Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Healthbox Partner to Foster and Support Innovative Health Care Startups in Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Healthbox Partner to Foster and Support Innovative Health Care Startups in Massachusetts

<0> BCBSMAJenna McPhee, 617-246-7412orKate Sternberg, 312-480-6780 </0>

(BCBSMA) and a company that supports early-stage health care innovation and entrepreneurship, announced today they are leading a partnership to accelerate the businesses of ten Massachusetts-based health care companies. The promising companies are addressing issues of strategic importance in health care, including patient engagement, provider effectiveness and wellness.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts who has embraced our vision of supporting health care entrepreneurs and unlocking the industry knowledge needed to build game-changing companies,” said Nina Nashif, Founder of Healthbox. “Having the strong support of a large and innovative health plan will advance groundbreaking solutions for the industry’s most pressing challenges.”

Each of the ten companies selected will receive $50,000 in seed capital, access to a mentor network of industry experts including BCBSMA employees, strategic guidance and collaborative workspace. The program launches this month and will conclude with a high-profile conference in November where each participant will pitch their company to an audience of investors and health care leaders from across the country.

“Since our company’s inception 75 years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has continually worked hard to develop new and innovative ways to make health care more affordable while improving the quality of that care,” said Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of BCBSMA. “Participating in the development of new solutions that aim to tackle the most pressing challenges in the industry supports our mission to make quality health care affordable for individuals, families and employers while adding growth to our local economy.”

The ten companies selected are focusing on issues of great importance for the health care industry:

– four companies will help patients more proactively manage their health:

- four companies are improving physician practice operations:

two companies will empower consumers to be more conscious of their eating habits and health choices

“Changing the status quo in health care can be difficult, but having a cadre of world-class mentors and partners to help us navigate the industry should boost our chances of success,” said Smart Scheduling Founder Dr. Gabriel Belfort. “We’re looking forward to working with Healthbox, BCBSMA and the other strategic partners over the course of the coming months.”

Healthbox has attracted seasoned professionals with health care and business experience who are focused on addressing real challenges in the industry and thinking creatively about new solutions. Entrepreneurs who have worked with Healthbox have been given the opportunity to refine their value propositions and gain market traction and insight in a very short period of time. BCBSMA is the anchor partner for Healthbox-Boston. Other strategic partners include Express Scripts, HLM Venture Partners and Long River Ventures. These organizations will work collaboratively with Healthbox to support and mentor the ten startups over the next three months.

() is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. Celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2012, we are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we are rated among the nation’s best health plans for member satisfaction and quality.

Healthbox () is a platform for innovation in the health care industry. Our three-month accelerator program finds great companies and passionate health care entrepreneurs and helps them grow their businesses by providing seed capital, access to a broad and diverse network of mentors, topical forums, strategic guidance and an organized Innovation Day. Healthbox’s inaugural program launched in Chicago in January 2012. Healthbox-Boston will launch in August 2012 and Healthbox-Europe will launch in London in October 2012.

Express Scripts manages more than a billion prescriptions each year for tens of millions of people. On behalf of our clients -- employers, health plans, unions and government health programs -- we make the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable. We innovate to enhance patient care, reduce pharmacy-related waste and increase therapy adherence. Building on a strong clinical foundation, we apply our understanding of the behavioral sciences -- an approach we call -- to make it easier for people to choose better health.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Express Scripts provides integrated pharmacy benefit management services, including network-pharmacy claims processing, home delivery, specialty benefit management, benefit-design consultation, drug-utilization review, formulary management, and medical and drug data analysis services. The company also distributes a full range of biopharmaceutical products and provides extensive cost-management and patient-care services. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter.

HLM Venture Partners is a leading venture capital firm providing capital to emerging companies focused on health care service, health care information technology and medical devices. HLM has over $400 million of venture capital under management and works with the leading growth companies that are improving the quality of health care while reducing overall costs. HLM supports entrepreneurs as they turn innovative ideas into market-leading businesses, offering guidance on financial structuring, resource allocation and deployment, strategic planning, strategic introductions, and recruitment. HLM has offices in Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA.

Long River Ventures was formed by a group of experienced entrepreneurs and venture investors. Over the past decade the firm has established a reputation as a value added investor with an extensive portfolio of seed and early stage companies in healthcare, IT, and other technology-driven sectors. Long River is designed and structured to make smaller initial investments than typical for a venture capital firm, with initial funding often in the $250,000 to $1M range. Long River Ventures is currently investing out of its third fund, with offices in Amherst, Worcester and Boston. For more information, visit .

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