Arkansas Blue Cross joins healthcare startup hub for incubator program

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 318 views 

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is joining a consortium that aims to recruit and develop healthcare innovation startup companies in Arkansas.

The state’s largest health insurer is joining Baptist Health in partnership with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub to support HubX—LifeSciences – a business incubator program focused on accelerating the development of new startup companies in the healthcare delivery field. Terms of the private investment were not disclosed.

“In our ever-changing environment, it is imperative to innovate and re-create the way we do business to better serve our members to ensure they have access to quality healthcare and reliable, affordable health insurance,” said Mark White, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross. “Effectively reaching healthcare consumers, empowering them with information they can understand for making good decisions, and providing them with the tools they need to make the process easy are all paramount to the future health of our members and all Arkansans. We want to encourage companies with bright, motivated employees to consider the possibilities of a great, new healthcare system.”

In late October, HubX—LifeSciences was announced. The initiative hopes to develop 10 healthcare-related startup companies in the state. It is Arkansas’ first business accelerator that will be privately funded and targeted toward a specific industry.

“We are very pleased and excited that Arkansas Blue Cross is joining Baptist Health to present HubX—LifeSciences,” said Warwick Sabin, executive director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. “With the active support and participation of the state’s largest health insurer and the state’s largest health system, this program is well-positioned to make Arkansas a national leader in health care innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Up to 10 startup companies will be invited to participate in the 13-week program after several months of national and international recruitment. Application deadlines are open through Feb. 15. Each company will receive seed investment and mentorship services. Initial seed investments into the companies will range from $25,000 to $50,000, and the companies also will qualify for additional back-end investments.

The participating companies will be selected based on their potential to provide solutions to several key priorities identified by Baptist Health and Arkansas Blue Cross, which include digital health care platforms, healthcare services, and medical devices.

“At Baptist Health, we are constantly looking for innovative solutions to better serve Arkansans and make our health system better,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “This effort really is about the strength of partnerships, and with the collaboration of Arkansas Blue Cross, we will be better positioned to help pave the way for business development, health care innovation, and better care for Arkansans through the state’s first healthcare accelerator. We are very pleased that the state’s largest insurer has agreed to join us in this endeavor.”

The Innovation Hub is planning to introduce other industry-specific accelerator programs under the HubX name in the near future.