Six Questions with 1776's Brittany Heyd

This year, PCHAlliance has partnered with 1776 to bring you the Startup+ Workshop at HIMSS17. If you aren't yet familiar, 1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that helps engineer the success of the word's most promising startups tackling important challenges in areas like healthcare, among many others.

The PCHAlliance team and its HIMSS17 Collaborators reached out to 1776 Managing Director & General Counsel, Brittany Heyd (@BrittanyHeyd), with some questions about the organization and insights for healthcare startups trying to break into the field. See her responses below and learn more by attending the Startup+ Workshop at HIMSS17 and following #HITventure on Twitter!


1) Brittany, can you tell us the story behind the creation of 1776, and in particular, how the founders decided to position the platform on regulated industries?
1776 was founded on the ideas that entrepreneurs exist everywhere and can improve critical industries through new technology. We saw how technology massively transformed consumer industries over the previous decade, and we knew that we needed to drive the same transformation for critical industries like education, health, cities, and energy that have not yet fully come into the digital economy. We knew that connecting the right entrepreneurs, experts, institutions, and investors could improve access and opportunity for startups to drive innovation. 

Four years later, we have seen astonishing changes — huge startup successes, increased venture capital going into these critical industries, corporations seeing startups as key partners in furthering innovation, and governments pushing innovation agendas that help to support technological development in these areas. 

2) Can you tell us how you came to join the organization?

I am on the founding team and met the co-founders, Evan Burfield and Donna Harris, through Startup America, an initiative led by Steve Case to build startup communities across the country. We all saw an opportunity for entrepreneurship to have an even greater impact on the economy, and we wanted to expand its reach in critical industries by working with institutions and regulators.

3) What are you looking forward to about participating in HIMSS17 with PCHAlliance?

I am looking forward to connecting innovators in the healthcare industry together. Whether a startup or a big organization, we often have the same goals. It's amazing to see people of different backgrounds working together to solve major challenges and learning about each other's worlds. 

4) What would you say is the biggest pain point for healthcare startups today?

The complexity of the industry and the payment mechanisms often make it hard for startups to test the market or do pilot programs to validate their concepts without spending a lot of time or money. That's why it's critical for events like HIMSS17 with PHCAlliance to convene both startups and industry leaders so that startups have opportunities to connect and form meaningful partnerships. 

5) Your platform is global — What percent of your participants come from a country other than the US? How do you address the challenges of the regulatory differences around the world?

Approximately 15 percent of our member startups are based outside the United States. We don't claim to solve the regulatory differences around the world, but we work to connect startups to the relevant stakeholders and experts in their markets and provide entrepreneurs with a platform.

6) Share your biggest learning moment and how it’s impacted your approaches moving forward.

There are so many! Not only do I learn from our own experience, but also from witnessing the experiences of all our member startups. 

The biggest lesson I've learned is how important it is to validate your hypotheses in the market. It's critical to really know your customers and what their pain points are, then start small before scaling so that you know you have a product that solves a real need. The other big lesson is to really know your data so that you can make informed decisions about what strategies make sense. 


in health and IT meet.