Startup Accelerator Spotlight: Healthbox Studios


Healthbox Studios is a new-breed of accelerator, designed to help early stage health-tech startups navigate the complexities of the healthcare industry and position themselves for growth within the marketplace.

healthbox founder

Name of Accelerator: Healthbox Studios

Locations: Chicago (HQ), Boston, Los Angeles, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Tel Aviv


CEO and Co-FounderNina Nashif

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator program.

(Interview with Pallavi Menon, Manager, Healthbox Boston)

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives.

The Healthbox Studio is a new-breed of accelerator, designed to help early stage health-tech startups navigate the complexities of the healthcare industry and position themselves for growth within the marketplace.

Why is your accelerator unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.

Healthbox Studios are held in distinctly innovative cities in the US and internationally. Our Studios are non-dilutive, requiring no capital or equity in exchange for participation. Our sole requirement is that participating Founders commit to being on-site, in a pre-selected city, for a total of 8 days, over an 8 week period. The lean commitment is designed to be Founder-friendly, with two weeks between each on-site session, to allow teams to focus on growing their businesses while staying connected to the Healthbox team and expert network.

Giving Away Startup Ownership: How Much Is Too Much?

Healthbox Studio content is focused on commercialization and is tailored to the specific needs of companies at the cusp of rapid scale. Over the course of the 8-week period, Heathbox provides entrepreneurs with unparalleled access to a diverse set of strategic partners (including: payers, providers and industry) while evaluating each participant for investment potential after completion of the 8-week Studio.

What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

Healthbox Studios provide advanced startups with an opportunity to interface with key decision-makers across some of healthcare’s most progressive institutions. However, access does not always guarantee closed customer relationships. Healthcare has a very long sales cycle, and when working on startups it’s important to level set expectations on what they can achieve from a sales perspective in 8-weeks.

What do you enjoy the most; what do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?  

Working with startups allows Healthbox to spend extensive amounts of time with extremely passionate and intelligent individuals. Each Healthbox alum has come to us with a unique and inspiring story, and we are very lucky to have lasting relationships with the Founders we work with.

Tell us about your success stories; Which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?

Healthbox portfolio company, Gecko Health Innovations, was recently acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals, marking Healthbox’s third exit. Gecko has developed a bluetooth enabled cap that adheres to an asthma inhaler. The device glows when it is time for a dose, and transmits usage data to all relevant parties. The team participated in Healthbox’s second Accelerator program in 2012, and continued to share office space with Healthbox prior to their acquisition. A more recent success story comes from an alum of our 2015 Salt Lake City Studio cohort – Bloom Technologies. The Bloom team was named as the winner of the 2016 Extreme Tech Challenge, after a live pitch to Richard Branson in the Necker Islands. We are incredibly proud of our portfolio’s successes and even more thrilled about the positive changes they are instituting in healthcare.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

  • Equity. The cost of participation is one of the key tradeoffs that founders must assess when participating in an accelerator: is the cost in terms of time and equity worth the rapid access to potential partners and mentors? One of the biggest selling points for the Healthbox Studio is that we make the decision easier by taking equity out of the equation, so Founders are only weighing the cost of time against the benefits of rapid introductions and mentorship.
  •  Time.  Founders should be 100% sold on the value being provided so as not to drain valuable time, energy and resources. Healthbox Studios are designed to optimize Founder time, asking only 8 concentrated days on-site. The time between each bi-weekly module helps Founders maintain existing business and operational commitments throughout the studios

    Are You Prepared for the Entrepreneurial Journey?

  • Goals. Identifying goals before applying to an accelerator will help Founders select a program that best suits their needs. Accelerators can be overwhelming, and focus is key to distilling value from content. Healthbox is a great fit for companies that have existing market validation and are actively looking to scale and we pride ourselves on the high-quality introductions we’re able to make on behalf of participating companies.

The Value of Vision and Mission, Or Lack Thereof

What else wouhealthbox logold you like to share?  

Since 2012, Healthbox has:

  • Sourced and reviewed over 2,000 healthcare companies
  • Held 15 accelerator programs
  • Worked alongside 134 companies
  • Invested in 89 companies, including 3 Studio Alums in 2015       

Pam Goforth

Pam Goforth is Research Manager for FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.