The health industry is changing in a massive way. Technology is having a huge impact on medicine, biotechnology and hospitals and it is also encouraging a new generation of health startups, not particularly common in such a traditional industry.
Cambia Grove, a healthcare innovation hub in Seattle, is hoping to help those companies grow and connect through its new startup census, a database of health startups in Washington State. The organization is hoping to expand the census to other states in the coming months, including Oregon, Utah, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada.
“At Cambia Grove, we seek to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the traditional healthcare sector,” Cambia Grove Executive Director Maura Little told GeekWire. “A lot of the time the question is: who are the entrepreneurs out there?”
Little said the goal is to “build upon what’s going on in the community and make sure we have something to point to,” regarding health startups in the Pacific Northwest.
Health tech is increasingly a focus of larger technology companies, as well. Just this morning, Amazon announced a new venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to provide healthcare tech solutions for their U.S. employees.
Cambia Grove was founded in 2015 by Portland-based healthcare company Cambia Health Solutions. The new startup census counts 468 health startups in Washington state, 305 of those in the life sciences area. That includes everything from agricultural startups to small biotechnology or medical device companies.
But it also includes the growing number of companies that fall into digital health (81), health IT (56) and healthcare services (18). Little said part of why the census is so interesting is because many of these companies don’t fall into one distinct category.
“The startups that we’re capturing don’t fall under any North American Industrial Classification System codes in a finely defined set of industry clusters,” she said. “They’re organizations that are trying to help transform the healthcare industry at large.”
Little said she hopes the census helps entrepreneurs gain visibility and connect with resources, and also said she hopes it will give organizations a go-to resource for understanding the health landscape in Washington. Cambia Grove is also encouraging entrepreneurs in the health space to submit their information as the organization keeps building the database.
Most of the companies on the list so far are in Seattle — 233 — with many in other regional cities like Bellevue, Redmond and Bothell. Outside the Seattle region, Spokane and Vancouver lead the pack with 18 and 13 startups, respectively.
“The research base in the life science industry in Washington state is incredible,” Little said. “We get so many federal funds pumped into this region that we have this incredible research engine that creates more and more companies.”