Ten Healthcare Moonshots and How This Digital Health Entrepreneur is Tackling Them with Unity Stoakes, Co-founder and President of StartUp Health

Unity Stoakes, Co-founder and President of StartUp Health

Ten Healthcare Moonshots and How This Digital Health Entrepreneur is Tackling Them

Ten Healthcare Moonshots and How This Digital Health Entrepreneur is Tackling Them with Unity Stoakes, Co-founder and President of StartUp Health

Ten Healthcare Moonshots and How This Digital Health Entrepreneur is Tackling Them with Unity Stoakes, Co-founder and President of StartUp Health

Thanks for tuning in to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I want to personally invite you to our first inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s a conference that the Outcomes Rocket and the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Sciences has teamed up on. We’re going to put together silo crushing practices just like we do here on the podcast except it’s going to be live with inspiring keynotes and panelists. To set the tone, we’re conducting a meeting where you can be part of drafting the blueprint for the future of healthcare. That’s right. You could be a founding member of this group of talented industry and practitioner leaders. Join me and 200 other inspiring health leaders for the first Inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s an event that you’re not going to want to miss. And since there’s only 200 tickets available you’re going to want to act soon. So how do you learn more? Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference. For more details on how to attend that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference and you’ll be able to get all the info that you need on this amazing health care thinkathon. That’s outcomesrocket.health/conference.

Welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I welcome you to go to outcomesrocket.health/reviews where you could write and review. Today’s guest and the podcast because today we have an amazing guest and an amazing contributor to Health. His name is Unity Stoakes. He’s a co-founder and president of StartUp health. Unity is on a lifelong mission to achieve the impossible to improve the health and well-being of everyone in the world. I know that’s big but this is a guy that thinks big. So by combining the power of moonshot thinking, a transformer mindset, and collaborative communities, he believes anything is possible. Unity’s done a tremendous amount in health. What I want to do is open up the microphone to him to open up with you guys and gals on some of the things that he’s up to his background and why he believes this is possible. Unity, welcome to the podcast.

It’s great to be here. Thank you so much for having me on the show today.

It is my pleasure my friend. You’re a speaker you’re a contributor to Health you’re an investor. Talk to us a little bit about why you got into health to begin with.

Well you know really I’m an entrepreneur at heart. My business partner Steven Krein and I we’ve been working together actually 20 years as entrepreneurs. We started out in the technology sector took an internet company public in the late 90s and about 12 years ago. One of our former board members of a previous company was unfortunately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it was during the experience of trying to help his wife really uncover some new treatments and do some research that we discovered really how broken health care system was from the patient’s perspective. And we were frustrated by that. We didn’t understand why technology hadn’t really been leveraged in new ways while it was very complicated for consumers or patients to really figure things out for themselves. So that’s when I first started thinking about wanting to do our next area of focus to be really in a more meaningful place. And we saw that the whole health care sector was very ripe for transformation and needed to be really thinking of other entrepreneurs in innovative ways to try to create a better system and try to find the solutions so that’s what originally you got there. It’s been quite a journey since then over the past decade or so and in fact we launched our most recent Business StartUp Health about seven years ago which I can get into as well. And it’s been just a really extraordinary opportunity to dedicate our time and lives to trying to innovate in healthcare sector.

Unity that’s powerful. Thank you for sharing that story. I’m sure not easy business partners can be like family you pend a lot of time with each other and this sort of uncovered the things that were going wrong with the health system you took it on yourself and now you know startup health you guys have over 200 companies spanning six continents. You’ve got a workforce a network of over 200,000 innovators. You guys are doing a lot of great things and you’ve got your health moonshots out of all the things that you’re focused on unity. What would you say health leaders need to be zoomed into today.

Well really what we’re trying to do is reinvent the future of health. We’re organizing a global army of what we call health transformers. These are the entrepreneurs and innovators. We’re organizing this global army to achieve 10 health moonshots over the next 25 years. And it’s very important to couple things of this out there. First this concept of a global army. We used that language very purposely because there’s a lot of great communities a lot of great organizations but to us in the Army is it symbolizes a group of people a collective force that marches together towards a common goal or set a goal. So our common goals are these can help moonshot. And each one of these moonshots can impact the health and well-being of at least a billion people. So we believe that over the next 25 years or so we have the ability as a collective force to improve the health and well-being of everybody in the world. That’s our goal. I think what other leaders really should be paying attention to and thinking about are two things. One is really paying attention to and helping support what entrepreneurs and innovators are doing today. The more that you can support external innovation and an entrepreneurs that are rethinking the future I think that will not only bode well for for this movement but can actually make an extraordinary impact on your own organizations. And then the second thing is I don’t think enough leaders today are focusing on the global opportunity. I don’t think they’re thinking about the millions of people that don’t yet have access to adequate care that are really outside of the system. Most of what we talk about today we see here in the United States around the health care industry is really about 300 million people or a three trillion dollar market here in the West. When in actuality there’s billions of people that need access to care. And I think this is both a big challenge but it’s also the biggest opportunity for current leaders and future leaders to be focused on.

A really great and concise way of summarizing those two points, Unity. And there’s no doubt that startup health is doing their part. Can you give an example to the listeners of what you guys have done so far to help improve outcomes?

Yes so we now have the world’s largest portfolio of digital health wellness and healthcare companies. We’ve got over 200 I think 215 companies today really across a very broad spectrum of innovation and really all over the world. So they’re currently located in 18 countries. We’re in six continents today over 60 cities. And what I’m most proud of is how these entrepreneurs are really redesigning many aspects of the future of health. So not only are many of these companies bringing extraordinary new technologies or solutions to market. They’re also doing things like reinventing future business models and really rethinking how the future business of the industry will operate. We just had dozens and dozens of real success stories that we’re quite proud of. And to me being an entrepreneur myself having worked with many of these founders for going on six years in some cases it’s just extraordinary to see them now scaling and really developing and developing businesses that are impacting some cases millions of patients lives. So you know I can give you lots of examples if that’s helpful. But it’s just so inspiring to be surrounded by these entrepreneurs help transformers and to see the impact that their solutions are making on patient.

Yeah. Unity I love it. You know and I could hear the passion in your voice and thinking about your ten health moonshots which one of those resonates the most for you and maybe you could bring in one of those success stories that you’ve mentioned here.

Sure just to give Radloff what some of them are the first is really focusing on bringing access to care to everyone in the world have them over seven and a half billion people. The second is the cost to Euro moonshot. How do we rethink the business models and make health care and health solutions free around the world. That takes a radical rethink in terms of creating and recreating what the business models and distribution systems of the future are going to be. I’m also deeply inspired by we do a lot of work with the cancer moonshot and helping to end cancer as we know it as well as curing disease. But to give me a example I was just talking to founder of one of our companies babyscripts a couple of days ago and one of our moonshots is around children’s health and women’s health. And this company babyscripts has an extraordinary solution that’s helping families and expectant mothers who are really have high risk pregnancies and they have a whole suite of technologies something they call the mommy kit that really makes it possible for the mothers to stay in their home and still be connected to their caregivers and to their doctors throughout their pregnancy and be monitoring any potential issues that come up and what’s so extraordinary is when you start to dig into the stories you’re seeing how many lives they’re saving just by connecting these mothers with their doctors and enabling them to stay in their own home during their pregnancy. So that’s just one example. Another company I’ll tell you about our company human longevity and it’s an extraordinary company run by Dr. Craig Venter he first mapped the human genome. One of our moonshots which is the longevity chart where we’re really trying to extend healthy life by 50 or more years for everybody in the world. And he’s using extraordinary data from genomic data to microbiomes data to all sorts of diagnostic data to help with keeping people well before they get sick or put another way discovering any potential illnesses hopefully decades early so that you can try to prevent certain illness or disease from even happening in the first place. So these are just a couple of examples. We have hundreds of entrepreneurs that we’re connected to and you start to hear their stories the passion the extraordinary ideas the extraordinary solutions that they’re bringing to the world. And it is wonderful to be surrounded by that kind of innovation and that kind of thinking on a day to day basis.

Congratulations on that. And you know definitely two of many listeners this group is really doing some amazing things examples that Unity just provided are two of many but definitely worth taking a look at their Web site. Just go to www.startuphealth.com. You’ll see there are moonshots there. The companies that they’re working on the principles and also an invitation to join the global army of health transformers unity. Let’s dive into some storytelling here. Can you share with the listeners a time when during this transition is this business creation you had a setback or failure and what you learned from it.

You know that’s really a great question. I feel like it’s almost a daily set of failures for seven or eight years straight. And the key has been just to persist through them and adapt and figure them out and navigate the journey if you will. And really that’s one of the things we talked to our health transformers a lot about when we work on in our new startup health moonshot Academy is just focusing on navigating challenges of having a long term approach and not letting anyone failure really knock you back. So you know I think it’s part of the reality of being an entrepreneur is if you can wake up every morning feeling regenerated and rejuvenated and do that thousands of days in a row you’re able to make it through the very difficult challenge of being an entrepreneur. It can be a rollercoaster. As many know on a day to day basis or even an hour to hour basis. So by the end of the day it’s just about making sure you’re able to read find a way to regenerate for the next day. So in terms of specific failures I would say any time in my life where I’m just not taking that concept of persistence to heart and where I’ve given up or where I’ve just didn’t see something through is where it fails. Because if you keep persisting it’s not a failure you’re just still trying to get there you’re trying to figure it out still. So that’s really important to our philosophy as entrepreneurs and also a sort of pelleted just continuing on and really thinking about the journey is a never ending ongoing long term journey toward big audacious goal and not letting anyone set back sort of get it down too much.

Love it Unity and listeners. It’s not over until you quit. And one of my favorite quotes is failure does not define you. It refines you and the longer you stay in the game the more you’re going to get out of it and unity just said it very eloquently. Appreciate it sharing that philosophy with us. And I think it’s one that listeners we can all internalize stay in the game don’t quit. Give us an example Unity of a time when you had one of your most amazing and proud moments to date.

Wow. Well we just had our seventh annual StartUp health festival in January in San Francisco and former Vice President Biden was there. We had about 2000 entrepreneurs and investors and world leaders there and it was just really for me personally an extraordinary moment to be surrounded by such wonderful people who care so deeply about trying to make real progress toward a better future for people’s health and well-being. When you’re surrounded by so many batteries included people that really think a certain way gives you all sorts of energy. So that was really a proud moment for me just not only being surrounded by them but helping be a big part of bringing these people together. I think or I hope that really helped inspire others who are there and give people a lot of new ideas and energy that help them with their own journey as well.

That’s awesome. And it’s a big thing to be able to do and with so many companies to continue driving that focus. It’s a big talent so kudos to you and your team Unity for being able to do that.

And we just launched a new magazine called StartUp pop magazine that I’m pretty proud of. It’s kind of like I hope it becomes like the wired for digital health or the fast company for digital health. We just had our first issue.


Thank you. Thank you. You can get a free online. But that’s also I’m very proud of because really what our goal is to share and tell the inspiring stories of these transformers that are doing the hard work of building these new solutions for the world. And I think it’s important to get their stories out there. I think there needs to be more of a spotlight on the many positive things going on in our world. So much of what we’re barraged with on a day to day basis tends to be negative. We are looking at the glass half full so we hope that this becomes a really positive thing for the ecosystem to get the stories of great entrepreneurs out to the world.

And unity. So what would be the best way for the listeners to get a hold of the magazine.

So if people go to a startuphealth.com you can actually sign up for it there. You can get a free digital copy there. Now it’s up on our website and you can download it for free. You can check it out free digitally today.

Awesome, yeah listeners if you if you’ve got a startuphealth.com hover over moonshot media and then you could see the startup health magazine you click on it and you’ll see a copy of it. Pretty cool. I love it. Congratulations on this. This looks really good.

Thank you. It wasn’t easy but we’re going to be doing this on a quarterly basis to score and hopefully sharing hundreds of great stories with the world over the course of the year.

Beautifully done my friend and kudos to you and your team for doing this listeners. Check this out. Definitely something that you want to see. And again right you get your news. You get a lot of ideas from outcomes rocket. We’re not the only ones doing it. And this magazine looks really really awesome. Go to that link will also provide it here in the show notes so that you could have access to what unity and his team are doing. Unity getting close to the end here. You and I are going to build the medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. It’s the 101 of Unity Stoakes. And so this brief syllabus has four questions that I’m going to ask you. Lightning round style followed by a book and a podcast you recommend to the listeners. You ready.


Awesome. What’s the best way to improve health outcomes?

I think that by focusing on the needs of the patient and by really thinking over the long term of what a patient’s needs are rather than just managing health issues when they’re sick really thinking about it as an never ending ongoing journey of managing health. I think the thing that health care organizations should be doing is really meeting with innovators meeting with external entrepreneurs that can give them new ideas for how they can improve the outcomes of their own business their own solutions and try to make things done much better for the patients they serve.

What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Thinking in two short timeframe. So if you’re just thinking about your business in terms of this quarter or the next sales meeting or how you’re going to raise that next round of financing I think that’s not only a mistake and it’s a recipe for not achieving your success. You’ve got to have that long term mindset and focus.

How do you keep your impact strong as an organization despite constant change?

I think the most important thing there is to have your own health moonshot be thinking about your extraordinary goal and mission that can be your north star or something that is so big so audacious that it doesn’t need to change the details may change the strategies and tactics may change but your overarching goal your overarching mission can stay the same as as your north star. I think that can be a very important thing for any organization or any entrepreneur

Well said, Unity. What would you say an area of focus that should drive everything in a health organization? What is that?

Definitely there again the need of the patient really thinking about people can be just as patient as people think about what you want as an individual I think too often in the health care world we think somehow it’s different but we’re all consumers we’re all want things done a certain way we care about common universal theme. So I think the more we can just be treating each other and thinking about things like the Golden Rule and thinking about how we want things in our own day to day lives and if we can sort of design that into our businesses then that will be better for everybody.

Awesome. What book and what podcasts would you recommend to the listeners.

So one great book for that I think not only every entrepreneur but every innovator should read it’s called The Dip by Seth Godin. It’s very short read can probably read it in 20 minutes but it’s about this concept of getting through the challenging times as an innovator entrepreneur and coming out the other end with success. Most people give up just when they’re in the dip and if they could just get through a little bit longer they might be more likely to achieve success. So that’s one book I would highly recommend podcast. There’s a digital health today is another great podcast. We have a podcast of startup health now that we do on a weekly basis it’s the video show. You know one of the great things. There’s just so many great forms of content today so many great storytellers and they really appreciate what you’re doing it at outcomes rocket so thank you for really sharing so many insights from so many great leaders with the world. It’s a big help.

Thank you unity and listeners listen to unity saying here. There’s so many options. They’ve got an awesome podcast as well. Dan Kendall’s digital health today I’m sure you guys have heard of it, another guy that’s doing great things. All the stuff that unity just recommended in this syllabus as well as the show notes you could get it all at outcomesrocket.health/unity. U N I T Y and there’s no doubt that unity is doing just that he’s uniting people to make things happen. And so Unity. I really appreciate your time if you can just just share some closing thoughts with the listeners and then the best place where they can get in touch with you.

Well first of all it’s an honor to be here. Thank you so much for including me. I would say the closing thoughts the next few years are are really an extraordinary opportunity. Things are possible today that were not possible even three or four years ago. The business models are changing. There is extraordinary demand for new solutions. The digital revolution is finally come to care. There’s a wave of talent coming into this sector and it’s really a global opportunity. I think it’s a magic moment and the future is being reinvented by entrepreneurs and innovators all over the world. It’s an extraordinary time to not only be alive but to be a part of that. So we hope you wherever you are will join and bring your inventions and innovation and passion to this movement because that’s how we’re going to make it all happen over the coming year by working and collaborating together. You can get in touch with me on Twitter at @unitystoakes. Or get me at unity@startuphealth.com on email

Outstanding, Unity.Listeners, take him up on that opportunity to connect. And again Unity. Just want to say thank you so much for making the time to be with us today.

Thank you so much. Really, really appreciate it.

Thanks for tuning into the outcomes rocket podcast if you want the show notes, inspiration, transcripts and everything that we talked about on this episode. Just go to outcomesrocket.health. And again don’t forget to check out the amazing Healthcare Thinkathon where we could get together took form the blueprint for the future of healthcare. You can find more information on that and how to get involved in our theme which is implementation is innovation. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference be one of the 200 that will participate. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Recommended Book and Podcasts:

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Digital Health Today

Best Way to Contact Unity: