Tag Archives: VA

How Health Tech Startups Can Launch with Government Contracts

So you’re healthcare founder who has designed and built, by the sweat of your brow, a new platform or product that can help people live longer, healthier lives. Now, you just need to get it into people’s hands so they can use it, give feedback, help you iterate, and ultimately scale. As every founder knows, building the product is just a first step. Getting to market is a whole other challenge.

There are lots of different approaches for go-to-market strategy – with StartUp Health’s community of nearly 500 companies we’ve seen them all. One we wanted to highlight today is the idea of pursuing partnerships with the government or military. Given the enormous number of people that fall within the care of the military and federal agencies and the funding that gets allocated for their health, this is a tempting strategy. But it’s not for the faint of heart or those short on runway.

In this week’s podcast episode we’ll talk to two people who are making this marriage of startups and government contracts work – from two different angles.

First we’ll hear from Shireen Abdullah, CEO & Founder of Yumlish (which joined StartUp Health in 2019), about how she’s working with the US Air Force to help keep recruits healthy and service ready. Turns out, poor nutrition could actually become a national security threat.

Second, we’ll hear from the other side of the table. Suzy Shirley heads up community engagement at the VA’s Pathfinder program. Pathfinder was established just recently with the express purpose of making it easier for startups to access the Veterans Health Administration, which, if you’re not familiar, is massive. The VHA is the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, providing care at more than 1200 facilities, covering over nine million enrolled veterans. Many healthcare startups would love to work with this patient population, but traditionally the administrative barriers have been high. Suzy Shirley explains how her team is changing the paradigm. She provides some practical tips for how runway-limited startups can make meaningful headway with such a huge government institution and start piloting high-impact products.

Enjoy the episode, which was recorded at the ViVE 2023 conference in Nashville.

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