The recently launched startups aim to capitalize on the successful model used by crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter to provide a platform for researchers and innovators to build awareness and raise capital.
A Technology Review post from yesterday offers more details on IAMScientist:
The website was created in 2008 by Borya Shakhnovich, at the time an assistant professor in Bioinformatics at Boston University. Shakhnovich hopes that reducing funding time from 18 months (under a typical NIH grant review process) to about 30 days, which is typical for crowd-sourced funding, will attract the interest of NGOs and larger organizations who could use the platform to have research proposals quickly and cheaply vetted.
TechCrunch also has a commentary today on the potential of Medstartr to engage patients in health care:
Up to this point, hospitals, doctors, patients, and healthcare companies have largely lacked public resources by which to discover, interact with, and invest in health companies.
Many health or medical projects also inherently have highly motivated and engaged user bases (see 23andMe and CureTogether for examples), as they often promote healthier lifestyles, provide support for people in need or suffering from illnesses, try to find cures, and reduce medical and insurance costs. All of which can be emotional issues.
A crowdfunding platform for health projects allows the many who, say, want to help make or find ways to contribute to the health of loved ones to participate actively in the process. And feel a direct connection to projects and their founders and feel they're making a difference. MedStartr launched with both a diabetes project and a project that supports those with STDS, for example.