitals, physicians, other health care professionals, and employers to share data and collaborate in new ways;
  • new applications for large-scale data analytics in health care using claims, clinical data, and other information to drive wellness and optimize interventions to treat illness;
  • improving medical treatments by standardizing diagnostics and intervention using best practices;
  • novel health delivery models, especially focusing on the patient/member experience;
  • consumer and patient engagement tools;
  • better management of handoffs among different health care professionals by making sure that there is seamless transition of care and record-keeping;
  • health insurance marketing: direct to consumer and exchanges;
  • remote monitoring of patients and telehealth solutions.

Applications to participate in DreamIt Health are being accepted from today through February 8, 2013, at

“We want to apply the same spirit of collaboration that enabled us to create this accelerator with Penn Medicine and DreamIt across the health care, technology, and innovation fields, and transform the Philadelphia region into a magnet for innovative health care technology and entrepreneurs from across the country,” stated Hilferty.

About Penn Medicine
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $479.3 million awarded in the 2011 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania — recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital — the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2011, Penn Medicine provided $854 million to benefit our community.

About DreamIt Ventures

DreamIt Ventures is a pre-seed stage accelerator, with the goal of helping great people with great ideas build great companies. DreamIt was founded in 2007 by three successful technology entrepreneurs who wanted to create the same type of opportunities that they were fortunate to have had themselves for the next wave of entrepreneurs. Since then DreamIt has launched 80 companies including SCVNGR, SeatGeek, Postling, Notehall (acquired by Chegg), CloudMine, Parsely, AppAddictive, TidalLabs, Let’s Gift It, Spling, LearnBop, Easel, ElectNext, MindSnacks, SupplyHog, Take The Interview, and Adaptly. The DreamIt Health program will be co-led by Karen Griffith Gryga, Managing Partner of DreamIt Ventures.

About Venturef0rth

Venturef0rth provides tech startups and early-stage companies a physical home in Philadelphia designed for coworking and collaboration, a community of peers, operational support, and guidance from entrepreneurs-in-residence. It also serves as a venue for events at the intersection of entrepreneurship, technology and design. Venturef0rth was founded and is managed by three successful entrepreneurs driven to accelerate the success of the region’s emerging tech titans. Elliot Menschik, M.D. Ph.D., will co-lead the program. Dr. Menschik’s last company, HxTechnologies was a pioneer in medical imaging and health information exchange and was acquired by MEDecision, the health IT subsidiary of Health Care Service Corporation.

Media contacts:

Judimarie Thomas
Independence Blue Cross
215-241-2227 (office)

Susan Phillips
Penn Medicine

Tim Spreitzer
215-790-4417 (office)