Next Things First

Why Seattle? A few thoughts on the Health Care Technology Network… by Rob Coppedge

A few weeks ago, my colleagues at iMedExchange hosted the first meeting of the Health Care Technology Network. It was a remarkable event, especially considering that given the local density of health care-oriented start-ups this was the first time we had all had the excuse to be at the same table.

I was asked to speak about why I chose to move to Seattle to set up Faultline Ventures (if you are inteersted in reading more about the event and my comments, iMedExchange blogs about the event here).

Despite the crticial mass of resources in this region (human capital, entrepreneurial culture, academia, innovative payor and provider organizations, etc), there was broad agreement that it is difficult (if not impossible) to raise venture capital for health care companies locally.  One of the most interesting comments of the evening came from the CEO of an early stage company that is actively raising money and has intentionally positioned itself in the software as a service industry (not health care) with potential investors… because there are more of them.

The sheer number of innovative early stage health care companies in the region should be enough to draw outside capital to the region (it is why we moved here)…and I believe capital it is the last key ingredient needed for this regional cluster to see explosive growth… but with the lack of new investment activity by exisiting funds it is unclear that the venture market will (or can) respond to the opportunity.

If the Health Care Technology Network catches on as a formal group for regular networking (and potentially the promotion of the opportunities in this cluster) it could help the cause of attracting capital. It could certainly provide an platform for raising awareness of companies operating in this region. The most successful organization of this type, the Nashville Health Care Council, has succeeded in bringing cohesion and a professional framework to the Nashville market place.

As someone said at the first  meeting of the Network: “Seattle is a brand”. Now, for those of us in the health care business,  we need to make sure we agree on what that brand is conveying to our industry and begin turning up the volume.

(By the way, visit some of the very interesting companies in attendance at the first meeting of the Network:  iMedExchange, Array Health Solutions, Clarity Health Services, Health Phone Solutions, Health Unity, Limeade, QTrait, Raffetto Herman and SnapForSeniors.)
Posted by RobC