(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Baltimore will once again have a health-focused accelerator this fall.
A new program for startups focused on growing startups in connected health and fitness will have its first cohort starting in September.
M-1 Ventures, which will be based at Johns Hopkins’ Fast Forward East innovation hub near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore, is now accepting applications, the accelerator announced Wednesday. The program starts Sept. 5, and runs for four months.
The program will be directed by angel investor and Paul Singh and entrepreneur Tony D’Agostino. Entities providing financial support include Johns Hopkins, UM Ventures, Plank Industries, Brown Advisory and the Abell Foundation.
The accelerator will provide support for five startups in the cohort, each of whom receive $25,000 in funding. If startups have not previously received investment, Singh said the accelerator program will ask for 5 percent equity.
M-1 is seeking companies that are beyond the idea stage, and “that have some amount of revenue already and can achieve something meaningful in the next 16 weeks,” said Singh, who was an initial partner in Silicon Valley accelerator 500 Startups and previously founded Disruption Corp. in Crystal City, Va. “And in order to do that, we’re going to bring in tactical and functional experts from all over the country.”
Plans have been in the works to launch a new health-focused accelerator since the departure of Dreamit Health Baltimore. There were signs of partnerships forming during the Rise of the Rest tour stop in the city in 2015. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and the Abell Foundation got support for an accelerator from Village Capital in March, 2016. Since then, other partners joined. Singh parked his Airstream at ETC as part of his Results Junkies tour last fall, and later met Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures leaders. Plank Industries (which oversees Kevin Plank’s businesses outside of Under Armour), Brown Advisory and the Maryland Department of Commerce are also supporting.
With a pair of medical research institutions and connections to a global company looking to make a big play in connected fitness, each of those entities will also look to provide mentorship and programming for the startups, Singh said.
“By focusing this accelerator on connected health and fitness, M–1 Ventures takes advantage of our regional strengths to provide startups in this business vertical with a clearer path to success,” said Christy Wyskiel, a senior adviser to the president of Johns Hopkins who leads Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.