Baltimore is getting a new health accelerator - Technical.ly Baltimore

Growth

Apr. 11, 2016 7:33 am

Baltimore is getting a new health accelerator

A dedicated Dreamit Health offering in Baltimore may be no more, but a new effort from Johns Hopkins, the Abell Foundation and Village Capital hopes to fill the void.
Members of DreamIt Health Baltimore 2014 on a tour of Washington’s Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

Members of DreamIt Health Baltimore 2014 on a tour of Washington's Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

(Photo by Flickr user Ted Eytan, used under a Creative Commons license)

Two key supporters of Baltimore health startups are putting resources into a new accelerator.

The partnership between Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures and the Abell Foundation that earned support from Village Capital is set to develop a new health-focused startup accelerator in Baltimore.

Along with access to resources in the national VilCap Communities initiative, the Hopkins-Abell partnership recently received an additional $25,000 from Village Capital to bring the project to fruition, said Elizabeth Smyth, senior director of strategic initiatives.

Village Capital’s connection to Baltimore sprung up during the organizing of last year’s Rise of the Rest visit to Baltimore, the organization’s Jared Marquette said last month. Like Rise of the Rest, VillCap Communities is focused on putting startup resources into cities that aren’t New York, Boston and the Bay Area. Village Capital employs a peer review model, where companies rank each other. Smyth said that model will also be used in the new accelerator.

Baltimore had a health-focused accelerator for two years, but there’s been no sign of Dreamit Health Baltimore this year. It represents a shift by Dreamit to become more place-agnostic.¬†Instead of running accelerators in other cities that required companies to relocate, Dreamit opted to run one accelerator program split between in-person time in one location, and the rest virtual.

The new model was appealing to current Baltimore-based cohort members Lessoncast and Kermit, but leaves Baltimore without a program focused specifically on new companies in one of its main areas of startup strength. Smyth pointed to Hopkins-connected startups like emocha, Protenus and Tissue Analytics that sprung up with help from Dreamit Health Baltimore. Last year, Dreamit Health Baltimore brought companies from Michigan (Sisu Global Health) and Spain (InsightMedi) to the city.

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Hopkins and the Abell Foundation were both partners in Dreamit Health Baltimore, and Smyth said the university will be “committing resources as we did with Dreamit.” She said additional details are still in the works, but they are actively seeking local partners, whether it be for mentorship, educational programming or other resources.

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