INterview with Mike Biselli, Community Builder and Digital Health Entrepreneur

Tuesday May 19, 2015 1 comments Tags: Mike Biselli, Catalyst, Prime Health, 10.10.10, Tom Higley

 

Mike Biselli is a Denver-based community builder, business developer, digital health entrepreneur and advocate, most recently announcing in March a partnership with Koelbel and Co. to create a health technology innovation campus, “Catalyst,” in north-central Denver.Mike_Biselli_photo_1

A former 1st Team All Pac-10 athlete and scholar at Stanford University, in 2003 Mike began his healthcare career by working with industry-leading medical device companies. After nine years in the industry, he co-founded a digital health company, MedPassage.com, in 2012.

In 2014, he sold MedPassage to Evolution Financial Group.

Since leaving MedPassage, Mike has served as a board member for Prime Health, whose community’s goal is to transform Colorado into the top digital health cluster in the nation by 2020.

He also serves as a senior advisor to 10.10.10, which had its first event in February 2015 (10.10.10 Health) in Denver. 

Mike enjoys spending time advising/mentoring startups across the country. Because of Mike’s interest in helping startups succeed, he took an advisor position with Innosphere, Colorado’s leading incubator for startup companies and technologies.

Mike is excited to be working with government, academic, non-profit organizations, and private entities (startups to Fortune 20) to envision and develop a Health Technology Innovation Campus (Catalyst), located in Denver. Mike’s vision for this campus is to empower healthcare innovators that are focused on building digital health enterprise platforms, mobile technologies, wearable, and smart device technologies, as they set out to re-imagine healthcare for the entire nation.

Q: You have acquired a national reputation as a leader in health technology innovation. Why does this field interest you so much?

A: I believe our nation is on the cusp of incredible change and opportunity, as the healthcare industry is seeing an influx of many amazing thought leaders, creators, and visionaries, as they take aim to fundamentally reimagine healthcare through new technologies and ideas. These leaders finally have a chance to change healthcare as the industry is finally being forced to adopt new models and methodologies (the Affordable Care Act is overwhelmingly credited in our industry as the impetus for the change we are experiencing). 

While I have been in the healthcare sector since 2003, I’m more impassioned by this industry than ever. Don’t get me wrong -- we have a LONG way to go and much to fix. However, because there is so much opportunity in this VERY broken system, I remain more interested in and dedicated to healthcare than ever before! 

I firmly believe the “dam is about to break” and with that will be incredible transformation for the healthcare industry! I’m continually humbled and inspired to be recognized across the country as a “change agent” for healthcare; we desperately need to reignite this ailing industry, and I have no trepidation with challenging the status quo!  That’s what keeps me so interested and excited!  

Q: You are a board member with Prime Health, whose goal is to position Colorado as the top digital health cluster in the nation by 2020. How difficult do you believe this will be, and what will it mean for the state to achieve this status? 

A: Colorado has been ranked a top 10 digital health cluster in the nation, yet again. We have incredible momentum happening here. In fact, as of mid-May 2015, Prime Health has identified the 123rd digital health company that calls Colorado home. I believe this is just the beginning of the community our state is creating! 

We have an incredible amount of work in front of us, if Colorado truly wants to create the top digital health cluster in the nation. However, I know the ingredients are here for this lofty goal to be realized! See, I went to college in the middle of Silicon Valley during the late 90’s (aka: the Internet boom). I saw with my own eyes how that came to be. The same ingredients/attributes I saw in the Valley in the 90’s are here --and they are here in spades!

I believe the way our state is going to achieve this national goal is via the “Colorado DNA.” I challenge people across this nation to identify a more collaborative state than Colorado. I have yet to hear a valid rebuttal, which is exciting!

One main aspect of leveraging the “Colorado DNA” is to create a very inclusive culture around the digital health ecosystem, which will only attract more bright minds and companies to Colorado! Our vision for our community can be described with this “battle cry”: If you have a burning desire to fundamentally re-imagine healthcare, it doesn’t matter where you have come from in life (male, female, straight, gay, black, white, poor, rich, “educated,” street smart, etc.); you have a seat at the Colorado Digital Health Ecosystem table! This cultural tone of our community has taken root and I’m talking with companies from around the country who are actively moving here to take advantage of this VERY unique value-proposition! This is a major aspect as to how we are going to recognize our national goals!

Q: You are a senior advisor to fellow entrepreneur Tom Higley’s 10.10.10 project, which in February brought 10 CEOs together to study 10 wicked problems in healthcare. One company, BurstIQ, recently spun out of that effort and received some seed funding. Was 10.10.10 a successful exercise in your view, and what else do you expect to come from it?

A: Denver is lucky to have a nationally leading authority on innovation, Tom Higley (Founder of 10.10.10), living here. His vision and persistence to have 10.10.10 take flight is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been a part of!

We (Colorado and the nation) are going to see amazing things come from the 10.10.10 camp. While Health was the first event, Tom will be bringing his framework and methodologies to Water, Energy, Education, and many other ailing industries/sectors that fundamentally impact our daily lives. 

One early example of the success of 10.10.10, is Frank Ricotta and his company, BurstIQ. I am close with Frank and there are big things in store for his team.

Be prepared for some big updates from 10.10.10. This team is only in “first gear” and I can’t wait for our community to hear what else we’ve been working on!

Q: You’re working closely with Prime Health, whose stated vision is to “create a seamless value chain of resources to enhance the innovation and adoption of digital health products in Colorado.” How will your project help accomplish this goal?

A : The Catalyst campus will be a fantastic addition and resource to the Prime Health community, as we have started work on achieving our goal as a community: transform Colorado into the top digital health cluster in the nation by 2020. Since we will have Fortune 20 healthcare providers and payers, venture capital, education, startups, and other assets on the Catalyst campus, I firmly believe all these aspects/opportunities for the digital health community will help in the creation of a seamless value chain of resources for companies that call Colorado and Catalyst home (both big and small).  Example: imagine a startup/growth company being able to interact with our country's largest health systems on a daily basis, and vice versa. This is how we are going to reimagine healthcare for our nation, right here in Denver! 

Q: Your announcement in March about your partnership with real estate developer Koelbel and Company aims to create a health technology innovation campus in Denver. What do you expect will be the ultimate impact of such a campus after it is built? 

A: Since my announcement in March, we have accomplished an incredible amount of work. A few highlights: (1) the campus has a name: Catalyst; (2) We have begun announcing Catalyst tenants; (3) We are weeks away from announcing the location for Catalyst, which will be in the RiNo district in Denver. 

My vision for this campus is well beyond co-working. Co-working spaces have traditionally been populated by startups and aggregating a bunch of them under a single roof. While my own startup, MedPassage, was in a community like this (we enjoyed our time there and gained incredible value), I believe healthcare needs much more than that!

The healthcare industry has deeply entrenched constituents (large hospital systems, and Fortune 20 insurance companies) that aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. However, the startups/nimble companies now entering into the system are quickly catching up and fundamentally disrupting their business models.   

With that, my belief to fundamentally re-imagine healthcare will be the interaction of Fortune 20 healthcare companies on a daily basis with startups and people with “ideas on a napkin,” and everything in between (not just in occasional board/executive meetings)! 

It is my singular goal and life’s work to tear down any/all silos in healthcare that are still impeding innovation and an opportunity to fundamentally fix a VERY antiquated system. I believe Catalyst is a “first in kind” in this nation, where the “largest-of-the-large” (our team already has Fortune 20 organizations committed to Catalyst) will be working alongside the “smallest-of-the-small” type organizations. Creating a symbiotic relationship between startups and Fortune 20 will quickly ignite change for an industry desperately seeking it. 

If the leaders in Colorado (political, academic, private enterprise, and beyond) stay laser-focused on working together to realize the national aspirations of the digital health community, this incredible opportunity (top digital health cluster in the nation by 2020) will take flight! 


Excellent interview. Great overview giving us a sense of the excitement & challenges as the transformation wave begins to reach healthcare's shores.

- John Oró