Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum

Thank you for making the Entrepreneurs’ Forum a success!


What happens when you mix dynamic health care startups with Penn’s faculty leaders, the region’s top venture capital firms, industry and health system executives, and talented students from multiple disciplines? At Penn Medicine’s first Entrepreneurs’ Forum, the answer would be palpable energy and connections that open doors to accelerate these new companies! Philadelphia’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem was in full effect Monday March 31st as a broad and diverse startup community gathered at Penn’s Smilow Center for Translational Research.

With a rich history of innovation, Philadelphia and Penn have all the elements required to be a thriving hub for health care startups. Our community boasts nationally recognized investors, entrepreneurial faculty and students with cutting edge research and insights, outstanding hospitals, innovative payers, the world’s top pharmaceutical companies, and a wealth of design and development talent. All of those critical elements convened at Penn Medicine to catalyze a fun, productive event sponsored by many of the region’s leading organizations. The Forum was a joint effort of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, UPstart at the Center for Technology Transfer, Safeguard Scientifics, First Round Capital, SR One, DreamIt Health Philadelphia, Robin Hood Ventures, Mobiquity, Arcweb, Chariot Solutions, the Science Center and VentureF0rth. The companies in attendance are setting out to solve some of the most pressing problems in health care, and contributions of all attendees were integral to the energy generated by the event.

Highlights from the first Penn Medicine Entrepreneurs’ Forum include:

  • Over 600 attendees – investors, faculty leaders, developers, Independence Blue Cross and pharmaceutical executives, entrepreneurs and members of the press – circulated throughout the afternoon.
  • 8 featured startups gave 5-minute pitches to a packed auditorium.
  • 35 more new companies demonstrated their innovations at tables around the lobby during the open networking session.
  • Dr. Brian Litt, Professor of Neurology and Bioengineering, presented his groundbreaking work in engineering neurodevices in a breakout session.
  • Using YORN’s mobile feedback application, real-time connections were made between startups and attendees with the resources and expertise to help them
  • The session concluded with the event sponsors getting on stage to select their favorite start-ups, telling the audience what resources they’ll offer the winners to accelerate these companies’ progress (a full descriptions of all companies present at the Forum can be found by clicking here.)

Safeguard Scientifics selected Take Command Health, a mobile platform developed by Jack Hooper (Wharton) to enable consumers to make informed health insurance choices. Safeguard, with their nationally recognized history of funding and growing health care companies, will advise and provide services to accelerate Jack’s efforts.

First Round Capital, among the most acclaimed early stage venture firms in the US, chose two winners: Aircare, a mobile platform to enable effective post-acute care and to prevent readmissions co-founded by George Zeng (Wharton alum) and Dosed, a diabetes management app developed by Daniel Fine (Wharton). Both gained access to the First Round partners for feedback, business strategy development and introductions.

SR One, GSK’s venture capital arm with deep expertise in life sciences, chose Cytovas, founded by Drs Emille Mohler of Cardiology, Jonni Moore of Pathology and Wade Rogers of Computational Biology to provide advanced assays for cardiovascular disease. They’ll receive advisory services from the SR One team.

Robin Hood Ventures, a leading angel investor network, selected EasyCopay, developed by Fred Hawkins (Wharton alum) to streamline pharmacy co-payments. Fred has been invited to pitch at Robin Hood’s next partner meeting

DreamIt Ventures, which has accelerated the creation of over 100 startups, selected OnCall, offering consumers on-demand access to housecalls and serving as a marketplace connecting hospitals and moonlighting clinicians. Scott Ames (Wharton) and Grant Mitchell (MD/MBA candidate) will receive a fast pass to the finalist round for DreamIt Health Philadelphia’s – once again sponsored by Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross. If OnCall is chosen from among the finalists, they would gain the access they need to clinical settings, data, expert guidance, mentors and $50k in funding.

The Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) at the Science Center awarded 1DocWay, a telepsychiatry technology developed by Samir Malik (Wharton alum), a "Golden Ticket" to the final round of the DHA, vying for $50k, mentorship and free office space.

Mobiquity chose MobileOptx’s device for coupling smart phones with endoscopy equipment. Dr Jason Brandt and Dr Natasha Mirza of ENT will receive free consulting time and guidance from Mobiquity’s experts in enterprise mobility strategy, design and development.

Arcweb, a leading product design and development firm, chose Flowcate. Developed by Dr Tessa Cook in the Department of Radiology as way to visualize patient flow, Flowcate will get time with some of the region’s best enterprise application builders. .

Venturef0rth, a co-working and collaboration space with advisory services for early stage companies, selected HaxBox, a robotics technology allowing disabled patients to use gaming in rehabilitation. Developed by Dalton Banks, a robotics student at Penn, HaxBox was awarded 3 months of free office space.

Chariot Solutions, experts in enterprise software development, selected SexiU, a sex-ed app developed by Grace Olamijulo (School of Nursing), awarding her free consulting time.

And finally, using YORN, we crowdsourced an audience favorite – Biomeme – a DreamIt Health company that turns a smartphone into a convenient, low-cost lab for fast DNA diagnostics and on-site disease tracking. Biomeme won support from our team at Center for Health Care Innovation. YORN itself received the most votes, but already has a contract in place with Penn Medicine.

Congratulations to all the winners! We were equally excited to learn that many other attendees and companies made valuable connections where they’re now receiving help, guidance, customer introductions and more from other attendees.

We’ve received great feedback so far and want to capitalize on the momentum our community collectively generated. Email to send us stories or photos from the Forum, connections you made, suggestions on how to improve, ideas for the next event, and anything else we should know!

Going forward, we’re excited to work with the new Penn Center for Innovation as they take the lead in Penn’s commercialization efforts. We know the Philadelphia region has tremendous potential to become a vibrant, thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurial ventures transforming healthcare, and we’re excited to be part of that evolution.

Thanks again to everyone who made this event happen!