Frequently Asked Questions

What is MedStartr?

MedStartr is a the leading crowdfunding site and challenge platform dedicated to finding and funding innovations in healthcare. We specifically focus on healthcare projects, startups, and innovations that improve healthcare and help people live longer, better lives. Whether it is a medical mission to save women from dying in Equatorial Africa or a new device to treat spinal injury, you can find it and fund it here.

From the innovator’s or investor’s perspective, MedStartr is as an Accelerator Platform powered by crowds and designed for healthcare. We started out as just a crowdfunding platform and this was excellent, but we also soon found that in addition to driving pre-sales or donations, we were helping companies get found and funded faster than ever, rivaling the best accelerators out there but without all the co-habitation, time, effort, and lost equity chunks. Why? Because instead of being funded by the accelerator, our companies and projects are funded by a crowd that wants the innovative product or service for loved ones, themselves or their patients – and that makes all the difference.

From our experience we know that:

  • Great healthcare solutions, research projects, devices, or ideas that can improve healthcare can spread around the world very very fast.
  • Engaging all the stakeholders who benefit from care innovations (Patients, Physicians, Partners, and Institutions) creates a community of care around the idea that ensures success.

Can We Invest in the companies on the platform?

In most cases yes, but not through the platform. In 2015 we are opening up a venture fund for individuals and institutions. For more information or a prospectus please email us..

Is MedStartr All-or-Nothing or Flexible Funding?

MedStartr offers both an All-or-Nothing program where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands as well as two new options. In all cases, if you aren’t successful, we aren’t successful and you owe us nothing.

All-or-Nothing campaigns have a specific goal or project they are associated with that will take a certain amount of money to do. The Maker of the project sets the goal and commits to delivering ONLY if he or she gets to that level of funding. If not, all bets are off and all funds are returned to the Backers of the project.

For companies that can deliver on their project without reaching a specific funding level, we also offer a “Keep What You Raise” (KWYR) model where new products or services can be found and adopted by the community that care about the care innovation. This is a great way to bring new products and services to market or for companies looking to grow and offer new services or products. Because there are additional costs, we charge a little more

We also offer crowdfunding acceleration services that gets ideas found and funded fast, in as little as 4 days but usually around 60 – and innovators don’t need to move to Manhattan or give up 6% of their company! We have offered this service to our first 25 companies and 68% of them were successful and raised over 4 million dollars after the first year and over 30 M in the second. They also started started 44 partnerships during their campaigns and gained thousands of new customers. This is better than most incubators or accelerators but we are not an accelerator, merely a platform for acceleration of great ideas in healthcare.

Whatever your stage or funding needs, MedStartr is here to help with just what you need to get found and funded faster.

What happened to your second “e”?

Initially, we left it off thinking that last “e” stood for “expensive”. Now that we can afford it we have tried to get the person who owns to call us with no luck (apparently it really stood for “elusive”.) Now we just made a thing of it and leav it off just for fun everywher.

Who is behind MedStartr?

We were initially crowdfunded ourselves, so in a sense, you are behind us if you are reading this. Our team is a skilled group of entrepreneurs, engineers, MBAs, MDs, Ph.D.s, Medical writers, PR folks, and hundreds of mentors who get involved in projects. The founders are Alex Fair, and Mike Pence. The author of most of this chatty FAQ page and most @MedStartr tweets is Alex. Our facebook page and blog is Alex and Theresa mostly. Since then we have been joined by a bunch of other fanstastic folks that you can read all about on our Team Page.

Who can fund their project on MedStartr?

MedStartr is focused on healthcare projects. We are a great way for patients, entrepreneurs, physicians, scientists, researchers, non-profits, artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, performers, and others to drive healthcare forward. A few examples:

  • Medical Devices: If you have a device you have created that helps people live better and longer lives, say a FDA approved in-home dialysis machine you can manufacture for under $500 if you can get orders for over 2,000 units, then get patients, doctors, and your friendly neighborhood kidney foundation as well as kidney disease patient communities to get behind the project and get those lives saved already!
  • Killer Apps for Healthy Living: If you have an iPhone app that is more fun than another piece of cake but need 2,000 $1.99 pledges from potential customers to build it out properly.
  • Create a Practice: You just finished residency and want to open a clinic, offer new patient exams and build your practice with far less risk. Tell people about yourself, why you got into medicine, the kind of care you will give, and if they like what they hear, you will support you and spread the word.
  • Drug Development: If you have a new drug that is in stage IV clinical trials and needs 1,000 enrollees and $200,000 to finish it up (with FDA clearance, of course.)
  • Academic Transfer: If you have developed an amazing product in academia and need to get it out to the public, we have special services to chaperon your IP and help you make a great commercial product launch and get customers.
  • Funding Improvements: Your Hospital wants to get a new expensive piece of equipment, explain how your community will benefit and offer some tangible reward like an executive physical using the device and see if they get behind your effort. With reimbursements going down all the time, this may be the only way to get that new DaVinci.
  • Fundraising for Research: You don’t have a specific project but you are a wonderful artist and want to throw a benefit concert or inspire people to donate to a cause like the American Heart Association or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Check out the way the beautiful and talented Kina did it – simply awesome! By partnering with a charitable organization, you can do some good with whatever your talent is. We know people at most of them, so submit an idea or just create a project based on the assumption that any such organization will review your idea. You provide the inspiration and perspiration and we will provide the connection-ation.

See our current listing of successful projects for inspiration.

Who can’t fund their project on MedStartr?

Projects we will not approve include the funding of personal care, drugs that are not in clinical trials, solutions that are not supported by clinical evidence of efficacy, projects outside healthcare, or anything that remotely looks like a scam. We can’t emphasize enough how important this last one is.

The site is not about getting you funded like a VC or Angel would, or at least not initially. Your MedStartr project needs to be focused on DELIVERING solutions, not just building a company. We think this is better because we challenge you to SHIP Product or PROVIDE service that patients, doctors, pharma, or other healthcare stakeholders truly value. An All or Nothing project is finite with a clear beginning and end. Someone can be held accountable for it— a project was either completed or it wasn’t — and there are definable expectations that everyone can agree to. This is critical for every MedStartr project.

We know there are a lot of great projects that fall outside of our scope, but MedStartr is not a place for soliciting donations to general charity projects, or general business expenses. All projects are reviewed and chaperoned. In many cases we will find a strategic partner and ask them to match what the public brings. Mentor / matching services may be subject to additional fees. In all cases, we will help you craft an offering that will engage your potential customers, partners, and champions.

All-or-nothing funding?

Every MedStartr project must be fully funded before your deadline or no money changes hands. This is a key part of what makes sites like MedStartr work for three reasons:

  • Underfunding is a recipe for disaster. Half a bridge or half an app, both are equally useless. If you only raise 2K and it would take 5K to do what you committed to, no one would be happy with the result and maybe the idea needs work still, refine and try again.
  • Try before your Fly. All or nothing allows people to test concepts or conditionally sell stuff without risk. If you don’t receive the support you want, you don’t have to do the project. This is key if you are considering a production run of a device, planning a study, or thinking about quitting your day job for your dream. No Reward, no Risk and do nothing by halves – that is the MedStartr way.
  • It Motivates Your Believers. You want customers and supporters who are passionate about your vision to do more than send a few bucks your way, you want them activated and spreading the word. By having a threshold amount to be met, you will motivate these key early adopters to spread the word. Empowered patients and dynamic physicians are changing our healthcare system from the bottom up rather than top down. If your project solves a real problem, they will help you engage a much wider community who will make your project happen. Be careful though, if you fail to deliver your name will be mud and hell hath no fury like a patient wronged.

Keep What You Raise campaigns are empowering companies that are a little further along, NGO,

Why do people support projects?

Three reasons, we find:

  • Hope. We are all touched by the pain of illness either in ourselves or loved ones. If your solution offers a reason to believe that it will reduce pain and suffering, people will support it.
  • Benefits. MedStartrs inspire patients, physicians, and partners to open their wallets by offering smart, fun, and tangible rewards (products, benefits, and experiences) that can improve healthcare, make people healthier, and solve problems. Don’t expect to get enough support with just a t-shirt or an arm band. That will work with the highly motivated, but most people are looking for something that addresses a real need.
  • Great Stories. MedStartr projects are efforts by real people to do something that matters for healthcare. Most healthcare innovators, whether they started as physicians, patients, or scientists, or even HMO execs, got motivated to dedicate their lives to change by a real world experience, a story. Tell your story about why you feel the need to build what you are building or do what you are doing. Be real and tell it like it was or is. Tell it though blog posts, pics, and videos, give updates about them here, and tell the story of how you are solving the problem – turning your lemons to lemonade for all. Take a peek around the site and see what we’re talking about. Stories abound.

And finally the all important 4th reason: You asked them to. Your story and passion should come through in your video or write up, helping others get to know you and your mission. If they believe in what you are doing and you ask for reasonable assistance, people respond. But you have to ask. If you are not comfortable with asking for help, then find someone who is and let them run you MedStartr project.

Fun fact: women seem to be much more successful so far on the site, we think this is related to the male predisposition to drive faster when lost rather than ask for directions.

Does MedStartr take some percentage of ownership or intellectual property of things made through MedStartr?

Absolutely not. We, or one of our board members, may ask for a meeting or make an offer, but generally no, this is not our model. We do now have an accelerator model though which in return for world class assistance that has been found to be very effective we will take equity if we believe in what you are doing enough to throw in our time, but that is by invite only, sorry.

How do I start a project?

Click the “Get Startd” or “Submit your Project” link on the Home page or anywhere you see it, Like here: Get Startd. You’ll be asked to review and confirm the MedStartr Guidelines, and then you can start putting your project together. Once you’re ready to launch, you’ll submit it to us for review, and someone from the MedStartr Staff will look it over, help you tweak it if needed, and get you going. We’ll call to interview you and put you through our credentialing process. Due to the high risk of fraud we may ask you to provide additional information or have a face to face meeting. Healthcare has a long history of “Snake Oil” products, so we need to see the clinical efficacy of the product or service, sometimes in real life. Fortunately, our network of trusted Mentors are in every city in the world and we can meet you where you are within a week if needed.

Alternatively, call or email us at (530) MED-STARtr or

Once your project is accepted, you’ll be able to launch it whenever you’re ready.

If you have questions please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call 530.MED.STAR – or 530.633.7827. You will almost always get a Founder and yes, we do answer our phones!

What does it cost?

There are two ways to run campaigns on MedStartr. If you want to do an “All or Nothing” Campaign and only if you meet your goal and raise the capital you need, we charge 5% of the capital raised. If you do not meet your goal it is completely free.

Alternatively, if your campaign is not dependent on a specific level of funding to be able to deliver on your goals, we now offer “Keep What You Raise” campaigns that enable project makers to raise funds with more flexibility. KWYR campaigns cost a little more at 8% but if you just want to sell your product that is ready but new or have a service that needs no fund raising, just your first hundred doctors or patients, it is the lowest cost way to get thousands of people involved in your idea.

Also be advised that our payment processors, paypal or WePay, take about 3-4% as well. So factor this into you project – about 9 – 12% total- and put it in the budget.

I only need to raise a small amount of funding. Is MedStartr for me?

Absolutely! MedStartr is for healthcare-related projects big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental, clinical or device based, traditional or alternative – if it makes people healthier or helps fix our healthcare system, it belong here! Small projects that you (or you and a few friends) can do over a weekend are perfect for MedStartr. In fact, the average project on MedStartr has raised $9,055 online and this amount goes up every month. Offline our clients have raised over 25 Million from investors and been acquired by the likes of WebMD and Bausch & Lomb. Unlike Vegas or back room deals, what happens on MedStartr definitely does not stay on MedStartr. Once you show the world that Patients, Providers, and Partners love your idea, great stuff happens.

My project will take millions, is MedStartr for me?

Well, the most anyone has raised on a crowd funding platform is about 10 million. Is that enough? Be awesome and give it a shot. With all or nothing funding, you can’t really miss.

We also have some new information. What we are finding is that a successful MedStartr project makes you the edgiest, most attractive company around. This drives additional investor attention and partnerships like you would not believe! It isn’t just about the funds you raise from the crowd, but also about showing that there is significant demand for your product or project.

Update: Our first 120 days have provided the following results for the first fifteen companies:
32 Partnerships Started
4.2 million in funding from outside (offline) resources
2 acquisition offers (1 closed, 1 pending)
1 medical mission to the Dominican Republic
1 new Non profit dedicated to rare disease
1 new conference called "Partnership with Patients
$50,000+ in funding for startups through the site.
1 New Open Dataset that will change how people select doctors

Overall, the average succeful company has raised over $300,000 in funding online and off and over 67% or our first 25 projects have been successful.

Not a bad start!

2015 Update: We can now report that we have helped over 100 ideas get found and funded. Successful prjects have raised over 100M offline, gained over 150 new partners, been acquired a few times, and are changing healthcare.

Why are MedStartr Projects so much more successful than healthcare projects on other sites?

Yes, that is a frequently asked question, I didn’t just make it up. Reporters and new clients ask us all the time, but never people who have been clients. Why? Because they have had the MedStartr client experience. When you get six calls or emails or emails from world experts who have reviewed your project, asked hard questions, rewritten your material at a professional level, and reworked your model with you until you came up with one that will SELL, you know why our method works. It is like a tough mudder for your company, your idea, your business model, and even your product. We may not be very nice about it and we may reject your project if it does not make medical sense, but you will emerge with your best shot at crowdfunding possible in our full service model. Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and the rest are all self-service and most healthcare projects on those sites fail or are not allowed. We have created a hybrid of a crowdfunding platform and an Accelerator or Incubator to create something new we call an “Accelerator Platform”. Powered by crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, it works great!

Accelerator Platform? But most accelerators take a 5% – 10% chunk of equity and give some cash, do you do that?

No and no. We do charge more for the full accelerator service but we only take it from what you raise online and off. For the OPTIONAL Accelerator Services we charge 10% of what is raised online PLUS 3% of what happens offline for 120 days after your campaign ends OR 2% equity. We think this is fair, but if you do not, the full service approach is entirely optional. We also are negotiable since for larger companies and larger raises the fee would be disproportionate.

Please do not hesitate to tell us what you think. We look forward to helping in any way we can.

If I don’t do the Accelerated Service, will I still get full service?

Unlike every other crowdfunding platform, we do provide a good level of support for all projects, subject to availability. Our Mentor network, promotions, events, and more basic services are available to all as well. We think healthcare innovations are generally too important to fail and do everything we can to make sure they all work out. To be fair though we can only put an hour or two into each project for no charge. After that we charge a very reasonable $125 an hour.

If you have questions please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call 530.MED.STAR – or 530.633.7827. You will almost always get a Founder and yes, we do answer our phones!

Account Settings

How can I change my profile name?

Make sure you’re logged in to MedStartr and go to your profile page. Upload a picture and tell the world a little about yourself.

Can I change the email address associated with my account?

Make sure you’re logged in to MedStartr and go to your account page.

How do I unsubscribe from or adjust which emails I receive?

Make sure you’re logged in to MedStartr and go to your notifications page.

I forgot my password, how do I log in?

You can request a password reset at the bottom of the login page.

How can I log in using my Facebook account?

You can sign in with Facebook using the Facebook login button on the login page.

How do I disconnect my Facebook account?

Log in to MedStartr through Facebook, then go to your account settings to disconnect from Facebook and set a password on your account page.

How come my Facebook account is showing up as somebody else?

If you are using a computer that is logged in to someone else’s Facebook, connecting your MedStartr account to Facebook will create a link to that other person’s account. Make sure that whichever computer you’re working on is either logged out of Facebook or already logged in as yourself.

Do you recommend connecting with Facebook?

Well, that depends. Your health is a very personal thing and we would never encourage people to overshare anything about their health. This is why we enable privacy controls that de-identifies users. If you are starting a project this is not an option, but those sponsoring projects may do so.

That stated, if you want to help get the project(s) you are backing in a big way: facebook, linked in, twitter, blog posts, and other social media connections and communications are awesome and we encourage you connect your MedStartr account to ALL of the above. This helps build a strong community of support that enables projects to succeed.

Oh and it is also a super easy way for anyone to log in to MedStartr.

If you’re a healthcare innovator, scientist, provider, or work for a big healthcare investment firm, it’s a great way to let the innovation community know what you care about and know a little bit more about you. It doesn’t mean you have to accept random friend requests or make your entire profile public, but it’s an easy way to show backers, MedStartrs, and fellow funders you’re a real person. You can also adjust the privacy settings of your Facebook account to better control what new visitors see.

What is Facebook Connect?

Facebook Connect is a way for you to link your Facebook account to MedStartr so you don’t need to create a new account. It’s the same as logging in through Facebook. MedStartr uses the email you use for Facebook, and you don’t have to remember a new password. It’s easy!

If you’re a MedStartr (project creator) and you’ve turned on Facebook Connect, your Facebook username and friend count will be displayed in your MedStartr bio (at the bottom-right corner of your project page). This helps backers learn more about the people behind the projects they support, and builds trust between the backer and creator.

If having your Facebook profile a click away makes you uncomfortable, you can either adjust your privacy settings on your Facebook profile or disconnect from Facebook through the “About You” section of your Edit Project page or on your account page.

Can I connect my company’s Facebook page to my project?

No, Facebook Connect works for personal Facebook profiles only. If your project is a team collaboration, have one of your team members Facebook Connect to the project.

How do I delete my account?

Your account can be deleted from your account page. Warning: this is not reversible!

Site Basics

Where is MedStartr on the web?

You can find MedStartr on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Follow, like us, read us, fund us!

Where is MedStartr?

Home base is NYC but we have events and projects all over the US and the EU as well as funders from six continents. We were born out of the H2NYC Health Innovation Meetup group that Alex runs but do events around the US. Our EU leader is Ben Heubl who is based out of London and Copenhagen.

How can I contact MedStartr?

Call us at (530) MED-STARtr (530.633.7827) or use the Contact page. We want to hear from you.

Can I download the MedStartr logo?

Of course, just right click it and select save. You can also go to our Media page and download it. If you have a project, please link it straight to your project too! Better yet, embed the project you make or love on your own site!

Updated 01/17/2015


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