In this Fireside Chat, I sat down with Steven Collens, Chief Executive Officer at MATTER. We discussed Steven’s professional journey, his work to empower digital health technology startups, and how MATTER is helping businesses define their challenges, identify solutions, and innovate faster. We also explored the effects of COVID-19 on the HealthTech startup scene, and Steven’s predictions for how the pandemic will affect this industry in the future.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: What have you done with MATTER to make it truly differentiating and a great experience for Startup Tech and entrepreneurs?
A: It’s a great question. Even since we’ve opened MATTER, the landscape has changed quite a bit and co-working space became a total commodity in the five and a half years that we’ve been open. As you said, there continue to be more and more incubators. A few things that we’ve done, first of all, we are entirely focused on healthcare, and when you look, there aren’t really that many that are just focused on healthcare.
We organized MATTER, backed into our entity structure, and we backed into our business model based on our core thesis around innovation. That collaboration between entrepreneurs and the established parts of the industry is the best and most efficient and effective way to design, envision, develop, and scale solutions that can ultimately improve health and the business of healthcare.
It was that core premise, which is based on the complexities of healthcare and a lot of the challenges that entrepreneurs face when they’re trying to develop new businesses. From that, we wanted to create essentially what could be a neutral platform for collaboration where we could have lots of entrepreneurs, payers, providers, Pharma companies, MedTech companies, and others associated with healthcare innovation, and create a neutral platform to facilitate the kinds of collaborations that we believed would ultimately lead to better solutions to improve people’s lives.
We created MATTER as a not-for-profit entity. We made it so that we don’t take equity positions in the startup companies we work with. We wanted to work with startups at every stage. At the very early end, it could be somebody who has a job somewhere else, who has got some ideas and wants to figure out whether what they’re thinking about could ultimately become a business, and how would they do that, all the way to growth-stage companies that have tens of millions of dollars of venture capital behind them and that have products and market that are generating some kind of change that they ultimately want to see in the world. We want to be able to have a platform that can help all of those kinds of companies, help them connect with the big established players in the industry, and get that knowledge, wisdom, and experience, and possibly distribution opportunities from those bigger companies.
We are multi-stage, which is different than most incubators. We also are agnostic to the type of technology, where >60% are digital health companies or software businesses. We also have a good amount of MedTech, therapeutics, diagnostics, and a tiny bit of services companies. We’re agnostic to geography; we’re working for a couple of years on our technology and on our processes so that we could essentially do everything that we do at our location in Chicago and do it virtually. Now, more than half of the companies that we work with are not in Chicago, and that part of what we do is continuing to grow more rapidly.
Going back to the original premise of your question, which is what makes MATTER different from other incubators, given that there are lots of them around: there are pieces of what we do that overlap with lots of other things. I have not seen an entity that does all of the things and puts them together in the ways that we put them together, which we firmly believe is a better way of helping entrepreneurs and innovators develop and build their ideas…
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Steven Collens, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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About Impetus Digital
Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.