PILOT Health Tech NYC Matches Startups with NYC Health Care Service Organizations


Let’s face it, as a startup in the health care space, it’s not easy to land a first pilot to demonstrate the value your new technology, much less get paid for one. Strict federal regulations, billion dollar EMR implementations, and the fear of privacy leaks have made our nation’s providers very risk averse and extremely cautious about working with early stage health tech companies. Implementing new technologies in hospitals is extremely difficult for early stage startups: there are strict IT guidelines relating to ensuring patient data privacy, and these institutions tend to be heavily bureaucratic. Large hospital systems and other health care service organizations simply do not have the bandwidth or resources to guide companies through these challenges and therefore are reluctant to partner with early stage companies.

The result is a problem with which we are all too familiar: the failure of new technologies to enter into the market. Startups face the classic chicken and egg scenario. As a startup, you need some traction, or proof of evidence that your technology brings some value to your customers. But in order to do that, a startup needs to test out the technology in the health care setting. Houston, we have a problem!

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), a non-profit that aims to catalyze economic growth in New York City’s five boroughs, recognized this problem early on and decided to tackle it head-on by launching PILOT Health Tech NYC in collaboration with Health 2.0, Blueprint Health, and Startup Health. PILOT Health Tech NYC matches early-stage health care technology companies (‘innovators’) with key NYC health care service organizations or individuals (‘hosts’), including hospitals, physician clinics, payors, pharma companies, and nursing associations. NYCEDC will fund approximately 10 innovative NYC-based pilot projects with up to $100,000 each. That funding is equity-free and acts like a milestone-based grant that can be split between the ‘host’ and the ‘innovator’ as they see fit.

And the best part – the program will help facilitate connections between ‘innovators’ and ‘hosts’ via matchmaking events to promote formation of partnerships. For most startups, that eliminates months (if not years) of cold-calling and precious business development resources.

Last week, 17 NYC-based ‘host’ organizations selected over 85 ‘innovators’ from NYC and all over the country whose products align with their needs. ‘Hosts’ included large provider groups like New York Presbyterian, Maimonides, Continuum Health Partners, and Montefiore; academic institutions like Pace University and Weill Cornell Medical College, as well as the pharmaceutical company, Novartis. Over the course of two days of matchmaking held at the Alexandria Center for Life Science – NYC and at Blueprint Health in SoHo, 190 structured 15-minute meetings took place and brought a flurry of excitement from both sides.

With the matchmaking completed, the hosts are tasked with selecting one or more companies to pilot with and applying jointly to the PILOT program by the May 27th deadline. (NOTE: interested participants do not need to go through the formal matchmaking process to apply to the program.) The up to $100,000 in funding will cover the cost of carrying out the pilot program for both parties. That includes hours spent on implementing the program, allocating technical and non-technical resources, reporting on the results and more.

The PILOT organizers are excited to see the pilot proposals that come out of these matchmaking efforts. Apply now to take advantage of this unique opportunity to improve the health care system in New York City and beyond!

Interested in healthtech in New York?

About the author: Hemali Thakkar

Hemali Thakkar is a Harvard-educated entrepreneur and health enthusiast with a never-ending wanderlust.

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