Dr. Kate Wolin is a behavioral epidemiologist, digital health entrepreneur, investor and professor. Following her academic medicine career at Washington University School of Medicine and Loyola University, Dr. Wolin co-founded and served as CEO of a digital health start-up that was acquired by Anthem, Inc. She then served as Chief Science Officer of a population health platform company and as head of product for Optum's direct-to-consumer business. Dr. Wolin is a partner at PACE Healthcare Capital in Chicago. She is also an advisor to start-ups and enterprise organizations on bridging clinical and behavioral science with commercial product strategy and execution. She earned her doctorate at the Harvard School of Public Health and completed her fellowship training in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Wolin is a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine. She has been named as a Forbes Healthcare Innovator That You Should Know.
The goal of this class is to examine what contributed to the successes and challenges for early-stage digital health companies over the last decade+ and use those learnings as a vehicle for examining existing opportunities on the horizon for the entrepreneur.
We will look at the trends in venture investment dollars and how the subsectors of digital health receiving those dollars has changed over time. 2021 was the biggest year yet for both digital health investment and M&A deals in healthcare. More than half of the digital health venture deals over the last five years have been early-stage companies. $36B of venture capital was invested in over 1100 early-stage digital health companies in 2021, up from only $4.5B and 332 companies in 2016. This is the first time ever that this exceeds venture investments in biopharma companies.
The class will review customer needs (desirability), business models (viability), legal/regulatory requirements for digital health in the US and abroad (feasibility). Specifically, the course goals are to:
It is recommended that students have taken one of the prerequisite courses or have work experience in health care. A deep knowledge of digital health is not required, but a basic understanding of healthcare is.
New Venture Discovery is designed to help students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture beginning with the identification of a problem in the market that is worth solving. The class teaches students tools and techniques to translate these problems into viable business concepts, with an emphasis on enabling an aspiring entrepreneur to get as far as possible, with as little as possible, as FAST as possible.
Student teams begin the quarter with nothing more than a series of hypotheses about a new venture, then design and execute a series of in-market experiments that either validate these assumptions, or force them to iterate aspects of their business model in real time. The objective of the course to guide students toward the achievement of "product-market fit" as a crucial first step in in the creation of a startup. From here, students can evolve their businesses by enrolling in the "Develop" and "Launch" courses that serve as the continuation of the new ventures curriculum.
New Venture Discovery course material ranges from customer discovery and design thinking, to rapid prototyping (of both offers and business models), bootstrapping methods and communicating/selling the vision for a new venture. The course format is a blend of lecture, fieldwork, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, outside speakers and expert mentoring.
**This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter**