Nashville is home to 17 publicly-traded healthcare companies, the premiere Vanderbilt University Medical Center and startups bringing in tens of millions of venture capital funding each year. Healthcare represents the city’s largest and fastest-growing industry

It’s also home to a seed fund that brings that industry together around up-and-coming health startup ideas from around the nation. The organization called Jumpstart Foundry is hitting I-40 next week for trips to Raleigh and Durham, in hopes of recruiting startups to join its 2016 program and to find mentors and investors interested in getting involved.
I caught up with organizer and talent lead Daniel Oppong this week to learn more about the organization, in prep for its visits to HQ Raleigh on Feb. 3rd and American Underground on the 4th. 
Instead, they annually host a healthcare innovation conference called Health: Further, where industry leaders, innovators and investors come together to talk about issues and opportunities in the industry. Each Jumpstart Foundry company gets the chance to pitch at the event alongside other healthcare innovators from around the nation. Health: Further Quarterly events have since been added to continue those connections year-round.

The first nationwide tour

Though Jumpstart Foundry typically draws hundreds of applications each year, a goal is to find the very best companies to take advantage of the Nashville ecosystem and opportunities in the field, so this year, they’re hitting the road to recruit.
Raleigh and Durham were chosen as the first stops because of the perceived strength of the healthcare innovation ecosystem here, as well as a connection to the region through the Google for Entrepreneurs hub network, of which American Underground and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center are a part.
Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis and New Orleans are next up on the list of cities. While the organization will host info sessions at both of the major startup campuses in the region, it also plans to meet with Rex Strategic Innovations and other investors and entrepreneurs plugged into the community. Oppong says he hopes to engage the entire healthcare ecosystem while in town, and to hopefully find companies that he can collaborate with or connect to Jumpstart. 
Specifically, Jumpstart is looking for healthcare IT, tech-enabled services and diagnostic devices. They can be any size company—pre-revenue or cash flow positive. Some of the more specific targets based on feedback from healthcare institutions in Nashville are B2C data collection tools (like wearable devices and the data associated) and care extension service models.
Key regardless of product or service, is the team involved. 
“Quality of team is important, and is there a market for what the team is designing? After we identify market opportunities—the gaps in the market these companies can fill—we decide if they are one of the companies that could fill it.”
Sign up for the Raleigh info session here or Durham here. And more information on the tour can be found here.