“Minneapolis should be the best place in the country to launch a healthtech startup,” Healthcare.MN founder Peter Kane asserts, acknowledging that, despite our historical strengths in healthcare delivery, medical device, and information technology — we’re not where we should be relative to other national hotspots.
“As entrepreneurs ourselves, we were looking for this sense of community in the digital healthcare space, and it just wasn’t there,” he explains regarding the genesis of the meetup group formed earlier this year for Minnesota’s many practicing and aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Healthtech is different than other areas, with its own market dynamics and unique challenges, something which we have experienced firsthand.”
Exclusively focused on encouraging and supporting Minnesota’s growing digital health startup ecosystem through a series of educational and inspirational networking events, Healthcare.MN is all about producing more health tech startups in Minnesota at the end of the day. It’s a goal that requires many variables, the least of which is time, but if their momentum is any indication, then they are on the right path.
What began with a dozen in February, soon became part of the ‘Google for Entrepreneurs’ initiative, and more recently drew a crowd of ~100 to the U of M to hear guest speaker Dave Chase, the CEO of Avado in Seattle. While bringing national attention to the local scene is part of their stated mission, past local guest speakers have included accomplished entrepreneurs such as Justin Anderson, the CEO of G9MD and Brian Beutner from the recently acquired mPay Gateway.
By the numbers, Minnesota’s startup healthIT cluster is at least 50 strong, a figure that seems to be growing by the week; reflected in that trend is their meetup group list of 250, and sold-out monthly events.
“We’ve been really surprised by the diversity…the entrepreneurs remain our focus, but we count providers, clinicians, professors, executives, developers and investors as part of the group now,” co founder Solome Tibebu says, speaking to how the group has been received among the broader healthcare industry.
“Seeing what was happening in the healthIT movement in other places like Chicago, Silicon Valley, or New York, I realized that we must have something like it here,” third co founder Thompson Adrinkomi says.
“It’s already working, and there are a lot of people here in the industry who are not yet entrepreneurs, but who will make great ones.”
The impetus and inertia of Healthcare.MN is a timely example of how entrepreneurial communities are led and grown — by the actual entrepreneurs who practice what they preach.