University City Science Center announced two big biz-boosting moves in the past week.
First, the nonprofit — which offers lab space, office space and support services for STEM-minded entrepreneurs — welcomed eight startups to the fifth cohort of its Launch Lane accelerator, with $400,000 in funding available to spur their growth.
The Science Center recently merged its Digital Health Accelerator into its Launch Lane programming. Both programs were using the same accelerator model and application process, so it proved for a smooth transition, Marketing Director Kristen Fitch said.
This cohort’s eight companies kicked off weekly virtual programing on March 25, and have a membership at the ic@3401 incubator space for a year, while making connections with the Science Center’s entrepreneurship network. A collective $200,000 will be awarded to the eight companies with another $200,000 available as they continue to meet their individual milestones.
This year’s cohort includes five Philadelphia companies and three from other parts of North America:
- Clinicor (Philadelphia) — A digital prescription-only clinic to optimize heart failure patient therapy
- Gray Oncology Solutions (Montreal, QC) — A platform that optimizes oncology workflows
- Lara Health (Philadelphia) — A remote patient-monitoring platform
- Modal (Philadelphia) — 3D presentation software for anatomy
- Neuralert (Philadelphia) — Makers of wristbands that detect and alert hospital staff to the onset of a stroke
- Opal HTM (White Plains, Maryland) — A sensor network to optimize medical equipment management and upkeep
- PopCheck Tech (Memphis, Tennessee) — Remote monitoring technology to eliminate post-surgery complications
- Vital Start Health (Philadelphia) — A maternal mental health platform using VR and AI
“The pandemic has made it difficult for companies to find an effective community to help them grow and succeed financially,” said Aron Starosta, VP of commercialization and new ventures at the Science Center, in a statement. “These eight companies represent some of the most promising digital health startups with the potential to disrupt the way healthcare providers and patients interact. We’re eager to provide them with the expertise and a community that will help them launch their products and better commercialize.”
In the history of the program, including the former Digital Health Accelerator, Launch Lane has supported 35 companies and invested $1.4 million. Those companies combined have gone on to raise more than $100 million in funding, generate $50 million in revenue and create 300 jobs, the Science Center reported. More than half of the companies have been women- or minority-led.
The Science Center also received a $744,230 grant for its new OnRamp program, which seeks to increase accessibility to education and opportunities for first-time founders. The grant comes from the U.S. Commerce Department as part of the $29 million Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge.
OnRamp programming will be offered on a quarterly basis at Venture Cafe, and also has a rolling application process for a cohort-based program for aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t have startup experience. The cohort will be led by Founder-In-Residence Thom Webster, who has also served as an advisor to the Launch Lane accelerator. The first cohort will meet Thursdays starting May 6 through June 24 and applications close April 30.
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