What was the first thing we noticed? They’re all related to the healthcare and life sciences space. Just happenstance, says the makerspace’s president Evan Malone.”We had 27 applicants representing a broad array of product ideas, but these 4 rose to the top through our selection process.”
Though some may associate NextFab with consumer products (like that snow shovel that got onto QVC) or tech workshops, the company has had connections with the healthcare/life sciences space. Last fall, it offered participants at the Independence/Jefferson Health Hack access to its equipment to work on their ideas.
For the first time, the program is investing $25,000 in the chosen companies through a SAFE agreement (a concept developed by YCombinator), which allows no equity to be taken initially. Once the company raises an equity round of financing, the investment turns into equity. Companies will also receive free office space, credit toward classes and opportunities for follow on investment.
Here are the cohort companies:
- Blue Dragon Bioimaging: The makers of “high performance, low-cost, and space saving” research microscopes.
- Circalux: Developing a portable circadian-friendly light to reduce sleep disruption and improve patient outcomes.
- Strados Labs: Helping patients and care providers better manage the day-to-day challenges of living with chronic asthma through a wearable device and app combo. (Check back soon for more on Nick Delmonico’s startup, which also won some cash at WeWork’s Creator Awards.)
- Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel (VTA): Developing sleeves that use vibration therapy to help people with amputated limbs find relief from phantom limb pain. Founded by a University of Delaware track star who’s won many a pitch competition.
“We are working with the four finalists that didn’t get selected to help them prepare even stronger applications for the next RAPID cohort starting this fall,” said Todor “Ted” Raykov, NextFab Venture Services Manager. “It was a tough decision, because all of the finalists are working on exciting projects that could have a positive impact on our society.”