Healthcare // Leadership
News
4/7/2014
09:06 AM
Alison Diana
Alison Diana
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Crowdfunding The Next Healthcare Hit

Crowdfunding adds a new route for small entrepreneurs to raise money to develop healthcare inventions and bring them to market. Here are 10 promising products looking to raise money.
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CommBadgeDoctors don't like spending a lot of time typing, so the Star Trek: The Next Generation-like CommBadge wearable Bluetooth speakerphone could be a good fit for healthcare professionals. With the button-like device for iPhones and Android phones, wearers schedule meetings, access Siri or Google Now, send messages, and make calls without picking up the phone or donning a headset. The CommBadge+ model, pictured, includes an ID badge holder. 
Seeking $20,000 on Kickstarter.
(Image: CommBadge)

CommBadge
Doctors don't like spending a lot of time typing, so the Star Trek: The Next Generation-like CommBadge wearable Bluetooth speakerphone could be a good fit for healthcare professionals. With the button-like device for iPhones and Android phones, wearers schedule meetings, access Siri or Google Now, send messages, and make calls without picking up the phone or donning a headset. The CommBadge+ model, pictured, includes an ID badge holder.

Seeking $20,000 on Kickstarter.

(Image: CommBadge)

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Alex Fair of MedStartr
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Alex Fair of MedStartr,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 2:19:05 PM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
Anything that requires a prescription is a little tricky but we talked to the FDA about it when we started and stay within their guidelines for pre-market products and formulations.  That stated, most people mistake crowdfunding as being about direct funding in healthcare.  It isn't really.  Healthcare is an extremely partner-driven industry and crowdfunding merely serves as an indicator of which products and services will be successful based upon adoption by the relevant customers and partners.  Yes, consumer-focused products do pretty well on consumer-focused sites, but if you want to get anywhere in healthcare you need the healthcare crowd, which is our focus.  Our clients on average get over 2 partnerships per successful campaign and twenty times more funding off the site than on.  This is why we call it crowdVetting rather than crowdfunding and it works pretty well even withot our equity online components launch yet (stay tuned!) 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 10:07:51 AM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
It is going to be more challenging for entrepreneurs to raise funds via crowdfunding as these sites become, well, more crowded. I think it's interesting we're already seeing specialists -- Medstartr and the Indiegogo-backed healthcare-oriented site. And I'd imagine we'll see more, related to healthcare and other verticals. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 10:03:52 AM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
@Alex: Medstartr has some fascinating crowdfunding projects, but I wonder about raising funds to develop new medicines. How does that work, given the scrutiny and (I'd imagine) additional rules regarding medication vs. trips or health-monitoring devices, etc.?
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 10:02:17 AM
Re: hi from rufuslabs
Interesting to hear about the additional areas Rufus Cuff is looking to target. It sounds smart: Many technologies suitable for healthcare should adapt to other verticals where professionals need hands-free access to data input and analytics. Good luck!
Alex Fair of MedStartr
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Alex Fair of MedStartr,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2014 | 12:06:31 PM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
While a good number of projects are digital health tech consumer devices, especially on the mainstream sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, on MedStartr we have had everything from medical missions to Africa to new drugs.  People do love gadgets and there is a new trend of make the internet of things come to healthcare and this is fantastic, but for the more medically focused ideas, check out MedStartr.com if you are interested.  Thanks!

Alex Fair

Chief Crowdologist

MedStartr
rufuslabs
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rufuslabs,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/12/2014 | 12:55:19 PM
hi from rufuslabs
Great article with some very valid points! We appreciate your mention of the Rufus Cuff. While we've designed it with a consumer focus, there are several additional niche markets that interest the team at rufuslabs. We have several close friends and family in the healthcare industry and have engaged in many discussions of how the Rufus Cuff could be useful. Rest assured we are working on something great that we think can be of use in healthcare as well as education and IT. The Rufus Cuff provides the first real alternative for professionals in many fields to have their hands free and have a usable device with software that can make patient management and all sorts of tasks much easier. We love hearing feedback from our community of suporrters. Thanks! - Team Rufus
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/11/2014 | 10:28:56 AM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
I completely agree, Laurie. Too many crowdfunded products appear to be next-generation fitness bands but we're only at the beginning of the app revolution, of medical devices, of home health, and who knows what else! Now ordinary entrepreneurs have the chance to more easily finance their innovation, there's no excuse to let that dream fester.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
4/7/2014 | 2:29:53 PM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
There are so many ideas we need in addition to Fitbit-genre devices. I hope the industry doesn't get obsessed with fitness bands when there are other medical device areas where patients would love for costs to be driven down.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/7/2014 | 12:58:42 PM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
Yes, the person or group behind a crowdfunded healthcare tech needs to really explain and show what their product can do for healthcare or a segment of healthcare in a way that sparks excitement and hope from would-be investors, yet also demonstrates why this group of people can make it happen. Because when you crowdfund, you're really investing in someone else's dream! Many healthcare ideas I've seen have been some variation on Fitbit et al, which is okay but there has to be more than that out there! What I love about the whole crowdfunding concept is that anyone, with a great idea and a willingness to invest time on marketing as well as inventing, can at least try to get startup funds nowadays. It's not as seemingly impossible as it once was, if you're a doctor, nurse, or administrator with a great idea to actually become a successful developer, too.
danielcawrey
IW Pick
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
4/7/2014 | 12:29:55 PM
Re: Crowdfunding mostly for consumer digital health tech?
I think that healthcare is going to attract a different subset of people looking to help crowdfund a project. Remember the Oculus example? That was clearly funded by people who fervently believed in VR.

In the healthcare sector, it may be harder for people to visualize the potential of a complex technology. Sure, promoting the ability for a healthcare project to save or improve lives is important.

The big picture, I think, is going to be key for raising money in this way for healthcare hits. 
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