Blueprint Health, New Incubator in NYC, Looks to Nurture Health IT Startups

10/3/11Follow @arleneweintraub

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five mentors, who will help the entrepreneurs work out sales strategies and establish the contacts they need to move forward.

Blueprint’s mentors represent a who’s-who of health-business leaders, such as Frederic Zussa, director of worldwide innovation and strategy for Pfizer, and Ben Haywood, co-founder of PatientsLikeMe. Another mentor, Oliver Kharrza, is the co-founder of one of NYC’s biggest health-tech success stories, ZocDoc, which has raised $95 million for its service that allows patients to book doctors’ appointments online.

Several VC firms are lending mentors to the Blueprint program, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, HLM Venture Partners, and Spark Capital. Each startup will receive $20,000 in seed funding, and Blueprint will take a 6 percent ownership stake in the new companies (similar to the TechStars model).

Blueprint is the latest participant in what might be called a Renaissance of business incubators in New York. Several incubators have popped up in the city in the last two years, including Dogpatch Labs, General Assembly, and BMW’s car-focused i Ventures.

And there are health IT incubators in other cities, including Rock Health in San Francisco, which started up over the summer. But Weinberg says Blueprint is different. “Rock Health is more focused on consumer-oriented, app-like startups,” he says. “We’re more focused on enterprise companies.”

Weinberg, a physician by training, adds that many of Blueprint’s mentors are physicians—people who use the health IT products that are on the market now and likely have a good perspective on the holes that need to be filled. “We have the largest network of mentors with healthcare experience,” he says.

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