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Mar. 13, 2014 8:15 am

Health IT startup Sickweather departs for Kansas City-based accelerator

"We joined the program because of the opportunity to work with Sprint's resources and Techstars' mentors," said cofounder and CEO Graham Dodge. "It also helped that it included $120,000 in seed funding, which is the first seed funding that we've raised to date."

Sickweather in Kansas City. From left: Zephrin Lasker, cofounder Graham Dodge, John Erck, cofounder Michael Belt, cofounder James Sajor. Photo via Facebook.

For the next three months, Cockeysville-based Sickweather will call Kansas City its home base.

The health IT startup, which maps illnesses by scraping and analyzing information shared by people on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, is one of 10 startups in the first class of the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, led by the Colorado office of Techstars. (It’s also the startup that predicted an early flu season in 2012 six weeks ahead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

“We joined the program because of the opportunity to work with Sprint’s resources and Techstars’ mentors,” said cofounder and CEO Graham Dodge. “It also helped that it included $120,000 in seed funding, which is the first seed funding that we’ve raised to date.”

Indeed, that was the sticking point for Sickweather, which has tried unsuccessfully to raise funding in the Baltimore region for two years. According to Dodge, the difficulty in getting funding in Baltimore pushed he and his four coworkers — Sickweather has expanded to five full-time employees since its founding as a three-person startup — to look for it elsewhere. And then, eventually, to relocate elsewhere, even temporarily.

“It’s a very nice city and the entire startup community here, along with Sprint and Techstars, has been very welcoming and supportive of us so far,” Dodge said by e-mail. “So relocating permanently to Kansas City is a very real possibility.”

For now, Dodge said Sickweather is “keeping all of our options open.”

Three full-time employees of the startup will be in Kansas City until June 12: Dodge, COO and cofounder James Sajor and new lead mobile developer John Erck. CTO and cofounder Michael Belt will spend about six weeks at the accelerator, and board chair Zephrin Lasker will be in Kansas City for only a few weeks.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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