HaloHealth and Thin Air Labs Announce Partnership to Support Healthcare Innovation in Alberta
By our Head of Story, Leah Sarich
A new partnership between HaloHealth and Thin Air Labs shows how collaboration can lead to rapid growth for healthcare innovation in Alberta, and beyond.
Crystal Phillips, Health Lead at Thin Air Labs, reached out to Luke Sheen, Executive Director at HaloHealth, a physician angel group, when she discovered the two organizations had significant mission alignment.
“A collaboration could be designed to optimize each organization’s strengths,” explains Crystal, “in order to support the growth of more health ventures.”
“It was very obvious that it would make for a very meaningful partnership,” says Luke.
Luke and Crystal recognized an opportunity to share deal flow, due diligence and connections. HaloHealth’s physician investors serve as strategic advisors and mentors to healthcare startups. Thin Air offers support for startups with their Funding Catalyst and Product Traction services as well as decades of software experience.
“When we’re looking at other investors in the startup’s cap table, we’re looking for specialized, value-add investors. Although our group brings specialty matched physician investors/advisors, we do not have software expertise. Therefore, Thin Air Labs was a valuable asset for us to co-invest together and share deal flow - and to expand our geographical reach to include Alberta.”
And deal flow is continuing to increase in Calgary, something both Thin Air and HaloHealth know well. They’re already seeing promising healthcare companies in the pipeline, and believe all the sector needs is support to really take off.
“It's an important signal to those outside of Alberta who are starting to see what’s happening and what’s possible in this province.” --- Crystal Phillips, Health Lead, Thin Air Labs
“We felt that the strategic support and infrastructure for early stage healthcare startups in Alberta were not as well known when compared to Ontario and Quebec,” explains Luke, “so therefore I felt compelled to lend our capital as well as our expertise to help promising local Alberta healthcare startups that just need that first tinder in the fire to do great things.”
Great things are already happening because of this partnership. Thin Air and HaloHealth have both invested in Rehabtronics, an Edmonton based healthcare company that has developed a product designed to prevent pressure injuries and save lives. They’re also excited about a new dermatology venture.
“A new dermatology based startup was introduced to us from Thin Air Labs,” explains Luke. “Coincidentally, our Calgary based board member is a dermatologist. So, we were able to take on that startup, advise them, and get them to a capacity, where after they finish CDL, they’ll be ready for investment. We also brought in UCeed, to help us in advisory and share due diligence and hopefully, some investment. Eventually we hope to include Thin Air Labs as co-investors. The startup is already working with Thin Air’s Funding Catalyst service team.”
And Luke says he looks forward to working with Thin Air Labs to support more local healthcare startups in the future.
“I look forward to working together each step of the way, all the way from origination to due diligence, to investment, but also providing continuous support to the healthcare startups post investment leveraging both our areas of expertise which is ready and available to any of the startups we co-invest with.”
"I am excited to support local healthcare startups and hopefully make a lasting difference - and yes, I think now is the time for Alberta.” --- Luke Sheen, Executive Director, HaloHealth
The partnership also opens up new capital for investment into the ecosystem.
Luke says Crystal’s extensive network in health in Alberta, helped get HaloHealth off the ground.
“We were able to successfully grow our physician investor/advisor membership here, unlock unique capital for startups and build the capacity for physicians to become sophisticated angels interested in this community,” explains Luke. “So that’s another collaborative effort that worked out for both of us that sends a signal to the Alberta community - that it’s not only tech savvy individuals who can or should be interested in startup investing, but rather, it can be everyone.”
Crystal agrees. She says this partnership sends a message to the broader innovation ecosystem, that the opportunity is now to invest in Alberta. “It's an important signal to those outside of Alberta who are starting to see what’s happening and what’s possible in this province.”
“We want to be at the forefront to support this movement - and make a meaningful impact.” says Luke. “It is an honor to work with warm-hearted ecosystem partners like Thin Air Labs, the folks at UCeed Health Funds and Innovate Calgary. Together, I am excited to support local healthcare startups and hopefully make a lasting difference - and yes, I think now is the time for Alberta.”
“We seek collaborations like this which grow and strengthen the ecosystem, drawing in new startups, talent and investors,” explains Crystal. “As we continue to work together, we’re creating more examples of how to support health innovation in the province.”
And that’s the goal, says Luke, to show how meaningful collaboration can allow for more innovation and more impact. “Our partnership has been a strong signal that there is always room for other groups to bring their expertise and that together, we can support a variety of healthcare startups in Alberta.”
Fuelling the growth of that growing healthcare innovation ecosystem, and #BuildingAHealthierNext for all of us, from right here in Alberta.