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Startup Weekend brings 54 hours of collaboration and innovation to healthcare

on December 12, 2011

It wasn’t exactly a weekend of leisure for some business-minded individuals in certain parts of the world, including Taiwan, Algeria and Kosovo, where Startup Weekend rolled into town.

Startup Weekend, which recently became a Kauffman affiliate, brings together software developers, graphic designers and industry people to spend 54 hours collaborating, innovating and building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a business.

And after taking a good look at the global business climate, the Kauffman Foundation is planning on turning more attention to the healthcare business in its future Startup Weekend programming.

“Timing seems to be good — a couple of years ago to launch a company in health, the amount of capital you needed was really high, so it was difficult to launch,” said Franck Nouyrigat, co-founder of Startup Weekend. “Today with mobile apps, with very basic steps you can start a company, and there’s lots of traction.”

The goal of startup weekend, according to the co-founder, isn’t necessarily to launch the product but rather to provide the opportunity for experiential learning. And that experiential learning is especially critical in the healthcare space.

“If you work as a doctor in a hospital, you work with patients. You don’t run into social media experts or technology people,” Nouyrigat said. “We provide this friction that they don’t have in their natural environment.”

Scanadu, a San Francisco-based medical device startup company that emerged out of a Startup Weekend in Brussels in January, was recently featured on TechCrunch for garnering $2 million in angel funding.

It’s companies like Scanadu that inspired a test run for Startup Weekend Health earlier this year in the Bay Area, which Nouyrigat said was well-received.

Andrew Brandeis, a physician with CarePractice in San Francisco, said the weekend included “lots of energetic and motivated people, working together under the gun to pull off the amazing feat of bringing a concept to fruition and a pitch in two days.”

“I was amazed by the talent and dedication of a bunch of hackers working together to better the planet,” he added.

Nouyrigat said he hopes to host at least 30 Startup Weekend Healths in major cities around the world by the end of 2012. “You have brilliant people in the industry that don’t see entrepreneurship as an option,” he said. “We want these brilliant people to step out of the industry a little.”

Startup Weekend - Full from Eighteen Eighty on Vimeo.

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