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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Incubator Feature:

We spoke with, an incubator founded in 2012 by Minnesota healthcare entrepreneurs, about their work to create innovation in the healthcare industry. We love how they have invested in their community and pursued their goal of creating a vibrant Minnesota healthcare technology ecosystem with passion.

Give readers a few sentence overview of and its focus. is an all-inclusive healthcare community that aims to provide a space for passionate healthcare innovators and thinkers. We are part of a thriving ecosystem that is on the path to establishing Minnesota as a healthcare innovation capital.

Why Minnesota?

A healthy, educated, and growing population of innovators and thinkers provides a talent pipeline for our strength in healthcare research. Institutions such as Mayo Clinic, our local universities, and larger corporate sponsors provide an environment for a thriving ecosystem. We like to think of ourselves as the Silicon Valley of healthcare!

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

We aim to program events that cater to the desires, need, and interests of our members. We also aim to connect healthcare innovators to other people they might be interested in meeting – thus fostering and driving network growth and camaraderie.

Since starting, what have you learned that works well and what doesn’t? is a dynamic, living community of individuals. Staying in touch with our membership has allowed us to develop our program with them in mind. Feedback, participation and cooperation have allowed us to keep our events relevant and well attended.

What is in store over the next 6 months?

Soon we will be launching our own Minnesota database, mapping out the healthcare ecosystem within Minnesota. We also plan to help raise awareness around the burgeoning Minnesota HealthTech scene.

Our Minnesota database is the big project right now as we try to map our the healthcare ecosystem within Minnesota. In addition to that we are looking to host additional events during Twin Cities Start-Up Week (TCSW) as they expand their healthcare track.

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

The two most important things – passion and sustainability. The product or service needs to be based off an intrinsic passion and desire to make the healthcare space better. Passion coupled with a business model that takes sustainability — both financially and operationally — seriously, is crucial. Know your market and stick with that, 50 people who love you and will pay more for your products can create an effective and sustainable model. 500 people who only like you, but demand lower prices cannot.

What is the state of data in healthcare, as you see it? What opportunities do you see?

Data is transforming life and the world as we know it today – not just in healthcare. The challenges lie in understanding how to incorporate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in everyday life. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding AI and ML, and hesitance to accept complete reliance on a non-human entity. What the healthcare industry, and all other industries for that matter, need to figure out, is how to coexist with AI and ML and use it augment or provide efficiency in day to day work. Essentially, data allows us to fine tune the work we do; if applied correctly, it can help us transcend healthcare to reach wider populations, with lesser costs, eventually leading to a healthier society.

Are there any books you have read you’d like to recommend?

The Emperor of All Maladies – While not exactly startup-centric, this is a fascinating look at the history of medicine and progress through the lens of cancer treatment. Parts medicine, anthropology, history and science.

Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Medical Breakthroughs – Must-read book on medical development and how breakthroughs actually come about.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink- Best book on leadership I’ve read in a long time.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – An amazing read on the indicators of success and how we think about the lives successful people lead. Points out that the reasons for why some people thrive or make the most of their potential often has to do with their immediate environment, and less to do with intrinsic qualities as a person.

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Incubator Feature: SixThirty

This week we had the chance to sit down with SixThirty Incubator: an exciting non-profit healthcare incubator based out of Pasadena, California.  We are particularly impressed by SixThirty’s focus on data-driven solutions in helping young companies succeed in healthcare tech.

Check out our interview below where we learn about the incubator itself, some of the companies they’re helping get off the ground, and their advice to young entrepreneurs.

Give readers a few sentence overview of your organization and its focus.

SixThirty Incubator is a non-profit healthcare incubator designed to help young technology companies overcome the unique challenges facing data-driven solutions. We help startups that use technologies such as machine learning/artificial intelligence, internet-of-things (IoT), virtual reality, and more.

The incubator program is designed to help budding entrepreneurs build their businesses and address the structural challenges faced by healthcare start-ups — regulatory processes, privacy regulations, and mass data acquisition. As a member of the healthcare innovation community, we also host industry and functional programs to support innovation in Healthcare and Data Science.

Why Los Angeles / Pasadena (Southern California)?

Southern California is a hub of US healthcare innovation and also the location of many headquarters of healthcare companies and institutes. Coincidentally, the LA-metro area has one of the largest data science communities in the nation–a hotspot for data experts and the faculty/graduates of prestigious local universities. We believe that Southern California is the perfect place to connect healthcare with data and we complement our footprint with satellite offices in Germany and China.

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

SixThirty is a true incubator: We are founded by technologists who are passionate about bringing advanced data technologies into healthcare.

Given our nonprofit nature, we don’t ask for fees or equity, but are quite selective about the type of company that we work with. We want to support early-stage ideas that are technologically sound, and entrepreneurs who have an interest in solving challenges in healthcare and improving the quality of care on a global scale.

Our ultimate goal is to unleash the potential of next-generation healthcare technologies.

What has been done to date?

Prior to becoming an incubator, SixThirty focused on developing open data standards for city governments. We worked with several health agencies, including LA County Department of Public Health, to build standards for healthcare open data. We have also hosted conferences and meetups that facilitate collaborations in standardizing open data.

In January 2017, SixThirty received IRS tax exemption status and opened it’s doors to the first cohort of start-ups. Our incubator program is established — a beautiful innovation space in Pasadena; a board of accomplished mentors and advisors; and business partnerships in US, Asia, and Europe.

Tell us about any companies you have worked with to date or have in the queue.

Semioe ( is a healthcare device startup in Beijing. As the name suggests, Semioe focuses on building semantic IoE (Internet of Everything) for healthcare. It builds an ecosystem of connected medical devices that monitors every aspect of a patient’s health and integrates the data into a specialized AI chat-bot system that learns from the individual knowledge of each doctor. The goal of Semioe is to reduce the time doctors spend on repetitive works by 90%, so they can focus on delivering actual values.

KeyReply ( is a startup in Singapore. Its general A.I. chat-bot system automates customer services, specifically for government agencies and healthcare organizations.

Epilepsy Care Labs is developing a nighttime seizure monitor for kids. For parents of a child with epilepsy, knowing if their child is having a seizure at night is a huge challenge. We are here to solve that challenge so parents can sleep with peace of mind.”

Spottr A.I. ( is the first US-based company to be a part of the incubator. is developing a computer vision platform that automatically calculates orthopedic diagnostic measures to support diagnosis and surgical planning.

What is in store over the next 6 months?

We have a handful of great events planned for the coming months:

  1. Article Series — A structural deep-dive into the features of the healthcare industry that must be to allow innovation. Each article is co-authored by a recognized industry expert (many of whom serve as SixThirty advisors and mentors). Our focus is in the integration of data and healthcare, particularly in the current opportunities and challenges facing the healthcare space, trends in healthcare data technologies, access to data, and solutions to regulatory challenges.
  2. Industry Conference — “AI-Driven Smart Cities: Transforming Healthcare with Data.” This conference is a bridge between healthcare experts and data scientists. It will bring together healthcare professionals, civic leaders, data experts, and entrepreneurs to discuss how we can best use data technologies to address challenges in healthcare. We will also host a startup demo session that features healthcare + data startups. (November 3, 2017 at the Midtown LA Radisson Hotel)
  3. Innovate Healthcare Hackathon — We just co-hosted the first Innovate Healthcare Hackathon with Healthcare Futurists in Germany. It is an international-scale hackathon that describes current challenges in healthcare in detail and invite entrepreneurs to solve these challenges with digital health solutions. We plan to host the next event in January 2018.

What is one piece of advice you like to give startups?

If you’re passionate and equipped to address a challenge, then get your prototype out to users as soon as possible and start iterating on your design!

If you look hard enough any idea has been tried before — don’t let that question be the seed of doubt. In reality, first-movers only have any meaningful advantage where they can lock up an industry (e.g., with platform network effects).

Are there any books you have read you’d like to recommend?

The Alchemist is a fun read and an amazing litmus test for anyone questioning her own progress towards achieving her “personal legend.”

The Founder’s Dilemmas is one of the most popular business books out there, and a must-read for any first-time entrepreneur. It addresses the early challenges that faces all startups.

Zero in a bit on the state of data in healthcare — the opportunity as you see it.

Data-driven solutions address two increasingly important challenges of the healthcare industry — ballooning costs and projected shortage of healthcare resources. These solutions have the potential to not only improve patient outcomes but also liberate doctors from all of the tasks that prevent them from spending more time devoted to patient results.

Particularly as the US healthcare is moving from fee-for-service to value-based model, home-based care and reduction in readmission are becoming more important, so is the use of data collected from hospitals, at home, and on our arms. Healthcare data applications enable opportunities, particularly in real-time quantified-self, personalized care and medicine, enhanced diagnostic solutions, and augmented interactions between patients and doctors.

We believe that the keys to unlocking these opportunities are better access to data, widely-accepted standardization of healthcare open data and medical IoT data, and developing the right strategy to address regulatory obstacles.

Tell us a little about what’s going on in the USC ecosystem with respect to startups.

We have certainly witnessed USC’s effort in building an ecosystem to support innovation and entrepreneurship, from the classroom level to collaboration among departments and schools.

USC encourages cross-school collaborations. For example, the Keck School of Medicine has a joint program with the Viterbi School of Engineering, called HTE (Healthcare, Technology, Engineering) to promote technology innovation in healthcare. USC has also established a number of programs to help entrepreneurs through the different stages of a startup, including USC Incubator, Blackstone Launchpad, Viterbi Startup Garage, and USC Troy Ventures.

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