The healthcare industry is always growing and expanding its offerings and, therefore, people involved in the medical field respect new technologies and the startups that foster them. To that end, Cedars-Sinai has teamed up with Techstars to produce a “Healthtech Accelerator” program that focuses on making breakthroughs in medicine and/or medical practices.
Cedars-Sinai, the largest nonprofit academic medical center in the western United States, is known internationally for providing the highest-quality, most advanced patient care. Over its 113-year history, Cedars-Sinai has evolved to meet the needs of one of the most diverse regions in the nation, setting standards in quality and innovative patient care, research, teaching and community service. Innovations from Cedars-Sinai include the invention of the Swan-Ganz catheter to measure blood pressure inside the heart, the start-up of a company that developed one of the world’s top evidence-based clinical decision-support systems for physicians, and the first experimental use of stem cells to cure heart disease.
Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of community programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and do more faster. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early-stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond.
Together, these two powerhouse establishments can do great things. On October 21, 2015, the program started accepting applications from startup companies for one of the 10 slots in the Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai. The selected companies will begin their mentorship at Cedars-Sinai in March 2016, with Demo Day scheduled for June 23, 2016. According to the official press release:
Marking the 10th Techstars corporate program, the accelerator will provide funding, three months of mentorship and guidance from senior leadership at Cedars-Sinai and the Techstars network of more than 7,000 founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. Medical and scientific experts will mentor startup companies that are working to transform health and healthcare delivery within the principal healthcare accelerator…Techstars’ give-first mission and Cedars-Sinai’s commitment to improving health have aligned as an impetus to accelerate promising new technologies into healthcare. Companies participating in the Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will receive $120,000 in funding. At the end of the three months, companies participate in Demo Day where they will have the opportunity to present to investors, mentors, company executives, and the community at large.
Recently Darren Dworkin, CIO of Cedars-Sinai, and David Cohen, co-founder and Managing Partner of Techstars spoke to the Examiner about their experiences working with this program:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): Why did you decide to start the Healthcare Accelerator?
Darren Dworkin (D.D.): Cedars-Sinai has a long history of transforming health care — at the bedside, in the clinic and in the community. As a leader in bench and translational research-based innovation, we believe we are in a unique position to facilitate health and healthcare delivery transformation by supporting early stage ideas and companies. We also believe that our local community, Los Angeles/West Hollywood, supports entrepreneurism and can be a draw for startups. As such, we initiated discussions with Techstars and realized that by partnering we could create an environment that allows startups working on solving healthcare problems do faster. While great innovations often come directly out of health systems, the pace of change in the industry also requires greater collaboration with ideas beyond our walls that will allow us to adopt technology as quickly as patients are demanding it. By helping these ideas and companies gain traction, there can be tremendous benefits to patients locally, and globally.
David Cohen (D.C.): We are interested in the space as investors. We think Cedars-Sinai is an ideal partner to create scalable impact through our investing to improve people’s lives.
M.M.: How does the program work?
D.D.: Applications are currently open, and companies can apply for one of 10 spots. The Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, is an intensive 3-month “bootcamp” program. The program offers participants formal education and mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. Mentors will provide technical guidance on product development, product-market fit, and market traction. Mentors will come from Cedars-Sinai community, as well as the Techstars network. At the end of 3 months, there will be a Demo Day where the companies pitch their ideas to investors and the community.
D.C.: Techstars operates accelerator programs globally, and it works just like our others. The focus in this case is on healthcare technologies. Thus, we have an incredible partner and mentors that are focused on this space in this particular program. We invest in each startup and make them part of our global ecosystem. In short, we provide investment capital, deep mentorship and an enormous network for innovators in this space.
M.M.: Where do you hope the program will be ten years from now?
D.D.: We hope that the companies that graduate from this program provide healthcare breakthroughs and transformations. We are more focused on where we want the companies that participate to be 10 years from now, than on where/what the Healthcare Accelerator is doing. In addition to companies positively impacting health and healthcare, Techstars Healthcare Accelerator will also be considered a success if we develop a capability that supports the development of health entrepreneurs and idea dissemination from within the Cedars-Sinai system, along with other healthcare organizations–as well as creating jobs within our local community by bringing companies to Southern California. We also hope to inspire, engage, and develop Cedars-Sinai staff by injecting more startup energy and mentality into our culture.
D.C.: In 8 years since founding, Techstars companies have created more than $5B in portfolio value. Imagine the impact that new organizations worth billions of dollars will create in the next 10 years. We have some serious problems in the healthcare industry, and technology can improve the lives of millions. We are thrilled to be a part of that and look forward to the impact this will have over the next decade.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
D.D.: Applications are now open and will be accepted through January 8, 2016. Leading up to the January deadline, we’ll be announcing numerous recruiting events and Q&A sessions around the country for interested entrepreneurs. Other important dates include the beginning of the mentorship at Cedars-Sinai in March 2016, and the Demo Day that’s scheduled for June 23, 2016.
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To learn more visit the official Techstars website.