The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) hosted its fourth annual Conference on Saturday, October 7th, at the Aloft Boston Seaport Hotel, highlighting female leaders and entrepreneurs in the healthtech field.
The HTVN 2017 Conference proudly welcomed over one hundred healthcare technology professionals – founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators – to Boston for a keynote, six panels which featured 30 inspiring speakers and the ELEVATE pitch competition that showcased early stage digital health and medtech companies. The day-long event generated conversations that led to further education on industry advancements, facilitated opportunities that fostered beneficial collaborations and inspired change to enhance all things healthtech.
Conference volunteer and WPI student Gabrielle France attested to the weight of the Conference highlight on a personal level, stating, “The major draw to me to attend today was definitely the presence of women… it’s great to have environments with women coming together so passionate about health and STEM careers in one place,” said France.
Dr. Vicki A. Barbur, Technology Transfer Officer of MITRE Corporation, kick started the day with her informational keynote address – “Lean Forward and Let Others Be the Catalyst for Your Success” – with a goal of broadening visibility to the kind of capabilities MITRE has to offer in terms of technology transfer, she said.
To follow Dr. Barbur’s address, progressive morning and afternoon breakout sessions ensued. Panels featured founders, innovators and executives who discussed valuable topics pertaining to the specific audience in attendance at each, including:
“How Healthtech Founders Can Leverage Growth Resources”
Educating aspiring and current entrepreneurs on the nuances of navigating and leveraging growth resources, attendees got the inside scoop on how to catalyze their startup. Featured speakers included Ashley Lucas of WIN Lab Boston, Kara O’Connor Miller of Women Entrepreneurs Boston, Dr. Kalyan Kalwa of Health Innovators and Dr. Vicki A. Barbur of MITRE – with panel moderator Samantha Simmons, MBA, of Curative Orthopaedics.
“Implementing Technology Solutions in Women’s Health”
Illuminating the audience on innovations in women’s health – from software solutions to medical devices – this group explored the potential and future of healthcare technology specifically designed for women. Featured speakers included Gina Nebesar of Ovia Health, Jerrold. M. Shapiro, BSEE, MSEE, MSBE, Ph.D., of Floelle and Holly Rockweiler, M.S., of Madorra – with moderator Rachel DiBella, MSW, LCSW, of Boston College Women’s Center.
“Female Leadership Benefiting Tech Innovation”
This round-table discussion dove into how technology innovation can benefit from female entrepreneurs in leadership, featuring speakers Astrid Chow, M.S., MBA, of IBM Watson Health, Vera T. Tice, MSEE, BEECE, of the Healthcare Delivery Institute at WPI, Dr. Candice M. Hughes, MBA, of Hughes BioPharma Advisers and Daryl Drabinsky of Aetna – moderated by Physician-Startup Advisor and Angel Investor Dr. Kirti A. Patel, MHL.
“Behind-the-Grind with Successful Female Health-Tech Entrepreneurs”
This group of ladies inspired new and seasoned entrepreneurs in the audience, as they shared stories from the front lines and tapped into the wisdom they’ve acquired on their entrepreneurial journeys thus far. Speakers included Tiffany Kelley, Ph.D., MBA, R.N., of Nightingale Apps, Dr. Alisa Niksch of Genetesis, Kezia Fitzgerald of CareAline Products and Dr. YiDing Yu of Twiage – with Linda Stacy of LivingBluPrint as moderator.
“To hear the other women’s stories and to hear how similar, not necessarily the specifics are, but just the accounts of the day-to-day. It’s a struggle sometimes; there are highs, there are lows, you have to make tough decisions, sometimes you’re not sure if you’re going to make the right decision. I felt like I was in the right place. And there are so many times you feel like you’re not in the right place. So that was really rewarding for me.” – Tiffany Kelley of Nightingale Apps
“How Innovating Tech with Patient Advocates Can Benefit Business”
This panel highlighted why patient advocacy should be a business priority for all healthcare technology companies, through the stories and perspectives of those who practice it every day. Speakers included Lilly Stairs of Clara Health, Amy Chenault of Insulet, Jayanthi Narasimhan of WatchRx, Inc. and Karolina Starczak, R.D., LDN, of Nutrimedy – accompanied by moderator Nikita Virani of Wizdy.
“We’re so lucky here [in Boston] to have such a healthy ecosystem of hospitals and academia and biotechnology – and digital health really intersects with all of those, so I was thrilled there was a conference bringing together thought leaders in the space.” – Lilly Stairs of Clara Health
“The Greater Value of Investing in Female Tech Founders”
This round-table conversation explored the greater value of investing in female entrepreneurs in healthtech from a variety of perspectives, featuring speakers Nancy G. Brown of Oak HC/FT, Elizabeth Galbut of SoGal Ventures, Chip Hazard of Flybridge Capital Partners and Rachel Braun Scherl, Managing Partner & Vagipreneur – moderated by Laura Davis PhD of Golden Seeds.
Informative and progressive networking and discussion left many feeling uplifted about the present and future state of female entrepreneurship in the healthtech sphere.
HTVN’s annual ELEVATE pitch competition wrapped up the day with a “Shark Tank” style pitch session, where healthtech startups presented their products, organizations and ideas to a panel of physicians, entrepreneurs and executives in the industry. Founders competed for the opportunity to win a $10,000 creative consultation and production package from KICCreative, a healthcare technology focused agency.
Sarah Loughney of Kite Medical – a company dedicated to developing a non-invasive device for detecting kidney reflux in children with UTIs – backed her impressive credentials and experience during her ELEVATE pitch, ultimately landing her an overwhelming majority vote and placing her first in the competition.
The 2017 ELEVATE judges panel included Kim Walsh of HubSpot for Startups, Aditya Humad of KICVentures, Dr. Kingsley R. Chin of KICVentures, Bree Goodrow of KICCreative and Dr. Kalyan Kalwa of Health Innovators.
HTVN Conference Event Director Bree Goodrow shared her passion for the conference, from planning to execution. “Planning this agenda and connecting with so many inspiring professionals has been a true honor. When Dr. Kingsley R. Chin – Managing Partner and CEO of KICVentures – suggested we highlight female entrepreneurship, I recognized the opportunity to make a powerful impact. In 2015 Rock Health reported that 78% of the healthcare workforce is comprised of women, a stark contrast from the male-dominated tech industry. Despite that fact, women in healthcare technology are still underrepresented on leadership teams and on conference agendas. The 2017 HTVN Conference agenda has flipped the script. We’re so fortunate to have such a tremendous group of participants offering their unique insight. From exhibition space to volunteer opportunities for students, we had something to offer everyone – from breakthrough entrepreneurs to C-suite executives.”
Dr. Barbur agreed, in highlighting,”It was a very refreshing and stimulating experience to be with such a high energy group of people – all focused on making healthcare better and more effective.”
“Today’s conference, as a whole, really made me feel like there’s so much that I don’t know and that I haven’t seen but there is so much that I want to see.” – Kezia Fitzgerald, CareAline Products
To our partners – Innovation Women, Health Innovators, SheHacks Boston and Boston New Technology – and our exhibitors – KICVentures, SpineFrontier, WatchRx, Inc., Curative Orthopaedics, KICCreative, MITRE, Innovation Women, Women Entrepreneurs Boston, Marcum Advisors, AxioMed, CareAline, Globalview Partners, Pixi, Wizdy, SheHacks Boston and Sue Priver: thank you for collaborating with us during this day of progressive discussion and innovating, and for further fostering the healthtech revolution.