AWS for Health launches accelerator with a focus on health equity startups

Amazon Web Services for Health has launched its second healthcare accelerator, this year focused on health equity.

AWS Healthcare Accelerator is currently accepting applications. For- or nonprofit U.S.-based startups with existing customers and revenue looking to use AWS services and focused on solving health equity challenges will be considered. Ten will be selected and supported with a four-week program that includes technical and business mentorship. AWS for Health is designed to help unlock innovation using the potential of health data and develop more personalized care. Also part of the program is the Health Equity Initiative, a $40 million, three-year effort launched last year and open globally to all kinds of organizations.

Those selected for the accelerator will be eligible for up to $25,000 in AWS cloud credits, access to venture capital firms, opportunities with AWS clients, technical training and mentorship, business development guidance and potential pilot opportunities. 

“The accelerator is one more way we are harnessing the power of the cloud to make access to healthcare equitable,” Max Peterson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, wrote in an announcement blog post

AWS will evaluate proposals on things like how innovative the project is, its overall value, creative use of the AWS cloud, the potential to deliver on the solution and the culture and diversity of the team, Peterson told Fierce Healthcare. 

“It is a priority for AWS that solutions represent the communities that they serve. We look for founders from a variety of backgrounds, with a particular focus on founders and solutions serving underrepresented populations,” Peterson told Fierce Healthcare. 

One healthcare AI company, Pieces, that participated in the accelerator last year is now expanding to Britain and Europe. Its CEO Ruben Amarasingham attributes that to the accelerator, where the company got to share strategy brainstorming with other participants and got to meet with AWS clients globally. 

“That was just incredible exposure for our company,” Amarasingham told Fierce Healthcare. In participating in the program, AWS’ understanding of Pieces also deepened “and they were able to play matchmaker,” he said, connecting the company to health systems interested in the company's services. "We would just not have had the perspective or the reach without AWS introducing us," he said. Additionally, mentors through the program connected Pieces’ leadership team to people experienced in their customer segment that provided invaluable advice. “Actually, we incorporated almost all of that,” Amarasingham said. Some of those relationships resulted in ongoing consulting relationships, he added. 

Peterson said the focus of future AWS Healthcare Accelerators has not yet been determined. 

“As long as AWS continues to see a need from our customers in supporting their health equity efforts, our intent is to continue providing support in this area over the long-term,” he said.