Health is Paradoxical

A Conversation with Unity Stoakes

Unity Stoakes, President, Co-founder & Managing Partner, StartUp Health
Twitter: @startuphealth

Unity Stoakes is on a life-long mission to achieve the impossible: to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in the world. By combining the power of moonshot thinking, a transformer mindset, and collaborative communities, he believes anything is possible. In 2011, Unity co-founded StartUp Health with Steven Krein, his business partner of more than 20 years, to invest in a global army of entrepreneurs, called Health Transformers, to embark on one extraordinary crusade: to achieve health moonshots, each of which can improve the lives of at least one billion people.

Listen to the Conversation

Episode Takeaways

  1. Gil is joined by Unity Stoakes, co-founder and president of StartUp Health, a pioneer in the health innovation sphere. They discuss the organization’s value proposition as steward and catalyst for digital health innovation.
  2. Unity recognized the power of collaboration long before others. It’s an effective way to navigate the fragmented health ecosystem. Collaboration has been a centerpiece of Unity’s life and the concept of community and acting locally, thinking globally, formed his perspective on health, leading to the launch of “Organize Wisdom” to leverage the health knowledge of crowds, filtering up the best information.
  3. Transforming the future of health won’t be done by any single person, company, or even country. We need to focus on the network effects of collaborative innovation. The pickings were slim at the beginning, both in terms of investment and capability. We needed a new lens on health innovation.
  4. Health is paradoxical. There’s extraordinary innovation going on related to medicine and certain aspects of care where we see real transformations. At the same time, we’re not seeing the business of healthcare evolve and change in terms of model innovation and the recognition that health is part of the human condition, and we need to scale care drastically. We can have great innovation with technology and medicine, but without addressing the core structural issues we limit our impact.
  5. There are transparency and structural challenges with traditional business models. People understand their own business and what others do, but not how others in the health ecosystem make money. We need to focus on business model innovation – a whole category of companies around prevention instead of sick care is a tremendous opportunity: “I believe health should be a $100 trillion market… with new affordable care delivered to all people who need it… we need to build more viable, sustainable, disruptive companies to invent the business models of the future.”


Gil Bashe

Managing Partner, Chair Global Health, FINN Partners
Twitter: @Gil_Bashe
LinkedIn: Gil Bashe

Gregg Masters

Founder & Managing Director, Health Innovation Media
Twitter: @GreggMastersMPH
LinkedIn: Gregg Masters, MPH

About the Show

Join digital health advocate and author Gil Bashe, on Health Unabashed, as he discusses the power of collaboration and innovation in improving care across the health ecosystem. Sharing stories and insights from a global perspective, Gil looks at the companies and people who are making a difference and offers his opinions on how to connect the dots to transform the industry for good.

On the radio weekdays at 10:30 am, 6:30 pm, & 2:30 am ET.