100health Aims to Incubate Health IT Startups, Put Madison on Map

2/25/14Follow @XconomyWI

The ambitious talk of turning Madison, WI, into the nation’s premier hub for healthcare and healthtech startups has grown louder in recent weeks. Now add 100health to the conversation.

The new company, housed in downtown Madison co-working space 100state, is part think tank and part startup incubator. 100health will work with healthcare providers, insurers, and other organizations to research and identify problems that can be solved using technology tools. Then 100health will form startups that will build software to fix the problems. Its staff will serve as founding team members to help entrepreneurs develop the initial product, and the companies will pull from a pool of entrepreneurs in 100health’s network to further staff the startups as they grow.

100health will not invest funds in its portfolio companies, but will take an equity stake likely ranging from 5 to 20 percent, said co-founder Niko Skievaski, who last year co-founded 100state. Startups will receive office space at 100state, some money to cover operating costs, and connections to a network of business mentors and investors.

100health already has three companies in its portfolio, Skievaski said. Patient Proxy is like a TurboTax for generating health proxies and living wills. Inc.Well helps companies design corporate wellness programs and better track results. The third company, ICD-10 Illustrated, created a book that pokes fun at some of the bizarre and ridiculous medical diagnoses in the international medical code system.

This year 100health aims to hire about five to 10 staff and recruit about 100 entrepreneurs to its group of so-called “disruptors in residence,” which would give it the resources to work with more than a dozen startups at any given time, Skievaski estimated.

Skievaski started 100health with James Lloyd and Luke Bonney. All three are former employees of Epic Systems, the Verona, WI-based electronic health records software provider that optimists say will be a key driver of health IT innovation in the Madison area. That’s because an estimated 1,200 Epic employees quit the private company each year (it currently employs about 6,800), essentially providing an entrepreneur feeder system of highly educated software engineers and other professionals. People from this talent pool have received an intense education in the business of healthcare while with Epic and often have their own ideas for improving the industry.

At least, that’s what 100health’s co-founders are counting on. They’re not alone in believing Madison has the ingredients for a thriving health IT startup ecosystem: an anchor in Epic, quality healthcare systems that have shown early interest in partnering with 100health, a respected computer science program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a relatively low cost of living, to name a few. 100health envisions Madison following the path of cities like Austin, which has established itself as a tech startup hub, buoyed in part by the economic engine and talent generator that is Dell.

“There’s going to be certain cities that emerge as the leaders in certain areas,” Lloyd said. “I really feel like Madison has the potential to be the healthcare IT hub for the entire United States.”

That’s a lofty goal that will take … Next Page »

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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