This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Village Capital, a leading venture firm investing in social enterprises, recently announced its latest investments.
Operating with a unique model that starts with a cohort of startups in a particular industry, most recently healthcare IT, that actually relies on the startups to choose the companies Village Capital invests in.
Victoria Fram, the Managing director of Village Capital, described the most recent cohort, “Across the board, the entrepreneurs in this cohort are dedicated to changing what can seem like intractable challenges in our current health system. Their innovations are focused on reducing inefficiency, lowering costs, and thereby creating greater access and greater outcomes for millions of patients. A world where all these companies are successful will be a healthier and more equitable one.”
After announcing the winners of the Healthcare IT cohort, 1DocWay and AsthmaMD, Fram noted, “VilCap Investments is thrilled to add two new great companies to our portfolio, and to be co-investing in them with the Texas Medical Center. 1DocWay and AsthmaMD are pursuing large market opportunities, and addressing critical health needs that affect underserved populations: accessible psychiatric services for hard to reach populations, and patient-centric, easy-to-use integrated asthma management.”
Last week, I was invited to spend time with the team while they conducted the final preparatory sessions of a months-long series. I also had the opportunity to attend the final pitch session where all of the participants presented and answered questions from interested investors and sponsors.
The Village Capital model, Fram explains, allows all of the companies to rate the others in the group—participants don’t rate their own startups. The ratings are carefully adjusted to normalize them to make the competition as fair as possible.
The Healthcare IT cohort included seven other startups, described briefly below.
1 Doc Way:
1DocWay (The Company) is an online healthcare delivery network that connects underserved patient populations with online and in-person psychiatry resources.
Mobile-based platform that helps asthmatics better manage their condition, understand their treatment plans and facilitate adherence to those plans.
Hybrent (The Company) is a mobile supply chain technology company helping hospitals and non-acute facilities reduce cost and become more efficient. Their cloud-hosted platform helps customers connect with multiple trading partners from one hub.
iRxReminder (the Company) is an interconnected medication dispenser that is filled by a pharmacy and monitors when patients take their medication.
OnePortal.io (The Company) is a vendor agnostic, cloud based referral management solution.
Seratis (the Company) is a proprietary network graph of all patients and their connected providers inside and outside a healthcare system.
Speak MODalities (my personal favorite):
SPEAK MODalities creates tablet software to entertain, engage, and educate children with Autism spectrum (ASD) and developmental language disorders.
UberHealth’s “Care Buddy” provides medication care for elders whose children live in other countries and continuous updates of the elder’s health condition to the children. With an initial focus on India, UberHealth (“the Company”) has been able to secure 55 paying customers in just over 6 months of operation.
Village Capital had a number of partners for this cohort, including the Texas Medical Center, Chilton Capital Management, the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing at the University of Utah, the Hitachi Foundation, Arches Health Plan, the Rice Alliance, Omidyar Network, and the Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS).