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Surrounded by
health innovators

A conversation with Unity Stoakes, President and Co-founder of StartUp Health

Tell us how StartUp Health got started five years ago.
In June 2011, StartUp Health launched at Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to meet in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Biden to share the vision of organizing and investing in a global army of thousands of entrepreneurs passionate about reinventing the future of health. StartUp Health is now five years into its 25-year mission to improve the health and wellness of everyone in the world.

What was it like to meet President Obama and Vice President Biden?
In a word, inspiring. It's such an honor to have the opportunity to meet and try to learn from leaders who have dedicated their lives to service. Being in the Oval Office was certainly surreal, and I remember it as a series of hundreds of impactful moments stitched together into one amazing experience.

What are you most proud of in terms of the accomplishments of StartUp Health?
The other day I was talking with the co-founder of a StartUp Health portfolio company, and he shared a story about how their solution had just saved two infant babies lives. Every day I think how grateful I am to have the opportunity to be surrounded by people like this, and to get to spend my time supporting the Health Transformers who are reinventing the future of health.

The most rewarding part of StartUp Health is the tangible impact being made each day and the progress toward our goal of improving the wellbeing of billions of people around the world. I'm most proud that I get to be part of this mission, and to be surrounded by other passionate entrepreneurs and innovators who are spending their lives creating solutions for our future.

Where do you see health innovation in the next five years?
Expect to see 20 years of progress in the next five years as the pace of health innovation accelerates. We’re in a unique era of rapid innovation in healthcare, driven by seismic converging conditions causing dramatic shifts within the industry, spurring a wave of technological advancement, changing business models and, ultimately, creating windows of opportunity driving new entrants (including startups and large companies from outside of traditional healthcare) to the market.

Ultimately, we will start to see a new wave of innovation occur over the coming five years that builds off of the infrastructure and advancements of the past 20 years. We will start to see the impact with consumers in the United States and around the world in meaningful ways that ultimately impact people’s wellbeing.

What are you most passionate about outside of work?
I don't really create a distinction between work and life in many ways, because so much of what I do every day doesn't seem like work. I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to work with my wife, who is also part of the StartUp Health mission, and I also make it a point to bring my young son on most of my business trips with me. We make it one great journey and adventure together. I would say I'm most passionate about enjoying time with my family, and spending time learning and adventuring with them, and I try to bring that energy back to my work each day.


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