Matter News


MATTER’s Anniversary: CEO Steven Collens Looks Back on Year One

One year ago, together with Senator Dick Durbin, Governor Bruce Rauner, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we opened MATTER with the ambitious goal of developing a better model for healthcare technology innovation.

MATTER Grand Opening Ribbon-Cutting
Ribbon-cutting at the MATTER Grand Opening

There has never been a more dynamic time for healthcare innovation – and we built MATTER to accelerate the development of new technologies that will improve health and healthcare.

We launched with 56 startup companies who took a risk on us. They moved in on day one, hoping we would deliver what we promised: a community, resources, and programs that would help them accelerate the development of their businesses. Today we have 117 startups at MATTER, developing breakthrough health IT, medical device, diagnostics, and biopharma technologies.

We launched with 11 founding partners who made that grand opening possible. Thanks again to AbbVie, Allscripts, the American Medical Association, Astellas, EY, Healthios, Horizon Pharma, JPMorgan Chase, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, OSF HealthCare, and Takeda – each of whom took a risk and invested in us before we had anything to offer other than a plan. Today we have 70 industry-leading partners who make our mission possible and come together every day at MATTER to accelerate innovation.

MATTER InsideOut Program
Representatives from our industry-leading partners and our members work side-by-side at our Inside/Out program

We started with a thesis: that the best way to develop healthcare technologies is to bring established companies and health systems together with entrepreneurs to develop new products together. As we’ve gained experience working with our members and partners, we have focused our efforts on doing three things for healthcare innovators, from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 company executives: equipping them with tools and knowledge to better build their technologies; empowering them with an extensive network of corporate and hospital executives, researchers, physicians, investors, and entrepreneurs; and emboldening them with a community that helps inspire them to greater heights.

In our first year as we built out our programs, we facilitated 1,411 mentorship meetings, hosted 335 events, welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, and consumed many hundreds of gallons of coffee. We built bridges between startups and established institutions that have accelerated the development of new technologies ranging from a new operating system for medical devices, to algorithms that predict when people will have heart attacks days before they exhibit visible symptoms.

At the 2015 Midwest University Health Tech Showcase, we brought 100 investors to look at 50 technologies from 10 universities across the country – and we will host the 2016 event in just a few weeks.

Rishi Shah of ContextMedia interviewing former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman during our Tales from the Trenches series.
Rishi Shah of ContextMedia interviewing former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman during our Tales from the Trenches series

Together with ContextMedia and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, we brought successful healthcare entrepreneurs to MATTER to tell their stories in our Tales from the Trenches series. With NorthShore University HealthSystem, we brought leading clinicians and researchers to discuss the latest developments in medical science. And with the American Medical Association, we opened the AMA Interaction Studio, which brings the physician office into MATTER and allows doctors to collaborate with entrepreneurs in a real-world setting.

Last month, we acquired Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM), a 5-year-old, team-based mentoring program that accelerates the development of complex technologies emerging from some of the best research labs in the country.

We had an amazing first year – but we’re really just getting started. Our focus as we round the corner into year two is on enhancing our startup incubation model, expanding the value we create for our partners, and broadening our network across the country.

Industry executives collaborating at Living Lab

To do that, we are continuing to develop new initiatives that create value for our community. We launched our Inside/Out program in December with a curated, 50-person event that was facilitated by IDEO and focused on improving diabetes management. We launched the Living Lab fellowship in January – which bring groups of industry executives to MATTER for 3 months to collaborate on the development of new business models that address industry-wide issues such as adherence. And we formalized our Financing Clinic, which brings investors from across the country to MATTER to meet with member companies. Each week we welcome new startup members, new industry partners, and new health systems to MATTER to work with our community to build the best solutions to the most vexing challenges.

We are grateful to those who believed in us as we opened our doors and built our initial operations, and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about working with all our members and partners to accelerate the development of technologies that will improve live and lives.