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Innovation often requires the sheer resilience and creativity of an entrepreneur, married with the success of established organizations. Neil Bergquist of Point B knows this all to well. He acts as a Sherpa to help ensure that healthcare solutions develop as quickly as possible. His official role as Innovation Architect, means that he spends most of his time incorporating entrepreneurial methodologies and thinking into large enterprises, often in the healthcare space. He’s a serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, and management consultant with Point B.

 

SW:  Tell us how you became involved with Startup Weekend: Health?

NB:  My friend Brady Ryan, one of the event’s co-organizers, told me about the region’s first Startup Weekend: Health edition, and I immediately asked how I could get involved as mentor.

SW: What type of consulting does Point B do for its healthcare clients?

NB:  Our healthcare team works with 40 different organizations across the country, and has completed more than 500 projects–ranging from strategy planning, to IT system implementations, business process improvement, to interim leadership. Personally, I help large corporate clients develop innovation ecosystems and guide them to become more entrepreneurial. A ‘day in the life’ for me includes developing workshops that help clients become the “best businesses of the future”, and to help them evolve their existing “core” businesses to address the changing environment.

Another big part of my role is to be a bridge between entrepreneurs building disruptive innovations, and the large established healthcare players who for the most part own the healthcare industry. It’s critical that the two work together, so that innovation can occur at a more rapid pace.

SW:  Name the biggest economic drivers for the Seattle region (in terms of healthcare innovation)?

NB:  Large self-ensured employers, like Boeing, are driving the industry changes. They need to cut costs, pure and simple. The healthcare industry is trying to respond with value-based solutions. In Seattle, we see providers looking to our rich technical talent pool to develop cost-saving solutions — either through big data, or consumer-facing applications that streamline processes and provide transparency to treatments and their outcomes.

Employers are also working with their employees (the consumer) to help them become more accountable for their health. Local startups like Limeade and Everymove.org, who offer corporate wellness programs, are great examples of companies providing innovative solutions to help employees become more aware of how they can help reduce their healthcare costs.

But we can’t have strong entrepreneurial organizations without proper financial resources. Per investment data provided by Pitchbook.com, Seattle-area healthcare-focused startups received $536 million in funding throughout 2014. Out of the capital invested, there were 26 deals and the top recipients include Juno therapeutics, Adaptive Biotechnologies and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals.  These capitol infusions in our region are encouraging, and demonstrate increasing investor confidence in our region.

SW:  Why did you choose to be a mentor in Startup Weekend?

NB:  Entrepreneurs take huge personal and professional risks when creating a startup, and the least I can do is offer to help them on their journey. Mentoring and supporting our community is part of the Point B culture.

SW: What do you hope to see resulting from the event? Give us your moonshot answer.

NB: I would love to see the teams walk away with a sincere passion for the healthcare industry. And while their version 1.0 ideas may or may not survive first contact with investors and customers, I am confident that they will develop a solution in the years to come.

 

 

Pam Miller