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Ask HN: What cities are or becoming health tech startup hubs?
12 points by drhectapus 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments
I'll be going back to school this autumn to learn CS and will be looking to work in the health tech sector once I graduate. Which cities around the world are growing hubs for health tech startups?



Health tech is relatively scattered with hubs all across the US. I suspect that you may be looking for healthcare startups. There's a large concentration in San Francisco, NYC and Boston. The DC area has the government agencies, which may be of interest to you.

My suggestion is to look through the techcrunch healthcare section for companies that look interesting: https://techcrunch.com/tag/healthcare/ and look through each month's HN Who's Hiring for healthcare

Additionally to add some nuance to angersock's comment: healthcare has a lot of compliance requirements and there are few incentives to adopt new tech. This can be a pain as you have real limitations on what you can do compared to other industries. That said, healthcare startups are doing some really cool things and there are bright spots among insurers and hospital systems.


Thanks for the tips. Completely agree that healthcare can be a very limiting industry to work in, but it's also the reason why I'm attracted to it too


Obviously Boston is massive. And I believe it's the top calibre medical schools that set it apart. Strong interdisciplinary research and clinical programs creating a feedback loop. Fed by a legion of hungry and talented MD / PhDs inventing the future in all areas from gene therapy to robotic surgery. And ready access to Route 128 venture capital.

Check out Boston Bio 2018 to appreciate the shear scope

http://convention.bio.org/

But the up and coming contender may be Miami - Ft. Lauderdale. Doctors have always been attracted to South Florida as an ideal practice and convention location. And state incentives are driving pharma manufacturers to open factories in the region. With the added value of proximity to Latin American markets.

There are a number of incubators currently accepting startup applications in the area. Best of luck!

http://www.bioflorida.com/


Think you're right about Boston. Interesting insight about Miami - never really considered that area. How is Philly? (I ask because I'll be going to UPenn)


Houston, Boston, and San Diego are all good spots.

That said, it's a moribound industry. Don't do healthcare if you can avoid it--you'll get paid better as a developer nearly anywhere else, and it won't be a third as frustrating.


I agree with the "frustrating" comment. FDA regulation can be seriously demoralizing.


Can you explain how healthcare is a moribound industry?


I've gone into length on this elsewhere, but a few questions sum it up:

How is money made in healthcare? Is it made by administrative paperwork and compliance? Is it made by selling drugs and treatments aggressively? Is it made by finding ways of cutting corners and increasing efficiency of care so hopsitals can pay less? Does any of that have anything to do with the perceived quality of life increase for a patient? Insofar as it does, what market forces exist to keep those things in check?

Who actually pays for healthcare? Under what circumstances? How much administrative overhead is introduced to make that happen and protect against fraud? How much of that overhead does your software have to deal with/take into account?

How resistant are healthcare systems to change? Is there any significant difference in the mindset of physicians today than there was back when they mocked folks for washing hands before delivering babies? What roadblocks exist to prevent systems from wasting time with crazy ideas from motivated and noisy physicians--and how do those roadblocks impact people doing software?

Who are the main players in healthcare IT? How did they get there? What measures have they taken to decrease competitiveness in their sectors, and how have they achieved vendor lock-in? To what degree, if any, can hospital systems work to circumvent or reinforce that lock-in?

What does the regulatory environment look like? How long does it take to do a "simple" FDA 510k filing (personal experience suggests a year and change depending on how you do bookkeeping, but that's neither here nor there)? What standards must you comply with? Are those standards public, or do you have to pay money for each and every one?

I could go on, but this should help.


I talked to a startup at Pycon that was trying to grow under the Medicare Advantage program. I asked how this would help in reigning in costs to the tax payer, and she kept repeating “oh we will save money because we are given a max $ amount per patient, and so it’s in our benefit to save money”.

Well, that is true only for the startup. The dollars they save are the profits they make up to a max of 15%. But there are no long run incentives to overall reduce the tax bill per client as they will always ride close to that allotted amount set by Congress.

The startup representative took offense when I pointed out that at no point would they ever return money back to Medicare. That they would always consume every allotted dollar allowed by law.

Just another rent seeker by a different name.


There seems to be a lot of health tech in the Denver Metro area. I don't know if it's a 'hub,' but I've heard of several companies and startups in the space.


This! Catalyst HTI is a health industry incubator for HealthTech.

http://www.catalysthealthtech.com/


Oxford has Oxford Nanopore, Immunocore, Genomics PLC and a few others. Cambridge has Astra Zeneca HQ, Microsoft Research (with a unit focused on healthcare) and many spin offs.


Madison, WI has Epic Systems, a EHR company, as well as several startups that create software that works with Epic.


I live in St Louis, we have Centene, Express Scripts, Mercy and some Allscripts branches




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