TRAVERSE CITY — HealthBridge became the third startup company to “graduate” from the technology incubator space 20Fathoms Thursday evening, August 29, 2019. Nearly 100 people — including HealthBridge employees and 20Fathoms members, sponsors, and guests — gathered at HealthBridge’s new 2,000-square-foot office on Front Street to celebrate and congratulate this startup on their role in tangibly growing the Northern Michigan economy.

“We’ve had an amazing year,” said HealthBridge Chief Technical Officer Tim Heger, “and much of that success is due to the people in the 20Fathoms community.”

HealthBridge provides people with high-deductible employer healthcare plans a viable option to pay off medical bills. Research indicates that 46 percent of Americans cannot cover a $400 emergency, and a staggering 64 percent of patients report deferring or declining care when they need it due to high out-of-pocket expenses. For care providers, HealthBridge’s services simplify the billing process, allowing medical offices to focus on what they do best: caring for people. HealthBridge offers a triple-win solution for patients and care providers while helping insurance carriers reduce bad debt.

“HealthBridge is a brilliant example of what a great idea being led by experienced leaders and powered by incredible talent can do,” said 20Fathoms Executive Director Andy Cole at the HealthBridge graduation. “Importantly, they’re all committed to growing here in Traverse City. That’s really something special, and that level of commitment is something we’re fostering here at 20Fathoms.”

20Fathoms is a technology incubator and startup hub for entrepreneurs in Downtown Traverse City, where HealthBridge employees worked as their company grew to its present success. After two years building the technology platform to power the company, HealthBridge officially launched their service earlier this year. They raised $8.2 million in May 2019 to continue scaling up operations in business development and customer service, affording HealthBridge the opportunity to grow in a new space and graduate from the 20Fathoms incubator. Once a “team” of 1 member within 20Fathoms, HealthBridge has already scaled in size to 16 Traverse City employees, 8 of which joined in the last month.

Aligned with the belief that “entrepreneurs of today are employers of tomorrow,” HealthBridge joins the ranks of 20Fathoms graduates SampleServe and ATLAS Space Operations in having raised millions of dollars and hired dozens of employees. In total, 20Fathoms startups have now created over 100 new, high-value jobs — 40 of which are local and earn an average salary of $90,000 annually.

According to Cole, HealthBridge has “the potential to push Traverse City’s economy in an exciting new direction,” and 20Fathoms will play a part in forging connections between entrepreneurial members of the innovation space so that diverse startups can help one another flourish. “They can all grow stronger — and more quickly — by working together,” he said.