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Mayo Clinic, McKesson Launch Programs Aiding, Funding Entrepreneurs

December 12, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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A big name provider organization and health IT vendor have separately announced this week their intentions to aid the development of innovation in healthcare.

The Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and the San Francisco-based McKesson are both getting in the venture capital/entrepreneur game. Mayo announced it was collaborating with mentorship driven startup accelerator, TechStars to guide entrepreneurs in healthcare. Startup companies selected in the TechStars program will get a chance to spend two weeks at Mayo Clinic, with an option to extend the stay for up to four additional weeks.

The mentee companies will explore business development opportunities around healthcare delivery and clinical problems and receive hands on guidance from Mayo leaders. TechStars will work with the two sides as well onsite. “We are looking to attack some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today,” stated Jim Rogers, chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures. “Techstars’ extensive network and business expertise, coupled with Mayo’s clinical expertise, holds the potential to be a very potent collaboration.”

At McKesson, the company is launching a strategic venture capital fund for early and growth stage companies. The fund, called McKesson Ventures, has already begun to make minority investments in companies that are addressing various healthcare challenges, such as increasing consumerism, emergence of alternate delivery models and the shift towards value based reimbursement models, the company notes.

“McKesson Ventures will help us support the development and commercialization of innovations taking place across healthcare,” John Hammergren, chairman and CEO, McKesson, said in a statement. “By investing and partnering with entrepreneurs and other investors that can bring new approaches to the challenges our customers are facing, we will accelerate the innovation cycle and further strengthen the value we provide to industry stakeholders across all segments.”

McKesson has tapped Tom Rodgers, formerly of venture capital Cambia Health, to lead the McKesson Ventures.

Over the past few years, venture capital funding in healthcare IT has increased significantly. This year saw funding levels reach new heights and other health systems, like Mayo, have begun their own programs to accelerate startups.  

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