IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of Healthbox

IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of Healthbox

December 7, 2016

As the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) expands, the advantages increase for new and current members, both in networking and in the opportunity to utilize the many services of the association. The latest new member is Healthbox, a unique five year old healthcare industry accelerator and investor fund, that also helps their clients create better and more cost effective innovation strategies.
 
The following is a Q&A profile with Healthbox, which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.
 
New Member: Healthbox
Representative: Stephanie Paine, CFO
 
IVCA: What is the background of Healthbox?
 
Healthbox: Healthbox was launched in 2011 as an accelerator aimed at helping entrepreneurs navigate the healthcare industry and grow successful businesses. Through our accelerator business, we invested in over 90 companies, and we still manage the 11 microfunds that resulted from our accelerators. 
 
We also manage a custom $35M fund for a large hospital system. Our business has evolved in recent years to encompass a consulting offering.  In this capacity, we work with leading healthcare organizations to advance innovation strategies that support a culture of idea generation, business creation and entrepreneurial collaboration in order to drive sustainable impact.  
 
IVCA: Given your focus on furthering innovation in healthcare, what trends in these have become increasingly prevalent as the organization turns five years old?
 
Healthbox: The gap between healthcare systems and healthcare entrepreneurs is becoming wider.  Healthcare systems are inundated with entrepreneurs trying to pitch their solutions, so they become paralyzed and entrepreneurs can't gain traction.  For those that do gain traction, the sales cycle is incredibly long. The rest simply don't make it. As investors, we are forced to be more patient with our portfolio companies.  We are privileged to work with some of the best health systems in the country, and through these relationships we have gained a deeper understanding of what types of solutions stick, helping us become more comfortable taking bets and waiting for traction.
 
IVCA: Healthbox began shortly after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. How did that Act affect your approach to your core procedures, and do you see yet another readjustment if the ACA is repealed?
 
Healthbox: The ACA effectively propelled Healthbox into existence because of the explosion in digital health entrepreneurship.  The 'train has left the station' so to speak with respect to value-based care, and if the ACA is repealed, the challenges we foresee will be related to declining health system financial health placing greater emphasis on solutions that can prove ROI.
 
IVCA: Of the companies you have worked with to transform, what success story stands out, both for the reduction of costs and the creation of efficiencies?
 
Healthbox: NurseGrid is a company that we’re particularly excited about right now. They offer benefits to both nurses and nurse managers – nurses can use the platform to quickly and easily upload their shifts and also facilitate swaps with other nurses in their units. Nurse managers can oversee these swaps but also easily adjust their staffing levels to align with their needs, improving efficiency and reducing costs. They’re growing very rapidly and we’re excited to support them as they continue to do so. 
 
IVCA: In the current state of healthcare in America, how can care providers and patients do more to understand the needs of each other, and how does that interaction create the marketplace of ideas that is Healthbox?
 
Healthbox: Forward thinking providers are beginning to treat patients as consumers who have choices, but this trend is not moving quickly enough. Providers need to place greater emphasis on listening to patients – for example, Geisinger Health Plan does a great job – and patients need to understand that change takes time and thus they should have a little empathy. The tighter the feedback loop is between patients and providers, the greater the potential for idea generation.
 
IVCA: What does Healthbox hope to achieve in their interaction with the IVCA?
 
Healthbox: We think it is important to stay abreast of developments that impact the Venture Capital community at a national level and within Illinois. We also enjoy the educational programming that the IVCA offers.
 
For more information on Healthbox, go to www.Healthbox.com