While equity and even real estate crowdfunding and peer to peer lending operations are seemingly everywhere, you have not seen as much of this type of fundraising in the healthcare industry and medical fields as you might expect. This is an oversight as the medical field is among the larger industries in the U.S., and medical research constantly needs money to move forward. That is why Medstartr began as an inventive and much-needed crowdfunding means for medical treatment and device creators to fund their healthcare startups, projects, cures, and innovations that improve the field of healthcare and assist individuals in living longer and healthier lives.
Medstartr Intro & Background
Medstartr turns out to be more than simply a critical crowdfunding solution. It is also an accelerator platform that helps new medical companies to ramp up to production and sales at the proverbial speed of light. The crowdfunding firm works with companies in order to create a Wave starting with doctors and patients, moving on to hospitals, and finally concluding with the partnerships, Venture Capitalists, and even major pharmaceutical or large medical research companies.
The reason that Medstartr has been so much more successful at this endeavor than its few struggling rivals lies in what they call the Crowd that Cares. This phenomenon refers to the audience of Medstartr that actually has an intensely vested interest in making these new medical ideas and treatments work, such as doctors, patients, allied health professionals, hospital administrators, and healthcare industry employees. These are the individuals who are seeking healthcare solutions and then dispensing them personally. Financial backers of the creators on the Medstartr platform are as varied as groups of patients, doctors, press members, CEO's and Presidents of major corporations, and even government leaders across the globe.
Medstartr Founder and Management Team
Medstartr was founded by three pioneering individuals Alex Fair, Mike Pence, and Brett Berliner.
Co-Founder and CEO Alex Fair has served as mentor and advisor to literally dozens of different corporations, startup companies, governments, and accelerators over the years. Alex developed and designed the New York City HealthTech Pilot program. He also created the globe's biggest Health Innovation meeting group the H2NYC which has proven instrumental in assisting hundreds of new healthcare ideas to be discovered and funded quicker. This meeting and group became the origin of MedStartr.
Co-Founder and CTO Mike Pence left the initial developmental group at Kickstarter to join Alex's first venture FairCareMD back in 2010. Before this, Mike began the development project at Kickstarter as lead developer and then moved on to create and design the wildly successful TuneCore music marketplace that is artist-centered. At MedStartr, Mike has been critical as the person responsible for building out the platform for medical crowdfunding to reinvent the way that healthcare is discovered and funded. The basis of his code has gone on to be utilized in helping out dozens of other platforms to get started with Mike's own consulting venture. This has given him an enormous amount of industry experience as he assisted a great number of ideas in being uncovered and funded quickly.
Co-Founder and Key Man Bret Berliner originally joined both Alex and Mike first in their ongoing mission to get MedStartr running. As such, he served integrally as a cornerstone in the first twenty projects of the crowdfunding company. Though Bret is involved with other projects of his own now, including attending college, he continues to assist with special projects and also as an instrumental part of the clinical review process. He remains their graphic design expert and technical application go-to guy.
Medstartr does not make or facilitate any loans at this time. This is a platform for crowdfunding donations, with separate private, third party, off-site arrangements for the equity stake or buyout process going on quietly behind the scenes all the time.
How Medstartr Works
Medstart encourages users to think of it as an all or nothing platform and concept for crowdfunding. In this respect, it is much like Kickstarter, the Godfather of crowdfunding platforms. All or nothing in crowdfunding means that the individuals raising the funds only receives the money if they manage to hit or exceed the goal. While it is a frustrating policy for those who do not reach their goals, it helps to fire up the crowd base to donate more generously and to get the word about the campaign out to more people. Medstartr only charges 5% of the funds as a fee from individuals or companies who raise their funds in this manner.
Keep What You Raise, or KWYR, is the safer, easier way to raise funds. The companies and individuals who employ this method of fundraising are allowed to keep whatever amount they raise, regardless of whether or not their own stated goal is achieved. Medstartr gets an 8% cut for this type of crowdfunding, but they reduce the amount automatically to 6% if the financial goal is hit. Not every project is allowed to pursue this path with the company, as a specific criteria must be met to be approved.
Medstartr has enjoyed stunningly rapid success for their medical crowdfunding campaigns so far. While they may only be able to say that their Crowd that Cares has contributed $150,000 to various medical research projects' funding, this is only part of the story. The major fundraising has actually happened off-site and off-platform. They have seen literally millions raised and invested already in under a year, thanks to the interest shown by Partners, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Grants, Venture Philanthropists, the U.S. and foreign governments, and Family Businesses. They say that this results from the nature of their online platform that is actually a “Crowd Test Before the Big Money Invests.” In other words, the mega investors and big pharmaceuticals are waiting quietly in the wings and watching to see which ideas and projects will succeed on a smaller scale before they call Medstartr and request a private meeting with the owner of the idea or medical breakthrough.
- Requests to Offer Funding or Buyouts – Medstartr receives numerous behind the scenes requests to invest in creators and researchers' idea in an off-platform capacity. They pass these along and have seen millions of dollars raised this way and still other companies acquired by much larger ones.
- Create and Facilitate – The company offers to assist with the creation of the project and to help facilitate the projects with fund raising on other crowdfunding and startup venture capital investment sites when the highest tier of service is selected.
- “Crowdfunding Optimization” – Medstartr maintains a staff of filmmakers, copywriters, MBA business people, marketers, and mentors who are world-class in their fields and who know what works well in healthcare crowdfunding. Because of this, 68% of their projects reach fundraising success as compared to an average of 7% on rival healthcare crowdfunding sites.
- Facilitated Service Level – This entry service level includes as much as two hours of expert assistance to all of the members of the platform. Besides this, expert help is always available in the form of coaching and answering questions as required. It also includes the Getting Funded Guide with daily instructions on how to succeed in the fundraising side, based on Medstartr's fantastic track record. This tier of service costs 5% of funds raised.
- Partnered Service Level – For 10%, Medstartr partners with the startup or creators in order to deliver their full range of services as needed. This includes help with marketing, video making, business design, reward creating, writing, press intros, digital media strategy, and other relevant services. More than 80% of the projects in this tier of service are successful in meeting their fundraising objectives.
- Full Acceleration Service level – This tier of service provides all the hands on help time that a company raising funds could possibly need. All of the Partnered level services are included, plus introductions to Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors. Typical accelerators get 6% of all funds raised for this level of service, but Medstartr charges only 5% plus $20k in equity warrants for a fair value estimate.
- Non-Profit Medstartr Grants Setup – This service is now provided to all clients of Medstartr. Once a client becomes a non-profit company, it is able to issue receipts that are fully tax-deductible. They have found that donations rise by 40% this way. The 101 Foundation takes care of all the issues and administration work for the Medstartr Grants based largely on the amount of money that is being crowdfunded. The fee for this service is 4% of all funds raised, well worth it if the process supercharges the fundraising efforts.
Medstartr maintains a single office. Their corporate headquarters is located in New York City, and it is found at 5 Crosby Street, Suite 6D, New York, NY 10023.
Medstartr Interface Screenshots
Medstartr is very concerned about the identity and products of the healthcare idea creators with whom they are working and recommending to their financial backers on the site. They go to great lengths to make sure there is no fraud or abuse from any of these clients. It starts with information that the clients provide when they sign up to fundraise. More than just the identity is investigated. Medstartr actually checks out the premise of the medical treatment hypothesis to make sure it is legitimate and promising.
They do this via searches through medical literature and journals, and by consulting with their world-class medical experts on the subject of the medical research under consideration. If necessary, the company will even call up their contacts at the FDA to get a professional opinion. Medstartr says that the projects are important to them, but their reputation has to come first. After all, in their own words they are only a single “snake oil salesman” away from a crushing and potentially ruinous lawsuit. This is why they engage in a thorough and exhaustive clinical review process very earnestly on every single project that applies for crowdfunding and fundraising consideration.
Following passage of the clinical review process, Medstartr carries on with credentialing the investor or creator personally. They ensure that the project maker is actually the person whom they represent themselves to be. They investigate the not for profit or company's profile and status, and then they engage in background checks if they have any grounds or cause. The payment processor verifies identity as part of the process. The public crowdfunders are their last line of safety defence, as the company requests that all of their funding backers report any suspicious behavior, activity, or information on any of their projects to them immediately either via phone or email.
Medstartr Complaints and Ratings
Medstartr is no more than a year old, so it is not terribly surprising that there are no Better Business Bureau files on them as of time of publication. At the same time, they appear to be too new to have any complaints found online.
Medstartr Customer Support
Medstartr is very proud of the fact that they actually answer all phone calls, and says that they look forward to speaking with any clients or potential clients personally. They provide an email for the support desk as well. Their platform features a customer contact form to make this type of communication even easier. There is no live chat supported at this time. Investor relations offers customer service in the form of an investor package for their MedFund or Medstartr itself. We always like when the P2P and crowdfunding platforms are very transparent and even encouraging about utilizing their customer support, as this is certainly not always the case in this space and speaks volumes as to the quality of the outfit in question.
Medstartr Costs & Fees
The platform's model for crowdfunding is unique in several ways. They are not charging investing backers anything to participate or register. More importantly, they are not taking any money from their fundraising clients unless they reach their goal in the all or nothing scheme. For this method they charge 5% of funds raised.
Those who utilize the Keep What You Raise method pay 8% if they do not achieve their full funding goals, and 6% if they do reach them. There are optional levels and tiers of service that can raise the fees charged to as high as 12%, but for these prices they are all but guaranteeing success in reaching fundraising goals with their over 80% success rate (and fundraisers do not pay anything if they do not reach their fundraising goals in any case). This all means that fundraisers have nothing to lose with the platform, and potentially significant fundraising returns to gain.
Final Words on Medstartr
The results speak for themselves with Medstartr. Fundraising clients and healthcare idea creators have seen thousands of patients; hundreds of doctors; numerous Venture Capitalists and Accelerators; and major government agencies, companies, and institutions such as AHA, NCI, ONC, HHS, Sierra Wireless, Verizon, Aetna, GE, and company CEO's from Practice Fusion, and Doximity become involved in their fundraising efforts already. These are the major names of healthcare today. Thanks to Medstartr, they are discovering, uncovering, funding, partnering with, and purchasing new healthcare ideas and treatments directly from the ideas and companies crowdfunding on the platform. Those clients who apply for and are accepted into their full blown accelerator program have seen results of more than $6 million raised in only six months from Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, and crowdfunders.
- The platform is free to financial backers.
- The success rate is over 67%, more than 6 times as high as the average competitor.
- Their top tier of service boasts an 80% success rate.
- They pass along interest in Venture Capital and Angel Investing along with partnerships and take-over inquiries.
- They are mostly running all or nothing campaigns, so you only get to keep money raised if you meet your full goal.
- They charge a hefty between 5% - 12% of money raised as a fee from healthcare creators and developers.
Medstartr is without a doubt the gold standard in medical crowdfunding. They levy no fees or charges unless funds are raised and paid out. While millions are not raised on the platform itself at the present, off-site over $6 million was raised in only the first 6 months. Healthcare idea and treatment developers can create a test market for their product with their "Crowd that Cares."