DENVER, CO – The bar and patio of Mockery Brewing in Denver’s River North District were packed on August 28th for the Catalyst HTI Land Announcement Party. Prominent business leaders, healthcare professionals, startup founders, and digital health aficionados of all kinds milled about the brewery, chatting with one another happily, each of them caught up in the excitement of the event.
Catalyst HTI had received a flurry of media attention in the weeks leading up to the celebration. From the Denver Post to MedCity News, people were buzzing about the 300,000 square foot digital health incubator soon to be built in Denver’s River North District.
Mike Biselli, Catalyst HTI’s president, had invited everyone to Mockery Brewing to formally announce the land deal that he and Koelbel and Company had reached with the Burgess family. The brewery was located just across the street from the plot of land where construction on the Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation campus was slated to begin,
While much had been reported as to the specifics of the deal, little had been said about the impact that Catalyst HTI would have on Colorado’s digital health movement. CyberMed News spoke with several guests at the celebration to get their opinion on what Catalyst might mean for the state’s health innovation community.
A Phenomenal Milestone
“It’s a phenomenal milestone to have a full city block devoted to health innovation,” said Jeffrey Nathanson, president and CEO of Prime Health. “It’s a demonstration of the robustness of the digital health cluster here in Colorado.”
Nathanson explained that Prime Health had recently identified 127 digital health companies in Colorado. He added that his organization had tracked over $85 million in digital health investments in the state over the last six months.
“One of the things that we’ve set as our goal is to make Colorado the number one digital health ecosystem,” he continued. “The way we’re going to become number one is through the integration of healthcare delivery systems, payers, providers, and innovators. Having them all concentrated in one campus is going to bring us a long way towards that goal.”
When asked what incentive major healthcare companies might have for joining Catalyst, Nathanson said, “The large players are shaking in their boots because they realize there’s an Uber out there that’s going to disrupt their business model. If they don’t get on board, they’re going to have someone competing with them.”
The Epicenter of Digital Health
“It’s the epicenter of the Denver digital health movement,” said Frank Ricotta, founder of Burst IQ. Ricotta explained that he believed Catalyst HTI would become the hub of Colorado’s digital health community, “because of the energy and excitement behind it. That energy is hugely important because it gets the community excited, and that’s what makes things happen.”
A Bold Experiment
“I’m really interested to hear more about incumbents working with upstarts,” said Kevin Krauth, one of the founders of Orderly Health. “I think the friction between them will be interesting to navigate. If it works, it will be momentous. The first of its kind, and certainly something that no one has ever tried before.”
The Next Step for the Digital Health Ecosystem
“Today really represents an opportunity to take the next step for the Colorado digital health ecosystem,” Mike Biselli told CyberMed News. “We’ve been ranked a top 10 digital health cluster, previously number six, and most recently number five. It’s now time to take it to the top.”
When asked what Catalyst HTI might mean for the people of Colorado, he replied, “Catalyst offers Colorado an opportunity to coalesce folks who are passionate about re-imagining healthcare, to bring them together to solve the problems we’re currently facing across the state and the nation.”
“I couldn’t be more excited about the land announcement,” Biselli said. “But we have to make sure that our community keeps telling this story over and over and over again, beyond the walls of Colorado. What’s being built here, I believe, is really unique, and one of a kind in the world.”