$50M investment to fund telemedicine startups

D.C.-based investor group Hickory Ridge just launched a $50 million investment fund to jump-start development in the mobile health market. The as-yet-unnamed fund is headed up by former MedStar Health CEO John McDaniel, former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Donald Phillips and technology entrepreneur James Kelly, according to the local Washington Business Journal.

The group will fund startups anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million, the sweet spot for garage developers. The primary products they're looking to support include telemedicine systems and patient-oriented apps for managing medical data, the Journal reports.

One of the fund's creators, Jeff Harvey, had a warning for hospitals, insurance companies and other existing healthcare players developing their own apps and mobile systems: You won't control the mHealth space in the long run.

"Startups and entrepreneurs, who lack legacy workforces and ingrained cultures, will be the ones to thrive amid a changing industry, not the major hospital systems and insurance companies," Harvey tells the Journal. "This marketplace is primed for new entrants. The services are going outside the hospital and empowering patients."

The fund's big challenge won't be finding startups to invest in--they're coming out of the woodwork, Glenn Hellman, chair of entrepreneurial strategy company Driven Forward tells the Journal. Instead, its biggest obstacle to success will be understanding the swiftly changing mHealth market, and being able to spot "the few gems" among the flood of new products under development.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Business Journal article (sub. required)

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