Healthbox raises $7M from Intermountain, HCSC, its first since founding

By Aditi Pai
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jill Jill Seidman

Chicago-based digital health accelerator Healthbox Global Partners, Healthbox's parent company since 2013, raised $7 million. The round was led by Intermountain Healthcare, Health Care Service Corporation, and Chicago Pacific Founders. Healthbox will use the funds to launch three new business units.

Since its founding, this is the first time strategic investors have invested in Healthbox's parent company. Typically companies invest in the individual accelerator programs that Healthbox launches in various cities.

"Our foundation is based on the fact that innovative healthcare concepts can originate from anywhere," Jill Seidman, the director of research and product development for Healthbox told MobiHealthNews. "We are helping larger organizations source innovative solutions and supporting early-stage companies in selling into complex healthcare organizations. This is market-focused expansion for Healthbox."

One of Healthbox's new offerings is a directory of health IT vendor products -- both Healthbox alums or previously unaffiliated companies. Another is a program, called Foundry, that brings Healthbox's curriculum in-house to help healthcare systems develop and scale new products internally. The third offering is still in development, and while Healthbox wouldn't share specific details, they're calling it "collaborative innovation funds".

"These larger organizations have money and want to dedicate financial resources towards innovation, they're just not sure how to do it," Seidman said. "So these 'collaborative innovation initiatives' are a way to partner with some of these healthcare organization to come up with plans that work for what they are looking for."

Healthbox plans to launch an accelerator in Salt Lake City, Utah in August 2014. The partnership with healthcare system Intermountain Healthcare, one of the investors in this round, is part of the reason Healthbox chose this city as a next location.

"We were extremely excited to partner with Intermountain Healthcare, who we see as one of the most innovative healthcare systems that continuously supports increasing quality and reducing the costs of care," Seidman said. "Intermountain Healthcare is also going to run a Foundry program to launch later this year."

The other three accelerators launching this summer will be in Boston, Tampa Bay, and Chicago. Then in the fall, Healthbox is launching two accelerators in London and Nashville.

When Healthbox first launched, its partners included venture capital firm Sandbox Industries, the BlueCross Blue Shield Venture Fund, the California Healthcare Foundation, Walgreens, Ridgeview Medical Center, Merrick Ventures, and HLM Venture Partners. Sandbox is still holds two of Healthbox's board seats, but they haven't invested in an individual accelerator program since the first one in Chicago.