Accelerator Feature: GuideWell Innovation

We spoke to Guidewell Innovation consultant Danielle Davis. Guidewell Innovation is a startup accelerator headquartered in Orlando Florida’s Lake Nona Medical City at the GuideWell Innovation CoRE (Collaborative Resources Ecosystem).

Give an overview of GuideWell Innovation and its focus.

GuideWell Innovation, a subsidiary of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, drives collaborative innovation for the family of forward-thinking companies that make up GuideWell. They include the leading health insurance company in Florida, a number of healthcare delivery businesses, a consumer engagement company, a provider of administrative services to state and federal healthcare programs, and a leader in risk adjustment and population care management.


The Health+Accel 2017 program is focused on solutions for Aging Well; the idea that healthy living and increased longevity can be achieved without sacrificing independence or autonomy. Aging Well solutions allow individuals to age with dignity on their own terms and remain in the homes and communities of their choice for as long as possible.

Why Florida?

Florida has one of the largest senior populations in the country and projections show the aging population dramatically increasing over the next several years, making the state a prime market for innovative Aging Well solutions. GuideWell is looking for innovative solutions to address the unique needs of this population to improve care and reduce costs. That said, GuideWell’s companies serve nearly 18 million people in 12 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.


Similarly, while our Health+Accel event is taking place in Florida at our GuideWell Innovation CoRE in Orlando. We are accepting applications from entrepreneurs across the country and even internationally. We hope to bring together the best, most innovative solutions with no limits on geography.

How does your program work and what do you hope to accomplish with companies going through it?

Health+Accel is a one-week intensive workshop taking place October 30 to November 3 at the GuideWell Innovation CoRE located in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City. During the first four days, entrepreneurs will obtain insight into the dynamic needs and relationships between insurers and providers, discover unique opportunities within the space and explore best practices from experienced industry leaders. Health+Accel will conclude on Friday, November 3, with a pitch competition where entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to pitch their aging well solutions to health executives, investors, and business leaders. A $20,000 cash prize will be awarded for the winning pitch.

Key Benefits of Participation:

  • Present to GuideWell decision makers, key executives at Florida Blue, angel investors, and leaders in health care.
  • One-on-one coaching with business experts in health care to fine-tune your business model.
  • Personal introductions to key influencers and investors from health care companies such as Florida Blue.
  • Introductions and coaching with entrepreneurs who have successfully entered the healthcare market.
  • Easy application process and personal assistance completing your application.
  • $20,000 cash prize and private session with GuideWell executive leadership for winner; travel stipend for everyone.

Since starting, what have you learned that works well and what doesn’t?


While simply getting on stage and pitching in front of investors does help provide visibility for healthcare startups, we have found that facilitating strong relationships with strategic executives within healthcare organizations leads to better outcomes. Relationships are critical for both entrepreneurs and the large healthcare organizations looking to solve complex business challenges. Our program hopes to provide both visibility and forge new relationships to create more business opportunity.


What is in store for you over the next 6 months?


We’re in the middle of our application process, which is phase one of the four phases of our program that ends in November.


Phase 1

  • June – August 2017
  • Application Process

Phase 2

  • August – September 2017
  • Participant Selection

Phase 3

  • October 30 – November 2, 2017
  • Health+Accel Workshop

Phase 4

  • November 3, 2017
  • Pitch Day

What is one piece of advice you can give to startups, given how many you meet and work with?

A strong value proposition is really important. Your value proposition should not be complicated, it should be simple and easy to understand.


Essentially, when you pitch your product to a potential customer or investor, you should be able to convey the value clearly in just a few sentences. Someone should be able to understand what the problem is you are trying to solve and how your product specifically solves the problem within the first few minutes of learning about your product.

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