Athenahealth Inc undertakes accelerator program to encourage entrepreneurship among healthcare IT startups- report

February 25
9:48 AM 2014

Athenahealth Inc, an electronic health records, practice management and medical billing services provider, is undertaking an accelerator program to promote entrepreneurship among medical technology startups.The accelerator could also possibly help Athenahealth grow its portfolio of physician services while allowing it to continue with its rapid growth, The Wall Street Journal blog Venture Capital Dispatch reported.

The accelerator intends to support two to three firms in 2014 and will house them in a 2,500- square foot area located in its Watertown, Massachusetts headquarters which will open in March. The company intends to increase the space to 10,000 to 15,000 square feet after renovations make more area available in the next few years. The accelerator intends to house around 10 startups, the report said.

Kyle Armbrester, the company's Head of Business Development, told Venture Capital Dispatch that the startups they will recruit will have proceeds and products that could potentially be included in Athenahealth's offerings. The plan is for Athenahealth to pour a small amount in these startups and then later link them with venture capitalists who can give more funding. The accelerator aims to build the kinds of companies that will be able to exit and grow and as such, they won't be permanently housed in Athenahealth's headquarters, the report said.

Armbrester said in the interview, "[We] want to put the paddles on the entrepreneurs' chest and give them a jolt to get them to the next level. We are trying to lower the barriers for these companies to really grow."

With more physicians seeking to outsource billing and enhance their efficiency, Athenahealth has seen the demand for its services rise. Sterne Agee Analyst Greg Bolan told Venture Capital Dispatch that this trend is set to continue due to the pressures faced by doctors, like reimbursement cuts and the scheduled revamp of the billing code in October. Bolan added that this could grow Athenahealth's core revenue at 30%  annually for the next ten years, the report said.

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