The Non-Profit Venture Studio Partners with the Local Healthcare System to Provide Aspiring, Diverse Entrepreneurs with New Opportunities to Build Disruptive Healthcare Startups in the Phoenix-metro area.

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Melissa DiGianfilippo

Serendipit Consulting


PHOENIX – (March XX, 2024) – The Journey Venture Studio announced today a strategic collaboration with Valleywise Health, a comprehensive healthcare system with locations throughout the Phoenix metro area. In pursuit of fostering innovation, this collaboration is set to provide diverse entrepreneurs with invaluable access to clinical expertise, patient populations, and community health data to launch successful healthcare startups and create impactful healthcare solutions.

Valleywise Health is one of the leading healthcare providers in Phoenix and is the metro area’s only public, safety net, teaching health system. They are governed by a publicly elected board of directors focused on exceptional care for all who turn to Valleywise Health. With the support of Valleywise Health, entrepreneurs in The Journey’s Founder-in-Residence program will have access to healthcare leaders and decision makers who will help guide innovation and facilitate potential pilots and implementations, coaching founders toward solutions that will be more easily integrated into the healthcare landscape.

As part of the collaboration, Valleywise Health’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Michael White has joined The Journey’s Board of Directors. “Our commitment to exceptional care extends beyond the walls of our facilities, with a focus on community outreach, education, and proactive health initiatives,” said Dr. White. “Partnering with The Journey will help Valleywise Health realize its vision to be nationally recognized for transforming care to improve community health. Working with the Founders-in-Residence complements our teaching mission as Maricopa County’s only community safety net and public teaching system.”

The Journey’s mission is to close the racial and gender opportunity gap by empowering diverse founders to pursue entrepreneurship while providing resources and support to increase their odds of success. The Founder-In-Residence program is an opportunity for underrepresented founders to ideate, validate, pilot, and potentially launch new HealthTech startups.

“Some of the most successful startups are those that solve real world problems,” said Mark Moeremans, the Managing Director of The Journey Venture Studios. “We are excited to partner with Valleywise Health to provide founders with access to investigators, research, and expertise, leading to innovative healthcare startups that aim to improve health outcomes and the healthcare system. With the support of Valleywise Health, we are providing aspiring entrepreneurs with an unrivaled sandbox for startup creation which will hopefully give them a leg up in bringing their innovations to market.”

The strategic collaboration between The Journey and Valleywise Health allows both organizations to pursue unique funding opportunities. Investors are interested in helping spur innovation by funding organizations like The Journey, while still wanting to work with established and trusted organizations that have a track record of success and service in the community like Valleywise Health and the Valleywise Health Foundation. Together these organizations are innovating the healthcare landscape by bringing together history with patient care and social change.

The Journey has also added Ashok Santhanam to its board of directors. Ashok Santhanam is a Venture Partner at AZ-VC and has more than 30 years’ experience leading software product and service businesses as an entrepreneur and executive. He has founded three companies, two venture backed and one bootstrapped, and exited two after achieving valuations in the hundreds of millions.

“I’m honored to join the board at The Journey and excited to support their pioneering mission of incubating underrepresented entrepreneurs in HealthTech. The healthcare sector is ripe with opportunity to leverage AI and other technologies to improve outcomes. The diverse entrepreneurs in the Founder in Residence program have the drive and passion to pursue these opportunities while receiving a tremendous boost from The Journey’s unique approach and combination of resources. I look forward to working with the Journey team and board to help turn this vision into reality.”

To learn more about Valleywise Health, visit and To learn more about AZ-VC, visit

The Journey Venture Studio

The Journey, a Phoenix-based 501c3 not-for-profit entity, is a venture studio creating and launching healthcare companies to be led by underrepresented founders.  With a mission to launch healthcare companies aimed at improving health outcomes while creating opportunities for historically underrepresented entrepreneurs from around the country through a tailored venture fellowship, The Journey will activate a new generation of diverse founders; leveling the playing field and bringing world-changing healthcare solutions and technology to life.

Valleywise Health

Located in Phoenix, Arizona and named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation by IBM Watson Health in 2020, Valleywise Health (formerly Maricopa Integrated Health System) has a proud tradition as the public safety net health care system with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved. Valleywise Health consists of Valleywise Health Medical Center, Arizona’s only public teaching hospital, the only trauma center in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to treat both adults and children, and Arizona’s only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States. Other services include the McDowell Healthcare Center, the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, Refugee Health Services, three behavioral health hospitals, and a network of 11 community health centers located throughout Maricopa County. To learn more, please visit

Valleywise Health Foundation

Valleywise Health Foundation is the Phoenix-based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing philanthropic support for critical patient and program needs at Arizona’s public teaching health system, Valleywise Health. Named Arizona Business Magazine’s AzBusiness Angels Healthcare-focused Nonprofit of the Year in 2020 and in 2021, key funding areas include, burn survivorship care, innovative behavioral health programs, and teaching tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. The Valleywise Health mission is to provide exceptional care, without exception, every patient, every time – regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. More than 70 percent of Valleywise Health’s patients are financially vulnerable. To learn more and donate, visit


AZ-VC was built out of necessity to fill the void that existed in terms of capital sources for post-revenue companies looking to expand beyond seed-level financing. As Arizona’s largest VC firm, AZ-VC targets proven, post-revenue local companies, cherry-pick the best and brightest, and help ensure that these companies grow, thrive and flourish in Arizona. This effort is led by invisionAZ Chairman Jack Selby, a former PayPal executive and two-decade resident of Arizona. Jack’s deep Silicon Valley connectivity and successful track record of early-stage investments serve as core value-adds to the local ecosystem.