HealthTech Women: Crowdfunding for Health Initiatives

In honor of International Women's Week, and the growing demand for new business models in healthcare, HealthTech Women has partnered with Indiegogo to bring you a fireside chat with some of the most successfully crowdfunded healthcare campaigns. 

Please come join us for a brief talk from a Farah Gerdes, HealthCare Attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, and learn from the leaders of Scanadu, Plushcare, Parkinson’s Institute and Indiegogo about tips, challenges, and their reasons for crowdfunding.  

Get informed, be prepared, and learn as much as you can so, you too, can be a successful healthcare campaigner!!

**Event is for those that identify as Female, please**

You must be registered on this Meetup or EventBrite

Event Details: 

6:00-6:30: Mix, Mingle, and Meet Other Like Minded Women

6:30-7:45: Keynote Speaker & Panel Discussion

***Keynote/Moderator: Farah Gerdes (WSGR)

***Panel: Scandu, Parkinson’s Institute, Plushcare, Indiegogo

7:45-8:15: Q&A

8:15-9:00: Mix, Mingle, and Engage!


Keynote Speaker and Panel Discussion Line- Up:


Farah Gerdes ,  Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 

Farah Gerdes is an associate in the technology transactions and FDA regulatory practices at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Her practice focuses on the representation of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostic companies in intellectual property transactions, as well as on counseling those companies with respect to FDA regulatory and healthcare issues. Farah represents clients in a variety of business transactions involving intellectual property assets, including intellectual property licenses, collaboration agreements, research and development agreements, clinical trial management, manufacturing and supply agreements, and mergers and acquisitions. She advises her life sciences clients on a variety of regulatory and healthcare issues, such as strategies for obtaining FDA product approvals and clearances, fraud and abuse, compliance, HIPAA, and claims support for advertising and promotional materials.

Companies on the Panel: 


Based at NASA-Ames Research Center, Scanadu is using mobile and sensor technology to make the first medical tricorder and ensure this is the last generation to know so little about our health. Unveiled in November 2012, the company is developing a portfolio of FDA approved, consumer friendly products that put the experience of an emergency room in the palm of your hand. The portfolio includes the Scanadu Scout™ vital sign monitor and ScanaFlo, a urine analysis test. In July 2013, Scanadu became the most funded campaign on Indiegogo, enlisting supporters to be a part of the first usability study and then clinical studies for the company’s road to FDA approval. Scanadu was founded by Walter and Sam de Brouwer in 2011 and is competing in the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize. For more information

Parkinson’s Institute:

The mission of The Parkinson’s Institute (The PI) is to provide comprehensive patient care, while discovering new treatment options to improve the quality of life for all Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients.  As America’s only independent non-profit organization combining research and patient care for PD under one roof, we are committed to changing the landscape of movement disorder treatment and research.  Since its founding, The PI has helped thousands of PD patients better manage their disease, developed new treatments for PD, and published groundbreaking research aimed to close the gap between science and practical care.  By focusing on all three avenues of PD - cause, care and cure -  The PI is a powerful force in PD research.


With PlushCare, our Stanford-trained MDs will diagnose and treat your illnesses or injuries same-day via email, phone or video chat, including prescribing medication when necessary. If we think that you need to see a physician in person, we will consult with them directly before your visit. If you don’t have a primary care provider, we will help you find and book an appointment with a top nearby physician covered under your insurance plan. Furthermore, you can get specialist referrals or even lab tests ordered without the hassle or cost of a primary care appointment


We're fixing the funding process by empowering people from all over the world to accomplish extraordinary things through our platform. In 2008 we unleashed Indiegogo in the independent film industry and it was a smash hit. In 2009, we expanded to include all industries and today we're the leading international crowdfunding platform, having raised millions of dollars for thousands of campaigns worldwide. Our belief is that anyone, anywhere who is passionate and works hard should be able to raise money.


About our panelists:

Sam De Brouwer

Co-Founder, Scanadu

Sam de Brouwer is a technology entrepreneur, advocate and co-founder of Scanadu, a NASA Ames Research Center based company with the mission of making this the last generation to know so little about our health.

After a life-altering family medical emergency, de Brouwer co-founded Scanadu in 2010 to revolutionize home medicine and build the tricorder once imagined in Star Trek. She is also Director of TEDxBrussels, which brings together innovators and inspirational speakers in the capital of Europe each Fall.

Prior to Scanadu, de Brouwer served as the Advocacy Director of One Laptop Per Child Foundation Europe and was the Director of the National Institute for Teleworkers in Belgium. Earlier in her career, she was part of MIT MediaLab's Starlab team and the founder of Jobscape, one of Brussels first online recruitment companies.

Chelsea E.M. Kasai,  Director of Development, Marketing, and Communications

Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center

Chelsea E.M. Kasai has spent the past 10+ years working on behalf of underserved communities and underdog diseases. Currently she is the Director of Development, Marketing, and Communications at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center where she recently launched their very first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo: Chelsea began her career as Executive Director of the California Young Democrats (CYD) the youth outreach arm of the California Democratic Party. While at MZA Events, the producer of AIDS Walk New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Chelsea shared her time between the East and West Coasts working on behalf of clients Gay Men’s Health Crisis, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and AIDS Project Los Angeles, among others. Chelsea spent over 4 years working in the lupus community at both the Alliance for Lupus Research in New York City and Lupus Foundation of America in Washington, DC. On March 9, 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration approved BENLYSTA, the first drug that had been approved in 52 years for lupus and the first drug ever developed specifically to treat lupus. It was one of Chelsea’s most proud days in her professional journey to-date. Prior to her return to the West Coast, Chelsea directed the Northeast Regional Office at CureSearch for Children’s Cancer formerly known as the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. Chelsea has her BA in Political Science from Pepperdine University.  

Ryan McQuaid, Co-Founder, CEO


Ryan McQuaid recently resigned from leading AT&T’s mHealth Platform to pursue PlushCare as co-founder and CEO. Prior to that, he was in the business development group for the AT&T Emerging Devices Organization focused on incubating new opportunities for AT&T in the healthcare vertical - one of which was AT&T EverThere (, which was launched at the end of 2013 and is expected to be a billion dollar business for the company. While studying undergraduate business at the University of California Berkeley, McQuaid participated on three Division I athletic teams, where he developed a passion for health and fitness and a desire to bring new solutions to healthcare that tap technology and the increasing shift to consumerism 

Breanna DiGiammarino, Cause Director


Breanna DiGiammarino is the Cause Director at Indiegogo. She has been responsible for developing key partnerships with institutions such as the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), Duke University and Village Capital, resulting in successful campaigns such as Parkinson’s InstituteMars One and Push Strength.

Prior to Indiegogo, Breanna was the Senior Associate at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a social venture fund in San Francisco, where she helped raise $30 million to support the company’s second fund for social entrepreneurship called the Springstep Venture Fund and increased the number of applications from hundreds to thousands.

Before that, she was an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the non-profit arm of Bain & Company, where she consulted with high impact educational organizations and foundations including the Cristo Rey Network to help urban students into work-study programs and the Gates Foundation to improve low-income graduation rates.

Breanna holds a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and graduated with a B.A in Biology and Government from the University of Virginia.

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