Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Harrison, most widely known as a songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist for the ’80s new wave sensations Talking Heads has co-founded an equity crowdfunding portal called RedCrow.
Founded in November 2016, RedCrow’s mission is to help investors discover privately held, early stage start-ups in the booming healthcare sector and connect with backers to expand their businesses. Cybersecurity, virtual reality, machine learning and potentially “environmentally-focused” investments are other related areas it plans to explore.
The Innovation Institute, a US healthcare incubator, recently partnered with RedCrow to give start-ups within our portfolio exposure to crowdsourcing and equity crowdfunding that provide direct access to RedCrow’s pool of investors.
Unlike other crowdfunding portals, RedCrow allows the public to invest alongside industry experts who serve as RedCrow advisors and strategic investment partners.
Since the launch of The Innovation Institute in 2013, we’ve interacted with early-stage companies that have been created by extremely talented medical professionals across our “Member Owners” of health systems totalling 125 hospitals.
This partnership with RedCrow will provide these companies with the seed and post-seed funding needed to get to the next level, as well as giving individuals in the healthcare ecosystem an exciting opportunity to invest in their peers.
One might ask, how did a rocker like Jerry Harrison segue into healthcare technology and innovation? Well, it turns out that Harrison has been a serial entrepreneur for quite a while.
RedCrow’s founder and CEO Brian A. Smith, a leader in the equity crowdfunding space, felt that Harrison, who was educated at Harvard, had an extraordinary background as a technology investor and co-founder of companies such as Garageband.com, an internet music resource and early pioneer in crowdsourcing.
He also knew Harrison strongly believed that the “private market” was essential in finding opportunities for people to both make money and do something to make a difference. It was a perfect match!
RedCrow targets start-ups that have the potential for world changing breakthroughs. Its experts – physicians and other professionals – determine which start-ups have the potential for success with the crowd.
[Read more: Key to advancing the future of healthcare: Google, Oracle and others make precision medicine moves]
Another big name in the music world who was a great entrepreneur as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is Leo Fender, inventor of the renowned Fender Stratocaster guitar. Fender was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock Walk of Fame, and he received the Country Music Association Pioneer Award for his game-changing contributions to the music world. His accomplishments were also acknowledged with a Technical Grammy Award in 2009. Fender died in 1991.
Fender was a behind the scenes genius as an inventor and entrepreneur. In a book released recently about him, Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World, Fender is described as someone whose name is synonymous with fist-pumping rock and roll sound, yet in reality, he was a shy, unassuming inventor who was nearly deaf and had one glass eye. The experts he worked with were passionate guitarists who helped him perfect the craft, and since 1954 his revolutionary Strat has been the preference of world-renowned musicians.
I have been a guitarist since the ’80s with my college band VEX. This synth-driven fusion of punk rock has been a source of inspiration and collaboration for me. With the combination of creative talent and entrepreneurial spirit working together, amazing things can happen. We are hopeful that in healthcare we will achieve Hall of Fame worthy success through joining forces with visionaries, experts and investors.
We are now at the point at which we have medical technology start-ups in our queue that are potential healthcare disrupters, and we have the partners that can help match those start-ups with the funding needed to deliver their technologies to the patients who need them.
As we can see, creativity and innovation happen across industries when we can learn from each other. It’s especially amazing to see how they are crossing over for the good of humanity and the planet.
Larry Stofko is the Executive Vice President of US healthcare incubator The Innovation Institute.