Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the healthcare system work better for our members and our communities.

“Working with MATTER affords us the opportunity to build a culture of experimentation with Chicago’s startup ecosystem while developing a pipeline of solutions to address community health challenges,” said Steve Hamman, President, BCBSIL. “As BCBSIL continues to pursue health equity and reduce health disparities for our members and the community, I am excited to continue working with the innovators at MATTER to uncover new ways to address chronic health conditions, behavioral health access and medication adherence issues in scalable ways.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated a growing trend toward care delivery that takes place outside of the traditional office visit. Innovative solutions that help ensure members have access to the care they need, when they need it and where they need it — particularly in alternative sites of care (home, community-based and virtual) — will be important tools for managing the value of care delivered in the post-COVID landscape.

Primary areas of interest include: behavioral health solutions, medication adherence and pharmacy j-code management. We are defining pharmacy j-codes to include both at-home infusions and injectables.

Submission Criteria

This accelerator is open to early-stage companies in the MATTER community. Teams that demonstrate the following criteria will be invited to apply:

  • Looking to develop and launch a solution that has a direct impact on improved health outcomes
  • Have not yet raised institutional funding
  • No current involvement in other challenges or accelerators
  • The solution is not yet available to other health insurance companies and there are no BCBSIL employees on staff*


Invited teams are asked to submit a three minute video, pitch deck and complete an application to be considered. Applications will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Clear problem identification, market opportunity and description
  • Solution description and requirements for implementation. Articulation of how proposed solution could directly address or impact the problem statement
  • Stage of development of solution and leadership team
  • Defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for the outcomes of a 4-month accelerator

This program is planned to be virtual. Introductory meetings will be one hour and teams will be expected to do rehearsals with the MATTER team in advance of their session. The expectation for the accelerator period is a commitment of 2-3 hours per week.

Benefits of Applying

  • Semi-finalist will receive the opportunity to present to a cross-functional team at BCBSIL and get valuable feedback about their solution
  • Finalists will receive mentorship from BCBSIL leaders to help inform your payer strategy, value proposition
  • Finalists will participate in a tailored accelerator program at MATTER geared toward decentralized care and business development
  • Cash prize of $25k per finalist company in Accelerator Class to refine their proof of concept while they are in the Accelerator


Mar 15 - Apr 16 Application Period: Deadline for application by April 16, 2020 at 11:59pm CT.
Apr 23 Semi-finalist Selection: 10 semi-finalists will be selected the week of to meet with BCBSIL representatives to discuss their solutions and talk with cross-functional stakeholders.
Week of Apr 26 Orientation for Semi-finalists: An overview session around how to prepare for Introductory Meetings will be held with all Semi-finalist teams.
May 3 — June 11 Introductory Meetings with Semi-finalists: Introductory Meetings are 60 minutes in duration comprising: approximately 10 minutes team introductions, 20 minutes capabilities overview including a slide presentation and/or demo, 5 minutes speaking to specific goals for the accelerator (program KPIs) and 25 minutes Q&A. Sessions will be facilitated virtually. These will be scheduled with each team based on availability. Teams are expected to do a rehearsal with the MATTER team in advance of their session.

June 14 Announcement of Accelerator Class: Three companies will be selected as Finalists to participate in the Innovation Accelerator. Each company will receive $25K to help refine their solution in alignment with the Accelerator KPIs they define.
July 1- Oct 1 Accelerator Period: The Accelerator will take place over four months, where teams will work to advance their solution in alignment with previously identified KPIs. They will benefit from curriculum offerings, BCBSIL executive mentorship from key leaders and their subject matter expertise. The expectation for the accelerator period is a commitment of 2-3 hours per week.
Oct 12 Closed Doors Pitch Day to BCBSIL: Finalist teams will present their accomplishments achieved during the accelerator, refined value proposition and a demo of their elevated solution.
Oct 26 Public Pitch Day at MATTER: Finalist teams will present condensed pitch including a demo of their solution and the value they derived from the Incubator.

For a full set of eligibility criteria, please see our Program Participant Agreement.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 200 cutting-edge startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.