Maura Rosenfeld | MindUP - The Digital Health Incubator
“Startups are the Heart of our Future”
Imagine a future where digital health is interwoven in your everyday life, smart and available to everyone in early detection and care.
Mindup’s mission is to help early stage startups with ideas, co-developing them into disruptive and bold visions, assembling the right team for the mission, and providing the tools and knowledge to make those visions a reality.
Originally from Pittsburgh right here in Pennsylvania, Maura got her BA from the University of Michigan, her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her MBA from Manchester University. She made Aliyah to Israel in 1994. Today she lives in Ramat Gan, and commutes to the MindUP incubator Haifa 3 times a week by train, and her favorite thing to do in life is protesting to protect our democracy.
It was amazing to have Maura Rosenfeld as our guest on Lunch Study. This was a crowd pleaser with a big audience of stakeholders.
Maura is the Chief Business Officer of MindUp, an Israeli incubator that provides pre-seed investments in digital health and healthcare. This means very early-stage companies, for whom this would be the first money invested to develop their ideas. Likely, they have neither product nor customers, but the science may be compelling. Or, they have data to back up their scientific hypothesis. Mostly, this would be data they didn’t collect but which backs into their work. If they need to collect data, the risk grows because of the uncertainty and because collecting data will burn up much of the available cash.
MindUp is supported by the Israeli Innovation Authority which funnels money for specific types of research and innovation (like Bioconvergence) through incubators directly to the startups. It also has partners like IBM and Medtronics as well as Rambam hospital. MindUp becomes a shareholder in each of the companies it incubates.
We visited MindUp and spent much of the day meeting companies during our mission to Israel last November. You can read our blog post from that visit.
Maura says that companies coming out of their 2-year program will inevitably look toward the U.S. market to grow. Europe would be attractive as well, but most investors are found in the U.S. (note to our investor friends…). When companies come to the states, they need to work with a partner that can help them navigate the incentive/reimbursement/insurance landscape which is fragmented. They should take this time to conduct the right scope of customer discovery and adjustment to the US market.
The PICC is always proud to welcome new member companies and support them in our region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware in conducting exactly this stage of market discovery.
Maura says it feels good to go to work each day supporting companies that can save and improve lives. And she says that the advancements in personalized medicine will one day make our current approach to therapy seem barbaric. Maura explains how Israeli HMOs count on needing to keep the patient healthy over a lifetime, and they invest accordingly to achieve this, while U.S. HMOs, by the nature of fragmented insurance, measure relationships by lengths of contracts. It’s a completely different horizon.
Her advice to startups: it’s all about the data. Map your cash. And learn to listen. If you listen, the answers will present themselves.
Let us know if you’re a company considering the U.S. market that needs local introductions and a community to walk before you can run.