Health Tech Hatch Creates Site to Spur Startup Funding, Product Testing

A new crowd-funding site, Health Tech Hatch, will provide funding, mentorship and feedback for medical experts developing new companies and products in health IT.

A crowd-funding site called Health Tech Hatch has launched to allow health care IT leaders to seek funding for new companies and test new products for usability in clinical environments.

Crowd-funding is a method of using the Web to collect financial resources for initiatives such as startups, disaster relief, scientific research and product development.

"A health-sector-specific crowd-funding platform, such as Health Tech Hatch, allows health IT innovators to raise early money to get their innovations launched," Patricia Salber, CEO of Health Tech Hatch, told eWEEK in an email.

Health Tech Hatch aims to combine crowd-funding with mentoring from experts in the health care industry. The site will also rate prototypes and provide marketing support as entrepreneurs seek funding for their new health care IT ventures.

Launched on Oct. 8, Health Tech Hatch will provide a Web resource to seek input from medical experts, patients, wellness consumers and providers on new ideas. Providers may also include physical therapists, fitness trainers and nutritionists that Health Tech Hatch brings together.

"What differentiates Health Tech Hatch from other crowd-funding sites is our sole focus on health care projects, which we combine with expert feedback and mentorship," said Salber. "We've made it our mission to help young health and health tech companies build a viable nest for the brilliant ideas they are ready to hatch."

Health Tech Hatch was discussed as part of a session called "The New Bankroll: Novel Mechanisms to Fund a Health 2.0 Startup," at the Health 2.0 conference on Oct. 8 in San Francisco.

The company's leaders are founding members of the National Crowdfunding Association, a trade association formed in March 2012 to provide educational resources to crowd-funding professionals, portals, venture capital firms, attorneys, accountants and software vendors.

The leaders are from health plans, as well as the fields of disease management, population health and consumer engagement and empowerment.

"Our platform allows entrepreneurs and innovators to crowd-fund seed money to get started, thus allowing good ideas that might not have seen the light of day to 'hatch,'" said Salber. "Our mission is to help health care entrepreneurs move more rapidly to get their innovations into the hands of doctors and patients as quickly as possible."

Health Tech Hatch is working on a simulation model to allow testing of new products to begin, said Salber.

The site will provide networking opportunities to connect health IT innovators with early funding, she said.

Venture capital (VC) efforts are growing in health care IT, a July 23 Mercom report revealed. In the second quarter of 2012, VC funding in health care IT reached $293 million, according to the report.

The introduction of Health Tech Hatch follows the launch of another crowd-funding site for health care in July called MedStartr, which allows startup companies to market their products and raise capital.

Both Health Tech Hatch and MedStartr highlight new health care projects by highlighting the percentage of financial goals achieved, how much money venture capitalists have invested in each startup and how many days are left for a startup to achieve its financial goals. MedStartr's site also features videos for the new innovations.