HIT Startups May Reap the Benefits of Big Business Funding

Hailing from Atlanta, which has a vibrant startup scene via the resources offered by Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center, Venture Atlanta and similarly themed programs (not to mention a strong healthcare IT sector in general), I keep a sharp eye out for news related to just-getting-off-the-ground healthcare IT companies. (Brightwhistle is a great example of a combination of the two.) And so I read with interest a few weeks ago news of Dell’s Innovators Credit Fund, a “first-of-its-kind Dell financing initiative that provides entrepreneurs up to $100M in the financial and scalable technology resources they need to maximize potential innovation, speed to market and job creation,” according to the company. (You can read the specific financing details and fund benefits here.)

Dell has had a pretty strong presence in healthcare IT for a while now, so I didn’t think it too big a leap to wonder how much of this fund would ultimately find its way into the pockets of HIT entrepreneurs. I reached out to Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence and creator of the fund, to learn more about its potential benefits to healthcare startups.

Why did you decide the time was right to start this program?

“As a lifelong entrepreneur and, specifically, as Dell’s first entrepreneur-in-residence, my role is to help Dell connect with, learn from and understand the needs of growing businesses so they can bring solutions and services to market that help them succeed. Over the past year, it’s become increasingly clear in today’s economy that to build scalable, high-return startups, entrepreneurs need access to early stage capital and great resources. According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, Web-knowledgeable small- and midsize-firms in a range of industries outpace their less Internet-savvy counterparts in job creation by more than two to one. Through the office of the Entrepreneur-In-Residence and the Innovators Credit Fund, Dell is committed to fueling the growth of entrepreneurs and the jobs they create.”

How many applications have you received so far?

“During the first week, we received more than 100 applications and we continue to receive additional applications every day. The level of response reaffirms for us that this initiative truly addresses the needs of entrepreneurs and resonates with them.”

Do you have an idea of how many are related in some way to healthcare?

“Life science and healthcare startups are top of mind in the funding community, and for Dell. The 2011 HALO Report shows that healthcare companies received a greater percentage of angel investment dollars than startups from any other industry in 2011. And, a recent survey from the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) found that 61 percent of venture capitalists expect investment in health IT to increase in 2012. We anticipate the breakdown of the Dell Innovators Credit Fund membership to be similar as we grow and develop this initiative.”