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1776’s Partnership With MedStar Proves Mutually Beneficial

1776 relies on important partnerships with organizations like MedStar Health, the largest health care provider in Maryland and Washington, D.C., to help its startups flourish.

“MedStar is committed to being at the forefront of healthcare technology,” says 1776 Partnerships Manager Meagan Riley. “By partnering with 1776, they have access to well-vetted companies that are providing innovative solutions in the health space, as well as across industries like education and smart cities.”

For health care startups, having access to an organization such as MedStar is an invaluable resource. MedStar can inform product development and sales pitches, helping entrepreneurs tailor their offerings to what clinicians and healthcare administrators each truly need.

“MedStar provides incredible value to 1776 startups, by giving them access to expertise, connections and even a place to test and validate their ideas,” Riley says.

But the relationships can extend outside of the health care arena, too. MedStar also seeks education and transportation solutions—two other pillars of 1776’s mission—and has even started to work with Booz Allen Hamilton, another 1776 partner.

Managing Director of 1776 Ventures, David Zipper, helped secure the partnership and remembers how MedStar was moving deliberately to find ways to infuse even more innovation across its care-delivery network.

“I think [MedStar] is really happy to have a steady stream of completely new and foreign ideas coming into the MedStar network,” says Zipper of the partnership.

The free flow of ideas helps MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2), the operational home for the work with 1776, achieve its mission to catalyze innovation that advances health.

Director of MI2, Mark Smith, MD, explained how companies in the health care arena tend to just listen to each other, and those who do this never forge ahead.

“We’re great at what we do, but we recognize that if we’re going to flourish and thrive in the next decade, we’ve got to be exposed to the latest ideas, technologies, and talent across a range of other industries, including emerging markets. 1776 is a great source for that,” says Smith

Smith was impressed with 1776 from the get-go.

“I walked in there with some colleagues from MI2 and was blown away by the energy. The sense of optimism. This kind of youthful exuberance,” says Smith. He said the atmosphere reminded him of the “change the world” mentality of the 1960s, but rather than a focus on counter-culture, it’s all about positive social impact—in MedStar’s case, this means benefiting patients.

Smith says the relationship has been mutually beneficial from the beginning.

“By being exposed to all these ideas, we bring the ones we think could have really high value into MedStar to pilot them. What that gives us is a competitive advantage because we’ve got first crack at all these,” says Smith. “We want to be recognized as a really innovative health care system and associating with 1776 is one key approach.”

Less than one year into the partnership, MedStar already has partnered with 1776 members Ostendio, 1EQ, maker of BabyScripts, and Rebel Desk, as well as non-healthcare member Stories, Inc.

Smith called Ostendio, a cloud-based compliance software, a great-idea product.

“We are providing cloud-based vendors a mechanism to manage their regulatory compliance in an effective way,” says Grant Elliott, founder and CEO of Ostendio, about his company’s mission. In the healthcare space, this is especially critical due to the sensitive nature of data.

“When I joined 1776, Ostendio was little more than an idea at the time,” says Elliott.

“1776 has been very supportive, not only in helping educate myself and the mechanics of building an organization. There’s no doubt that the MedStar relationship wouldn’t have moved as efficiently if it weren’t for 1776. It gave us credibility with MedStar and vice versa.”

1EQ, whose product BabyScripts remotely monitors pregnant women, also found a client in MedStar. BabyScripts delivers a WiFi-connected box and a blood pressure cuff to pregnant women on behalf of the OBGYN to watch out for pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia.

“After about four or five months of discussion, we signed a deal to pilot our technology at the three other hospitals. It was all … driven by our relationship with 1776,” says 1EQ Founder, Juan Pablo Segura. “For the largest hospital system in the region to not just want to work with us, but pay for our product, is a huge validation of what we’re doing.”

As a customer, MedStar has provided 1EQ with valuable feedback, too.

“We’re not just looking for more customers, but to improve our actual product,” says Segura. “They’ve been very helpful on that end.”

Teresa K. Traverse

Teresa K. Traverse is a writer, editor and traveler. Check out her work at