Paul Sonnier writes:
Group: Wireless Health
Subject: New Mentor at Blueprint Health and Lessons from Venture “Assistant”, Vinod Khosla
Dear Wireless Health group members,
I founded the group to connect people, facilitate knowledge sharing, and accelerate health-related business innovations by entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies. Helping entrepreneurs is something that I’m particularly passionate about. In this context, I am excited to announce that I am now a mentor at Blueprint Health, the health and wellness-focused startup accelerator based in New York City.
In a recent interview, Vinod Khosla – who just closed a new $1B investment fund – stated that he is a “venture assistant”, not a venture capitalist. The hands-on assistance his firm provides to entrepreneurs is a core component of his investment success. A case in point is Jawbone, which was about to go under when Vinod invested in it. Vinod’s partner, David Weiden, made a key introduction to AT&T, whose distribution channel enabled a massive growth in sales, thus saving the company. (It’s noteworthy that UP, the company’s newest product is, you guessed it, a personal connected health solution. Another portfolio company is ZocDoc, the OpenTable-like application for making healthcare appointments.)
Why does this matter? In the relatively chaotic and burgeoning digital health innovation space, the startups that succeed will most likely do so as a result of the hands-on assistance provided by mentors and investors, who partner with them and amplify their talents via strategic advice, key introductions, and the ability to foresee and help guide entrepreneurs through the inevitable pivot points that occur along the way.
In my evolution as a social and business entrepreneur, the Blueprint Health mentor role is a huge step forward and further validation of my efforts. I’m eager to focus my energy on helping entrepreneurs, starting with the inaugural class this January. This is not a full-time role and I’ll continue working with the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance, serving as a co-chair of the Healthcare Communications SIG at CommNexus San Diego and, of course, curating and building the Wireless Health LinkedIn group.
A brief overview of Blueprint Health:
Blueprint Health is a TechStars affiliated startup accelerator program based in NYC that helps early stage healthcare companies get started. Surround yourself with nearly 100 mentors – healthcare entrepreneurs, VCs and innovators – that want to help you succeed! Over the course of a 3 month program, we support entrepreneurs who are building innovative companies at the intersection of health and technology by providing capital, office space and, most critically, access to the most robust community of healthcare mentors of any accelerator program. We encourage you to learn more and to apply to our Winter program, which starts January 12th, by visiting http://www.blueprinthealth.org/
Also, here’s a link to the fascinating interview with Vinod Khosla: What Cash Crunch? Khosla Ventures Closes Another $1 Billion Fund – http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/13/khosla-ventures-1-billion-fund/