PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading global startup accelerator Dreamit announced today that the Dreamit Health program developed in collaboration with Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross (Independence) has received a $325,000 grant from Blackstone Charitable Foundation to drive innovation in the health care sector.
The prestigious Blackstone Innovation Grant is awarded to organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support promising entrepreneurs. The grant will allow Dreamit, Penn Medicine, and Independence to support more high-potential early stage health care startups that have the potential to increase the quality and lower the cost of healthcare in this region and nationally. It will also allow Dreamit to expand its high-impact accelerator practices based on the program's previous three years of success.
The funding will also grow the power of the Dreamit Health network by facilitating new relationships with additional Philadelphia health care organizations while deepening integration with current partners. Dreamit Health will host on-site Customer Immersion and Learning Events at top Philadelphia-area health care institutions to expand engagement with clinicians and build a broader clinical network for early need finding, design iterations, and piloting. Startups will have an opportunity to pitch the executive teams and clinicians at these institutions their insights into core problems, market opportunities, gaps in existing solutions, and their current value proposition, along with how the regional institutions can help.
"This grant will allow more early stage digital health companies to participate in Dreamit Health and bring their world-changing innovations to market while deepening our roots in Philadelphia's tech community, where we've been supporting entrepreneurs for nearly a decade," said Dreamit CEO Avi Savar. "We are proud to have been selected by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation from hundreds of organizations and look forward to working with our partners to build a bigger, better Dreamit this year."
"Penn Medicine, Independence Blue Cross, and Dreamit are all excited about what we've been able to accomplish to date, having grown companies that are starting to change health care delivery, and the Blackstone Foundation's support creates the potential for even bigger impact," said University of Pennsylvania Health System CEO Ralph W. Muller. "We've learned a tremendous amount about how to open the right doors and provide valuable guidance and resources for entrepreneurs seeking to improve health care, and can now apply those lessons learned at a larger scale."
"Dreamit Health has been an important catalyst toward achieving our goal to make our region a national hub for health care innovation," said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "The program allows us to attract the best and brightest minds to our region, help them cultivate important collaborations, and develop and market their ideas. The Blackstone grant will help us expand the already successful program's reach even further."
Working with Penn Medicine as the non-profit partner, Dreamit Health was selected from more than 450 organizations that submitted proposals for both program and event-focused grants. The $325,000 grant awarded to Dreamit Health was the largest of the 13 awarded in the 2016 cohort. The reach of the grantees' programs and events extends across eight U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and the United Kingdom, and the entrepreneurs supported by these programs represent communities from across the globe.
"Over the past four years, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is proud to support a diverse set of dynamic organizations that complement the work of our Entrepreneurship Initiative and build momentum around entrepreneurship in their regions," said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. "This year's cohort of Blackstone Innovation Grant recipients have already helped hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs to create over 9,000 jobs – we couldn't be more excited to support them as they continue that work in the year ahead."
Now entering its fourth year, Dreamit Health has accelerated over 40 startups, providing funding, mentorship, industry insights, data and access to customers and investors through its global network. Dreamit Health alumni have gone on to raise additional capital, secure coveted pilot programs, win contracts, and successfully exit. Reflecting its support for startups throughout the lifecycle, Dreamit was the second most active digital health investor in 2015.
Ranked one of the top 10 accelerators in the world by Forbes and a top 20 most active venture investor by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dreamit focuses on bringing the right people together to drive progressive innovation and real business velocity. Dreamit has launched over 220 startups that have gone on to raise in excess of $275M and are collectively worth in excess of $1B including LevelUp, SeatGeek, BioBots, Biomeme, Adaptly, Meerkat, and more.
About Penn Medicine
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $409 million awarded in the 2014 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2014, Penn Medicine provided $771 million to benefit our community.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 10 million people in 25 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone's IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm's employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see http://www.blackstone.com/foundation.
Independence Blue Cross