MedStartr Offers Crowdfunding for Health IT Firms, Including Itself
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vet each application, he says, to make sure the projects will have a good shot of success on the site. “We guide the MedStartrs,” Fair says. “We spend a lot of time helping them shape their products.”
Fair brings a career’s worth of insights to his role as health-startup mentor. He was originally trained as a molecular pathologist and was waiting to get into medical school when he decided to open a physician practice management company in the 1990s. He abandoned the med-school plan, built up the company to 1,000 physicians under management, he says, and then sold it. After a string of IT jobs, he started FairCareMD in 2009. The company allows physicians and dentists to offer their services to patients who have to pay for their healthcare out-of-pocket. The providers then establish contracts with patients to provide the services at mutually agreed-upon prices. Fair continues to serve as president of the company.
Fair has become a well-known figure in the New York health IT scene, acting as manager of the industry association Health 2.0 and a mentor for Blueprint Health, a new health IT incubator in the city.
The response to MedStartr has been surprising so far, Fair says, as 75 entrepreneurs have sent in applications. “There are fitness projects, wellness projects. There’s an oncology center that wants to open a second location,” he says. In late June, he recalls, while he was participating in a Tweetchat on crowdfunding, three applications arrived in MedStartr’s inbox. “We are flooded with requests,” he says.
MedStartr is looking for $1.25 million in seed capital to expand the company’s offerings. In the fall, Fair hopes roll out a series of events for health entrepreneurs, and to begin testing an extension he’s calling MedFundr, which will allow accredited investors to purchase equity stakes in MedStartr projects.
Fair was partly inspired to found MedStartr by the recently passed Jobs Act, which includes a provision that allows entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million by selling securities via crowdfunding. The SEC is still working on the final rules—and many health-related startups will be subject to other restrictions, including FDA guidelines—but Fair isn’t concerned. “It’s definitely going to add to the challenge of what we have to do. But uncertainty leads to innovation. Whatever comes, crowdfunding is here to stay.”