A crowdfunding and beta-testing platform's creators hope to change the way health care products and apps go to market. Based in Iowa City, Health Tech Hatch combines testing and funding into one website, allowing developers to receive feedback from users before finalizing their product.
While other crowdfunding platforms for health care exist, such as Medstartr, Hatch's co-founders are health care industry veterans who saw a need for earlier testing along with raising money.
"We're actually not techies; we're health care people and we had an idea," Karen Michaeli, COO and a co-founder of Hatch, said in a phone interview. Michaeli has worked in patient engagement and health technology for a number of organizations before starting Hatch.
Hatch went live Oct. 8, and entrepreneurs with an idea for a health and wellness product can log on to the site to use the crowdfunding function, the testing function or both. Some of the projects currently seeking funds include an app to help patients better understand asthma (below) and a platform for coordinating senior health data.
Patricia Salber, CEO and co-founder of Hatch, is based in the San Francisco Bay area. A physician by training, she's worked in health care for years, both as a doctor and on the business side working with health plans.
The company's employees are based in Seattle and southern California in addition to Iowa City. Hatch is registered in Iowa and the company's social media, marketing and developer teams are also in Iowa City. Josh Cramer of Cramer Dev acts as interim CTO and is a member of Hatch's advisory board. Hatch is working with Cramer Dev to enhance and scale its application.
A health care app company is trying to raise $32,500 on Health Tech Hatch to build an asthma education app.
Hatch, which is currently seeking funding, brings in revenue by keeping a percentage of the money raised by projects. If a project reaches its funding target, Hatch takes five percent. If it doesn't reach its goal by the target date, Hatch takes nine percent. If a project only raises a small part of its goal – say it aimed for $20,000 and raised $100 – Salber said Hatch encourages the project to refund that money.
The testing portion of the site also generates revenue for Hatch. The first testing client is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is using the platform for its healthfinder.gov Mobile App Challenge. The challenge goal for developers is to create a mobile app used to easily access information from healthfinder.gov.
Salber says Health and Human Services "really wanted to have the ordinary guy or woman that they're hoping will use the app be able to help define the app."
Overall, Michaeli and Salber view Hatch as part of the move toward personal responsibility for your own health care.
"I think it's part of a groundswell of patient empowerment that's happening at this moment in history where there's broad recognition that health care is in some way broken and needs to be fixed," Michaeli said.
Credits: Screenshot from healthtechhatch.com. Karen Michaeli photo courtesy of Michaeli.
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