Introducing the Healthcare Co-op: A New Resource for the Next Wave of Healthcare Founders

A year ago, we helped get the Product Co-op off the ground. It’s a group of six product leaders that advises and invests in founders taking on tough product challenges. Our goal was to enable a new wave of angels — organized around skill set and passion — to serve as a resource right when they can make the biggest impact for founders. The Product Co-op has had a busy first year, backing 11 early stage companies and finding new ways to engage with product builders from the start of their journey.

Now, we’re continuing our experiment by launching the Healthcare Co-op, a group of three healthcare leaders excited to work with founders pushing our healthcare system towards a better future. The Co-op’s founding partners include physician and entrepreneur Dr. Connie Chen, Freenome CEO and co-founder Gabe Otte, and Clover Health Chief of Staff Kiran Gollakota. Together, they’ll advise and invest in founders starting software-driven healthcare companies at the earliest stage, with First Round kicking in capital and operational support.

from left (Chen, Otte and Gollakota)

There’s a wave of startups building the next generation of tools for care providers, introducing new models for insurance, and bridging the gaps between software development and biology. First Round has been fortunate to invest first in several companies at the intersection of new software and legacy healthcare systems, including Flatiron, Clover Health, Notable Labs, Nomad Health, PatientPing, Suki, and Forward.

Working with these companies, we saw a need for more angels who’ve walked in the shoes of the founders they back — expert healthcare operators whose experience spans the ecosystem. The Healthcare Co-op partners have navigated the complexities of government healthcare programs and built partnerships with the world’s largest insurers and pharmaceutical companies. They’ve led teams of health coaches, research scientists, regulatory affairs specialists, and software engineers. They are developing FDA-regulated products, treating patients, and building data integrations with hospital systems. Collectively, the Co-op partners bring the context and expertise to support the unique task of building a healthcare startup.

Like the Product Co-Op, the Healthcare Co-op wants to meet founders early — before they feel ready to raise, before their first hospital pilot, insurance partnership, or proof of concept. That’s when they can best apply their active and ongoing experience and serve as thought partners to entrepreneurs, spending real time in the earliest days of company creation. If you’re a founder working on the first draft of your health-focused company, this might be a good fit for you.

The Co-op model is still an experiment and we’re excited to see it grow, offering new partners to a different community of entrepreneurs.

Have more questions about the Healthcare Co-op? Learn more from its partners and check out our FAQ.

The first round for remarkable founders.