Health Equity: A Theme Among 1501 Health’s First Class of Startups

A support service for parents of new babies. An initiative that uses barbershops and hair salons as conduits for health messages. Technology that connects the dots for Medicaid service providers and their patients.

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1501 Health, a year-long incubation and investment program delivered by Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, provides these seemingly disparate, early-stage startup companies with investment, expertise and support. The thread that connects them is a primary reason Healthworx partnered with LifeBridge Health to launch this program: equity.

The problems causing inequity in healthcare are not simple and won’t be solved by one entrepreneur. We believe it will take a collective approach to make healthcare better. That’s why, at Healthworx, we look for companies who bring together different stakeholders from across the healthcare space. And who leverage those unique models and connections to develop solutions for challenges plaguing underserved communities as a whole.

Healthworx is inspired and excited by the individual solutions provided by the companies in 1501 Health’s first incubation cohort. But, bringing them together and forming connections within the broader healthcare ecosystem is where the real opportunities lie. Working together, across the cohort, LifeBridge Health and Healthworx, allows us to visualize how our individual talents, capabilities, and approaches in the broader healthcare arena can move the needle closer to a more equitable health system for everyone.

Sigi

While BabyLiveAdvice is working hard in the cohort to develop its plan to provide equal, unbiased support for mothers, parents and their babies in their language and at their home, Live Chair Health is initiating discussions with minority communities about chronic health issues through barbershops, salons and digital tools. Meanwhile, Pair Team is user-testing technology that supports the coordination of patient care and value-based care operations for Medicaid.

And, while each company has unique goals and operations, as part of 1501 Health, they are collaborating to share insights, resources, networks and support.

“I appreciate, more than anything else, the learning curve in the last few months has been exponential,” said BabyLiveAdvice CEO Sigi Marmorstein. “It’s changed our thinking about BabyLiveAdvice and has given me a lot of confidence as an entrepreneur, which is something that I definitely needed. Having the other [people] in the group and going through [similar] things helps you feel that you’re not alone in the entrepreneurial journey. I’ve enjoyed that comradery tremendously.”

Their bi-weekly mastermind, and one-off collaborations, help each of them more effectively meet healthcare’s greatest challenge: providing equitable solutions to reach the underserved.

Each represents a small piece of a massive healthcare ecosystem and highlights the need to redefine healthcare in a way that meets people where they are. Focusing on flexible engagement models and taking a consumer-centric mindset cuts to the heart of equity. As investors, we know the consumer-centric model works. It’s not just equitable: it’s a smart way to run a business.

In the time we’ve worked together, we’ve seen the 1501 Health cohort companies grow and expand their reach into markets the healthcare industry has historically had trouble reaching. As this promising first cohort approaches graduation, we look forward to watching them continue to grow in the broader marketplace, with their products and services providing innovation and value for users that need them most.

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