Founding partners Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU Health and Activation Capital, launched HIC in 2019 to help bring health innovations to market. HIC and Lighthouse Labs will leverage the new accelerator this fall to cultivate a pipeline of health-related technologies through a three-month immersive learning experience, capital opportunities, and potential for funding.
Making the Commonwealth’s only health-focused accelerator program possible is Activation Capital, a nonprofit organization that focuses on early-stage ideas to foster the area’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. A grant by Activation Capital to Lighthouse Labs, along with the contributions of HIC, will support the health-focused programming by Lighthouse Labs in addition to VCU’s efforts to develop new innovations in healthcare.
The new initiative, including expertise, grants and funding by Health Innovation Consortium, will be offered alongside an industry-agnostic vertical that will also operate as part of the 2020 fall cohort by Lighthouse Labs. Selected companies in both verticals will participate in the accelerator from Aug. 24 to Nov. 13, in Richmond. During the fall program, the health-focused startups and the industry-agnostic companies selected will work with top-tier mentors as they participate in targeted and adaptive programs.
“Health systems, particularly academic health systems like VCU, are looking for innovative solutions involving every aspect of health care—its delivery to consumers, its technology, and its business models,” said Peter Buckley, M.D., interim CEO, VCU Health System, and interim senior vice president, VCU Health Sciences. “The Health Innovation Consortium was designed to facilitate, support and scale health innovation. By partnering with Lighthouse Labs, a nationally ranked start-up accelerator, we have the opportunity to attract and engage with the most promising new technologies in the country that can improve the health of our community.”
The companies selected to participate in the health-focused accelerator will use the three-month programming as a springboard to develop digital health and medical device technologies, amongst others. Founders participating in the fall cohort will also have an opportunity to tap into HIC resources, including access to an exclusive network of industry experts, early-stage venture funding, and support, after the cohort has ended.
In addition to equity-free funding, programming and mentorship, all selected companies will have access to $1 million in advisory services and benefits from partners such as Global Accelerator Network (GAN), Kaleo Legal, Startup Virginia and other service providers. In addition, companies accepted will participate in Demo Day(s) designed to demonstrate each selected startup to investors, alumni groups, potential customers and peers.
“Innovation is needed now more than ever,” said Erin Powell, executive director of Lighthouse Labs. “The fall cohort by Health Innovation Consortium and Lighthouse Labs will provide traction for the most promising, high-potential startups to begin making an immediate impact in health-related industries.”
“Beyond the three-month immersive experience this fall, the post-program opportunities, and access to the Health Innovation Consortium network and connection to capital, makes this new offering the most transformative platform for those who have identified the biggest challenges in human health and healthcare and are ready to accelerate quickly to provide solutions,” said Powell.