Hosts: Briteseed and InsightPD
What: Panel, pitches and networking
When: Thursday, June 26, 830a-12p
Where: Welltech 2014 (Techweek, in the Merchandise Mart)
Cost – FREE: You need a Techweek Expo badge to attend, and it’s free with discount code JWG5ZLE8 **seating will be limited, be sure to get there early


Pat Flavin, MATTER’s executive director, will lead a panel discussion centered on medtech innovation in Chicago, how it happens, and perhaps, how it will happen in the near future :)

Panel participants represent the areas of entrepreneurship, community organization, tech transfer, government and funding:

  1. Mert Iseri – SwipeSense
  2. Maryam Saleh – INVO, Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office
  3. Andrew Moyer – IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  4. Subbu Arumugam – Chicago Health 2.0
  5. Jeff Carter – Hyde Park Angels

The six startups that will be pitching are:

  1. HealthyTXT
  2. Purple Binder
  3. SwipeSense
  4. CareMerge
  5. Innoblative Designs
  6. Orphaden Therapeutics

More info about the event, hope to see you this Thursday!

(Interested in learning more about MATTER, Chicago’s medtech community hub? Follow MATTER on Twitter, and join their newsletter.)


Hey there health tech entrepreneurs!

Probably none of you are interested in becoming certified in medical coding and billing… but this is an important “back office” activity that happens in every clinic and hospital. It helps the wheel go round by paying providers for services rendered.

If you’d like a high level understanding, here is a 2 minute overview video and here’s a 5 minute video that explains how billers and coders interact with the rest of the healthcare ecosystem. These videos are courtesy the MB & CC non-profit.


The Chicago Health 2.0 Team


Subbu is a volunteer organizer for Chicago Health Tech, the local Health 2.0 chapter, and a first time entrepreneur working on his startup for the past 6+ years. Subbu tweets about healthcare and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter.

This post has value for any and all tech entrepreneurs - health tech or not. If you already know about marketplaces, network effect, and how hard it is to create a marketplace dynamic, then skip to the bottom section titled “Chris Dixon Brilliance” where I list and link to Chris Dixon’s well written and concise posts that might help you create the magic. Chris Dixon is a serial entrepreneur, and a partner with sexy VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz.

What’s a marketplace?

Many tech startups are looking to build marketplace businesses. At a minimum, a marketplace consists of one group that provides value to another. Think of eBay: sellers and buyers. Or a farmer’s market: farmers, of course and farm-to-table enthusiasts. Or a conference: attendees, and exhibitors.

What’s a network effect?

Creating a two-sided market is no easy feat. But if successfully done, you are definitely increasing value for all the parties that you are servicing. Economists call this the network effect - Wikipedia article. The best example is actually a non-marketplace analogy: the telephone. If you were the only person with one, it would be nothing more than a brick. But as more people “buy-in” and get on board, the value of your phone increases.

A marketplace example that illustrates the protection offered by a network effect is craigslist, the online classifieds site. Its user interface hasn’t been updated since 2001. You’d think that others would try to grab market share with an updated interface. Many have, and they’ve all failed… unless they go after smaller sub-verticals, with added features. (Looking for a babysitter? Are you going to use craigslist? Or a service that rates and reviews them creating trust.)

Yes, it’s another chicken and egg problem, the effing bane of entrepreneurship. How do you convince one party to use your service if the other group isn’t yet there?

Reddit’s first few months

The best hack I’ve ever heard described was Reddit’s, the social news site where users submit links to stories etc, and they vote up the most interesting to the “front page”.

Reddit’s two-sided marketplace includes submitters, and readers. There is cross-over in this example, where either party can also participate as the other, similar to eBay’s sellers and buyers.

At the beginning, there was no Reddit community. Most people who visit a community-based site with no activity, will hit their browser’s back button before the page completes loading. No one wants to hang out in a ghost town.

So founders Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman created multiple fake user accounts, submitted stories under these “fake” accounts, and filled up their home page with content while presenting visitors with the feel of a lively and vibrant “community”. (Steve Huffman tells it all in this awesome 4 minute Udacity video – please, please, please watch it!)

What the eff does this have to do with Health Tech?

Every now and again, I offer to meet with entrepreneurs during Chicago Health Tech office hours – announced via our newsletter, which also includes info on upcoming local health tech events. The number one business model that I see involves bringing two different parties to the table, where there is no value for one party if the other isn’t already there and waiting. Think about how many groups are involved in the healthcare equation. Patients. Clinicians. Providers and care organizations. Payers. Here’s an example:

Entrepreneur: “Hey Ms Hospital Executive, do you want to use my awesome software that will get you new patients?”
Hospital Executive: “How many patients are using it now?”
Entrepreneur: “None, but once you get on board, they’ll start coming!”
Hospital Executive: “When patients are using your service, come back.”

That’s just one. I go through many different marketplace business model exercises, entrepreneur after entrepreneur, over and over again. I always conclude those sessions by pointing the entrepreneur to the Chris Dixon strategies listed below. Maybe now I can save some personal bandwidth by first pointing entrepreneurs here! :)

So without further ado…

Chris Dixon Brilliance: strategies to build marketplaces

  1. The bowling pin strategy
  2. Six strategies for overcoming “chicken and egg” problems
  3. The “ladies-night” strategy
  4. The “thin edge of the wedge” strategy



Subbu is a volunteer organizer for Chicago Health Tech, the local Health 2.0 chapter, and a first time entrepreneur working on his startup for the past 6+ years. Subbu tweets on healthcare and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter.

(I have an ask at the end of this post. Please do me a solid and help me out.)

MATTER’s mission

MATTER is going to impact health and healthcare for the better, support entrepreneurs, and create new businesses and jobs in Chicago. This is how I perceive it, and I believe that’s not far off from how the core team thinks about it. (I’m happy to edit this MATTER team, just let me know!)

MATTER is a med tech center – it is not a life sciences center

The team behind MATTER brands it as “med tech” because that description directly maps back to the mission of impacting health and healthcare for patients.

What are life sciences? The study of living organisms. That’s several levels away from near-ready technology that can be commercialized and delivered to impact patient lives.

MATTER is not a bio tech center – but there will be some biotech businesses co-located within

MATTER will be home to four different categories of businesses, all of them directly impact patient care through commercialized technology. Only one of those categories is biotech. “Med tech” equally respects each different business type that will call MATTER home: health tech, medical devices, pharma and biotech.

MATTER is not an incubator and it is not an accelerator – the team behind it calls it a “center”, and I call it a “community hub”

This is the toughest distinction to make. But I can attest that the team behind MATTER will not refer to it as an incubator or an accelerator, and they make a point to not do so. They are looking to be inclusive of multiple parties, functions and features. I think because of this, they default to referring to it as a center.

I particularly don’t like the “center” moniker, and use “community hub”. My description suggests gathering and helping – what do you think MATTER team? :)

Why is MATTER not an incubator? “Incubators maintain under controlled conditions for the development of a reaction” – if you attended the presser last week, you heard David Schonthal remark that it is about density to promote serendipitous knowledge sharing. Entrepreneurship is anything but “controlled”. There is no repeatable play book. (Didn’t attend the press conference? David’s remarks are largely reproduced in this post.)

Why is MATTER not an accelerator? Sure. MATTER will help startups reach milestones faster. But it’s not just for startups. Also, at this moment in time and history, the term “accelerator” in the context of startups connotes very specific things: an equity transaction for participating in the “program”, a class where a cohort of startups will “start” together, participate in defined programming and receive mentorship, and then “graduate” together with a demo day where they formally pitch to investors. MATTER, a non-profit, is certainly not doing any of that. The local analogy is 1871 and TechStars Chicago, housed within: 1871 is not an accelerator or an incubator, but TechStars Chicago is an accelerator.

MY ASK: If you see anyone refer to MATTER as an accelerator, incubator, biotech center or life sciences center… slap them! Please correct their mistake in the comments section, if you’re reading an article online. If you see the mistake on Twitter, please don’t perpetuate it with a blind re-tweet. At this point in time, branding is crucial to MATTER’s mission.


Subbu is a volunteer organizer for Chicago Health Tech, the local Health 2.0 chapter, and a first time entrepreneur working on his startup for the past 6+ years. Subbu tweets on healthcare and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the awesomeness that is being created in that empty space immediately adjacent to 1871. It’s going to be a community hub for healthcare startups called MATTER, and it was launched at a press event 5 days ago.

Unfortunately, every professional article published after the event freaking sucked – nothing new or insightful beyond the press release. No information answering questions like: Why does the community need MATTER? Who worked hard to make it reality? How can you apply to get a spot? What does the name mean? How was the logo created? So, here’s my stab below. (FYI: There were two insightful posts by non-journalists: one by Jeff Carter, and a photo essay by Howard Tullman. I link to both below, in context.)

matter logo

Who is the team behind MATTER?

David Schonthal, Andrew Cittadine, Dan Lyne, Steven Collens, John Flavin and Pat Flavin.  I imagine just to make MATTER a reality, this core group gathered together countless nights in dark rooms where fists bloodied walls, heads banged tables and expletives dripped into mugs of beer. Yes, there were many others who helped push them over the goal line. But the six listed above are your heroes.


David Schonthal pictured as he offers his remarks at the press conference – courtesy Howard Tullman - see Howard’s photo essay of the event.

Why does Chicago need MATTER? How did it come about? The conversation, and the question.

David’s remarks at Thursday’s press conference inexplicably didn’t make their way into any news story. So I’m reproducing most of them here.

MATTER will be realized because of a conversation between two friends that happened over two years ago. David returned back home to Chicago after building and investing in medical device startups for seven years in San Diego, and Andrew Cittadine returned after building his third medical device startup in Silicon Valley.

From David and Andrew’s point of view, Chicago had every element needed to become a hot bed of healthcare entrepreneurship: world class research, top hospitals, leading pharma and device companies, more MDs per capita than any city in the country, and several organizations designed to stitch some of these pieces together. But with all of these elements, healthcare startups weren’t forming at scale. Most who tried failed. Why?

Density. Chicago didn’t have it. Not the kind that David experienced in San Diego, or Andrew in Silicon Valley. The type of density that could foster regular interaction between all of the different stakeholders. Something that creates serendipitous knowledge sharing among entrepreneurs, and their supporters. Chicago has assets and people. But they are widely distributed across a region that spans from Waukegan to Batavia and all the way down to Warsaw, Indiana.

Why does density matter? Crucial to entrepreneurship are seemingly random interactions among individuals. And so their discussion focused on it. In fact, I’ll recount one specific moment that I experienced that explains what David and Andrew mean by density:

I was at the water cooler in 1871. Yes, the water cooler, for real. An entrepreneur with a health tech startup was desperately trying to find an “out of the box” solution for a HIPAA compliant web host that would also sign a business associate agreement on their behalf with a hospital, to help close a pilot. He spotted me to ask if I knew of one. I was aware another startup recently found such a provider, but didn’t know the name of the service. And at that moment, the co-founder of the second startup happened to just be walking by. I made the handshake.

This encounter typifies serendipitous knowledge sharing fostered by density. 1871 has about ten health tech startups among 250 digital startups – the chances that this encounter played out as it did are low. But at MATTER, it will happen multiple times per day.

So for a healthcare startup to succeed, who are all the stakeholders in the long, complex and multi-faceted value chain? Investors. R & D. Regulators. Providers. Payers. And of course, entrepreneurs, and their mentors. All of these individuals must interact and collaborate in order to get a game-changing drug, device or diagnostic product to market.

David and Andrew’s conversation from two years ago ended with a question: could a center be created that would pull all of these members of the healthcare community together? This destination would collectively help bring the next generation of drugs, devices, diagnostic products and services that will impact patient lives for the better, and also create new businesses and jobs in Chicago and Illinois.

The answer to David and Andrew’s question, of course, is MATTER.

Who is MATTER really for? Will MATTER really matter?

MATTER will be a community hub that will attract and gather the different members of our healthcare community: entrepreneurs, established business leaders, universities, institutions, government, researchers, technologists, providers, payors and service providers.

This density will result in a path to market for new technologies, but also new businesses that intersect the seemingly disparate categories of health IT, biotech, pharma and medical devices.

David’s conclusion was soul-stirring, because he highlighted, underlined, bolded and elevated one of the stakeholders, above all others. You, the entrepreneur. “We exist to support [entrepreneurs]. We exist to enable them. And we exist to help them achieve success as quickly, as efficiently as possible.”

Jeff Carter, co-founder of Hyde Park Angels, and an angel investor explains in a blog post why medical startups are tough, and how MATTER will hopefully help.

What is Chicago Health Tech’s role in all of this?

We’re one of many community organizations that will be housed in MATTER. We represent and support health tech entrepreneurs, and we are innovation-centric. We look forward to having a permanent home co-located with our entrepreneur members, and like-minded stake holders, all aligned by similar goals. Also, our future programming will be in MATTER’s event space. We are grateful to David, Andrew, Steven, Dan, John and Pat for thinking of us, excited by their invitation to be a founding partner, and humbled to have participated in the press conference.

What are the rental options, and how can startups apply?

Everyone keeps asking us. We don’t know. When we hear anything official, we’ll definitely tell you. Unofficially, they want early-stage startups to call MATTER home, and they are sensitive to the fact that many of you at that stage aren’t generating revenue. I suggest that you sign up for the MATTER newsletter to get information about this and other such things directly from their team.

About the name and logo

MATTER, based on the concept from the physical sciences, the substance that makes up physical products. The analogy in this instance refers to gathering various stakeholders in healthcare to create products that impact the lives of patients.

Look closely at the logo. All letters that spell out MATTER are there. Also, two interesting patterns emerge by overlaying the letters:

  1. Geeks who know about Daniel Burnham, the architect who designed Chicago after the fire of 1871 may see a pattern in the logo that resembles some of his street plans
  2. The oldest symbol that represents Chicago is a “Y”, called the municipal device
    1. Each branch of the Y represents a branch of the Chicago river
    2. Look around the city, you’ll see it everywhere (article with cool pics)

More information



Press Conference, 12th Floor, Merchandise Mart – in that huge empty space right next to 1871!

Governor Pat Quinn just announced Matter - a new non-profit co-working space for healthcare startups that Pat Flavin will lead as its Executive Director. Matter will be located in the Merchandise Mart and occupy approximately 25,000 square feet, immediately East of 1871.

The concept began as a conversation between David Schonthal, partner with Fusion Ventures, Kellogg professor of entrepreneurship & Ideo Venture Catalyst and Andrew Cittadine, a successful serial medical devices entrepreneur – both are great friends of Chicago Health Tech, and have participated as moderators/ mentors at many of our past events.

1871′s collaborative atmosphere and targeted resources have successfully catapulted numerous tech startups into high growth trajectories, and these triumphs rallied our public and private sectors around Matter – a similar community and facility, but one focused solely on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.

Matter will support mainly health tech and medical devices startups, and provide entrepreneurs with specialized resources, content and mentorship – and inexpensive rent options. This med tech center will also aid pharmaceutical and biotech startups.

The build-out is being underwritten by $4 MM in state funding, and expected to be completed this Fall - at which point Chicago Health Tech and Health 2.0 will move in to our new permanent home! We’ll be hosting nearly all of our events at Matter, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Two final notes: we’re hopeful that most of Chicago’s health tech entrepreneurs will also call Matter home, and we are ever so grateful to the team that overcame multiple obstacles to make this possible – David Schonthal, Andrew Cittadine, Pat Flavin, Steven Collens, Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, ChicagoNext, and everyone else! Effing awesome Chicagoans!

Please follow us on Twitter and join our newsletter for future updates on Matter. Also, we have rough footage of the event – if it is watchable, we’ll post it and here in a few hours. We’ll let you know about that via Twitter and the newsletter. And Follow Matter on Twitter.

Participants included Governor Pat Quinn, JB Pritzker (Chairman of ChicagoNext), Jeff Aronin (Chairman and CEO of Paragon Pharmaceuticals, chair of World Business Chicago’s ChicagoNext Bioscience Committee), Jeff Malehorn (President and CEO of World Business Chicago), Tim Walbert (President and CEO of Horizon Pharma), David Schonthal (Partner, Fusion Ventures), Patrick Flavin (Executive Director of Matter, Flavin Ventures Partner), Andrew Cittadine (Co-founder and CEO, Diagnostic Photonics), Steven Collens (SVP of Pritzker Group), Nancy Sullivan, Norbert Riedel, Michael Liang and Adam Pollett.


About us:

Chicago Health Tech and Health 2.0 is a volunteer-driven community organization managed by four unsalaried volunteers: our focus is promoting health tech entrepreneurship and innovations in health and healthcare delivery. We’re 4 years old, and nearly 1,000 members strong.

Who we are:

We are healthcare entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs from other industries looking to enter healthcare, first time entrepreneurs, and “wantrepreneurs” considering the leap towards entrepreneurship. We are software developers, user experience designers and care providers with entrepreneurial aspirations. We are executives at care organizations and insurers, professional investors and care providers who want to help entrepreneurs impact health and healthcare.

There are approximately 30 committed local startups that participate in our events; “committed” because their teams are full-time. There are about another 15 health tech companies in growth phase.

What we do:

We bring all these enthusiasts together with content-driven events, usually every month – including 2 full day conferences each year, the first is a basic introduction and summary for newcomers, and the second is an advanced conference exploring a sub-topic with multiple opportunities ripe for targeted innovation.

Last Fall, we tied our October conference to Chicago’s first Health Innovation Festival, to highlight our city’s rich health tech ecosystem. We will do that again this Fall in a much bigger way.

(Agendas for our past conferences: Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2012)

Where you can find us:

We have been based in 1871 since it opened, which is also home to ten health tech startups.

Download our alternate logo:

Alternate Chicago Health Tech Logo

Need more information?

Contact Subbu Arumugam – subbu at chicagohealthtech dot org

Join our newsletter to learn about health tech events around Chicago. Follow us on Twitter.


We’re pleased to announce Chicago’s 1st Health Innovation Week kicking off on October 19 and culminating with the Chicago Health 2.0 Local Conference on October 26.


Saturday, October 26 Health 2.0 Local Chicago Conference!

Friday, October 25

Thursday, October 24

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Brushfires, Explosions & Implosions — 10 failures by health tech entrepreneurs

Tuesday, October 22

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Consumerism in Healthcare: It’s Here, Like It Or Not! ~ hosted at Connected Health in Bucktown

Saturday, October 19

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Physician Innovators Summit, with Fuze Physician Collaborative ~ MDs only

Thursday, October 17

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Lean Innovation in a $100 Billion company: UnitedHealth Group - presented by Chicago Lean Startup Circle


Crain’s ran a profile on Ben Albert from Care Team Connect and shared their founder’s story. We are great fans of the CTC team and are thrilled to see them profiled. Everyone is trying to wrap their arms around ways to solve the post-acute care coordination in an effort to deal with the readmission rate penalties and the challenge of settling on new payment reimbursement models. Until the dust settles, organizations will need to test out different and flexible care management models.


Care Team Connect provides a software platform that plugs into clients’ electronic patient records. Using this info, algorithms compose step-by-step guides to help providers care for patients after they’re discharged. The software also “listens” for real-time signals in clients’ data that could alert a nurse or doctor to check in on a patient.

Read more at:

Care Team Connect is based in Evanston, and by the way, they’re hiring!


Chicago Health 2.0 was featured on ABC7. Click the video below and jump to

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