Certificate of Accomplishment & Grading

All course participants will be given a signed certificate of accomplishment at the conclusion of the course. The certificate will be personalized with the student name, team name, and student grade. These will be presented on the final day of class.

Grades will be based on class participation, assignments, and course project.

  • Attendance & Participation: 20%
  • Team Projects: 80%
    • Assignments 20%
    • Two Advisory Panel Presentations: 2 x 15%
    • Final Team Presentation: 30%


Because this class is an interactive, team-based course, ​regular attendance is mandatory. Video recording will be available on occasional, for students that cannot attend a class. ​Please contact the TA if you need to miss more than one class.

Here are the standard Expectations of Remote Students at MIT Sloan which we will adhere to in Healthcare Ventures:

  • To connect to the video conference meeting five minutes before class start time and to be entirely settled in a controlled environment by the beginning of the class meeting.
  • To maintain an uninterrupted video image of one's entire face throughout the duration of the class. Interruptions of a remote student's image is considered the equivalent of a local participant exiting the room. This includes poor framing, bandwidth, lighting, or obstructions to a student's webcam.
  • To be present and attentive during class. The TA will remove students from the meeting if they are engaged in other activities, unresponsive in the chat, or disruptive to the class.
  • To wear headphones, preferably with a built-in microphone.
  • To set usernames to display full name, program, and graduating year (e.g. John Doe, EMBA19).
  • To interact with instructors and local participants through audio or with the TA in the chat feature.
  • To direct all content specific questions to the TA and technical support questions about your personal technology to Zoom.

Class Sessions

Thursdays, 4:00-6:00PM, virtual
Recitations Monday 1:00-2:00PM, virtual

Class Description

Healthcare Ventures explores the process of early-stage healthcare venture creation and models the process of entrepreneurship, amid navigating healthcare’s complexities. The course is an opportunity for those who seek careers at the intersection of healthcare innovation, medical technology startups, global health and healthcare venture capital. This course lends a taste of the process needed to discover, evaluate, and test new technologies and business models with broad potential to impact human health. Course content and process have taken principles from MIT Hacking Medicine, Product-Market Fit, Human-Centered Design Thinking, Agile Sprints, Business Model Canvas and tailored them to the complexities and tectonic shifts of healthcare, both in the US and globally. An emphasis will be placed on understanding the Business Models and Economic Buyers for your healthcare innovation while developing a plan to design and launch a product or service.

Outside Speakers

Over half of the classes will include outside speakers from startups, venture capital, healthcare systems, government, pharma and med tech. Past years speakers included Google Ventures, PillPack/Amazon, Sequoia Capital, MIT Engine Fund, Blue Cross, Bain Capital, IDEO, Aetna, Fidelity, True Ventures, Verily/GoogleX, GE Ventures, Langer Lab, HHS, Atrius Health ACO.

Your Project/Venture/Problem Idea

If you have already conceptualized or done preliminary work around a potential solution for a pain point in healthcare, the Healthcare Ventures faculty invites you to share it with us for consideration as one of the class projects. We need ideas that are still in a sufficiently early, formative stage so they can be developed during the class and thus provide a foundation on which the key concepts of new medical venture development can be taught. These concepts include, but are not limited to, de>ining your market, understanding your customers, identifying and evaluating various stakeholders, analyzing the competition, and defining a value proposition and product/market fit. The objective of the class is to help you to understand and engage in the process of evaluating and developing a business opportunity. The class is not intended to create a viable business opportunity at the end of the semester. So, an idea would not be acceptable if it is too far along to benefit from the disciplined approach to entrepreneurship that we teach in class. If you don’t have an idea, that’s OK too; you will be able to choose a team/project that interests you. In past years, members of the class have advanced many interesting, impactful problems, and some have actually served as the foundation for building successful businesses. Please contact our TA to arrange an appointment with one of the faculty members so that we understand your idea in sufficient detail to ensure it meets the criteria outlined above, and to make sure you get the most out of taking the class. We look forward to speaking with you!

2021 Themes for Health Venture Disruption

Some teams will form around ideas proposed by your classmates.  Other teams will want to consider areas that are emerging trends ripe for disruption in healthcare.  These include:

Algorithmic + Virtual Care Models
The first wave of telemedicine solutions did not solve efficient care models and the shortages of specialists, PCPs and nurses. Now we have multiple examples of virtual and algorithmic care businesses that prove convenient care can be provided at high efficiency and scale. TelaDoc, DirectDerm,, Roman have each scaled to hundreds of thousands of satisfied patients. What are other specialties where we can take a large portion of the patient queue, virtualize that care, and only send the exceptions into the traditional waiting line?

  • Complex, low-risk guideline care via app
  • Address MD shortages, access issues, wait times, convenience
  • NurX/Hims/Lemonade examples of care by app
  • Specific disease states, e.g., migraine/headaches

Hospital Unbundling
Traditional procedures done in a hospital OR setting result in separate charges from the hospital and the physician. The shift to office-based procedures often results in more throughput and revenue for the doctor and lower overall costs due to the elimination of hospital charges. Which specialties and procedures could serve as a cluster to attack?

  • Home Care Service
  • Elder Care and Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Moving procedures out of the Operating Room and into Physicians Offices

Attack a Giant Healthcare Franchise
One of the best strategies for building a startup that can raise venture money is to threaten the existing incumbents of a giant segment. Often, healthcare regulations, Stark Laws, Trust, and ethics encourage or require a third party to provide a service that Pharma companies or physicians cannot. Pick one where customers or patients hate the experience enough to be engaged and even go out of their way to choose a credible startup:

  • Kidney dialysis centers with next-gen home devices
  • Psychiatry drugs with drug/app combinations
  • Medicare Advantage business models

Next-Gen Medical Devices
New sensors, components, biometrics and the ubiquity of smartphones enable old medical devices and patient experiences to be reimagined. Take a big problem and attack the poorly designed and clunky medical devices out there.

Emerging Market and Low Resource Healthcare Settings
Most of the growth at large multinational pharma and med-tech companies has been driven by the growth in the middle class of emerging markets in China, India, and Latin America. Marked differences often exist in the cultures, trust in healthcare professionals, healthcare delivery infrastructure, and experiences demanded. Pick a country that one of the students knows well and go deep to re-design.

Personalized Medicine
Personalized medicine (PM) allows for adjusting medical treatments to the individual characteristics of patients. This requires a new understanding of people’s unique molecular and genetic profiles that make them susceptible to certain diseases and responsive to specific treatments. Pick a patient population, disease or PM objective (risk assessment prevention, detection, treatment, diagnosis, management) or combination and change the way we think about it.

  • Genomic biomarkers, new biometrics that changes Dx/Rx experiences
  • Food as Medicine

Cybersecurity, Fraud & Payments
Providers and payers must comply with the privacy and security rules outlined in HIPAA, but healthcare cybersecurity threats continue to evolve. Complex and opaque medical billing processes are outdated and susceptible to fraud. How can new technologies be deployed to improve the healthcare cyberspace?

  • AI-based security solutions to identify threats
  • Intelligent network systems analytics
  • Machine learning software for combining health data
  • Blockchain powered health information exchange

Action Learning Lab for Healthcare Ventures

Most classes will have 4 parts: faculty lectures, outside guest speakers, and small team breakout sessions.

After teams are formed in the early classes, you will begin by exploring, defining, and deepening your understanding of the unmet need and of the value of transforming the outcome. In the second block, you will consider and test potential value propositions, and finally, in the third block, you will craft a business model and pitch. Teams will witness the development, challenges, and progress of the other teams attacking different areas of healthcare in the course at regular intervals. By the end of the course, students will have experienced best practices in identifying and validating health venture opportunities, amid the challenges of navigating the healthcare/disease mapping, team dynamics, and venture capital pitching process.

For 2021 grads, this class fulfils a requirement for the Sloan Healthcare Certificate as 15.132 Medicine for Managers is not offered this spring.

Course Faculty

Zen Chu ( )
Michael Dempsey ( )
Martha Gray, PhD ( )
Arthur Hiller ( )
Ayesha Khalid, MD/MBA ( )
Alice Pomponio MPP ( )

TAs: Zahra Kanji ( ), Chris Leiter ( )

Interested in the class? Sign up here: