Innovation Blog

Insights from 2020 MassChallenge HealthTech Program Kickoff


On January 15th, the 2020 MassChallenge HealthTech cohort arrived from near and far to our Boston office to kick off the 2020 accelerator program. From over 350 applicants, this cohort is made up of 27 of the world’s top digital health startups, and they are looking to solve the foremost problems in healthcare. Here are some key highlights from the program kickoff:

1) HealthTech startups learned about resources MCHT offers to support their success

MassChallenge CEO Siobhan Dullea welcomed the startups and kicked off the day’s events with some inspiring words about the MassChallenge mission, driving home the point “our success is your success.” Siobhan expressed her excitement around seeing how the startups will grow during their time in the MassChallenge HealthTech program and beyond.

Nick Dougherty, Managing Director of MassChallenge HealthTech, then introduced the rest of the team and dove into all of the resources that the cohort will have access to over the next six months. He remarked, “We are here because we want to help you win.” Some of these resources include the incredible HealthTech community of alumni, mentors, investors, and partners, among others.

The 2020 MassChallenge HealthTech cohort will have access to a variety of research resources, including the Together.Health Security Assessment (THSA). THSA is a standard security assessment that helps health systems and vendors work together by translating security controls without disrupting existing workflow. Dougherty, who is also the Founding Co-Chair of Together.Health, looks forward to piloting THSA within the 2020 cohort.


Stacy Lloyd, Meg Barron, and Amanda Azadian from the American Medical Association shared information during orientation about resources that the startups can take advantage of during their time in the program. Resources include the Digital Health Implementation Playbook and Physician Innovation Network (PIN). They also shared their excitement around helping the startups develop tools to demonstrate digital health ROI.


To close out the day, the startups had the chance to network with professionals from the greater digital health community during Mentor Matching. 30+ mentors attended to network with the startups and offered their support to the startups to be a resource throughout the program.

2) HealthTech startups learned how to work with their Champions throughout the program

Throughout the accelerator, the 27 startups will collaborate with their Champions on demonstration projects to solve massive challenges in healthcare. Some of our HealthTech alumni returned to our Boston office to share invaluable knowledge and tips for the program as well as their experiences working with Champions.

Arun Buduri, founder and President of Pixm and 2019 alum provided insights into managing partnerships with 3+ Champion organizations. Amanda Bakerlee, Chief Product Officer of Medumo and 2018 award winner, shared her experience collaborating with Philips Healthworks and how it led to their acquisition.

Finally, Cait Kjolhede, Senior Director of Clinical Programs for DynamiCare Health, discussed their experience working with Harvard Pilgrim in 2018 and 2019. Cait shared her excitement around participating in MassChallenge HealthTech for the third time.


After gaining insights during the alumni panel, the startups had the opportunity to meet with their respective Champion(s) during the second day of orientation to set formal goals and milestones for the program ahead. These goals will be monitored by the HealthTech team throughout the coming months.

3) HealthTech startups celebrated the program kickoff with the digital health community


On January 16th, over 200 startups, champions, partners, mentors, and community members walked the red carpet into the movie-premiere themed Opening Night, sponsored by JP Morgan, to celebrate the official program kickoff.

Opening remarks were delivered by Siobhan Dullea, who highlighted that 48% of the 2020 cohort are women-led startups. Chris Lloyd from JP Morgan shared his excitement around collaborating with digital health startups and shared information about JP Morgan’s resources for startups. Mariya Filipova from Anthem also spoke about the impact of digital health on improving patient experiences.

Throughout the night, startups showcased their work in a science-fair-style setup. Attendees may have had the chance to experience the pain-relieving technology from Sana Health firsthand or be greeted by the adorable robotic companion Cutii.

Some startups were interviewed by Ray Dogum from Health Unchained and Laura Lovett from MobiHealthNews at the media stage, where they were able to share more about their work and aspirations for the program.

Overall a very promising start to the 2020 program, it will be very exciting to see the great things this cohort will accomplish over the next six months.

Check back in here and follow MassChallenge HealthTech on social media for updates on the cohort! To hear more and meet the startups yourself, grab tickets for our February HealthTechies event around AI in healthcare here.


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