On Tuesday, Techstars L.A. announced the relaunch of its health care accelerator program and the application for the new cohort is now open. The three month long program will begin March of 2023. The deadline to apply is on November 30, 2022. Techstars has brought on board returning partners Cedars Sinai, United Healthcare, along with new partners that include UCI Health and Point32Health.
Matt Kozlov was brought on to build Techstars L.A.’s first dedicated healthcare program with Cedars Sinai seven years ago. A few years later, Cedars decided to run their own independent accelerator program without Techstars’ involvement.
Kozlov told dot.LA that the relaunched program “will be a really remarkable ecosystem and resource for health tech founders who are looking to get product market fit and start scaling their company as rapidly as possible.”
He added that it's extremely difficult to scale up in health care because most providers don’t have the time or risk tolerance to work with early stage companies.
The new accelerator will accept 12 seed-stage health care companies. In addition to the intensive 13-week program, mentorship and access to Techstars’ network, every startup will receive $120,000 in capital. In exchange, Techstars will take 6% stock in each company.
Kozlov said that in the past they brought on a few startups that didn't know what they were building yet. In both instances, Pasadena-based clinical trials platform Deep 6 AI and Los Angeles-based medtech startup Regard Health had very high success rates.
“They were really strong teams with a really strong technical AI background,” Kozlov said. “But we felt that through our program we would give them access to the customers that they would be able to interact with, and they'd find something really compelling to build.”
In general, the companies chosen for this cohort must demonstrate traction and have a product in the pipeline. Maternal health, chronic disease management and clinical trial innovations are some of the areas that Kozlov and his team are looking for in the incoming class.
The in-person program will take place in Los Angeles, but companies do not have to be based in Southern California. Kozlov said that the companies must focus their efforts in the U.S. market.
Another company that participated in the program when Techstars first started its health care accelerator is Los Angeles-based virtual reality treatment platform AppliedVR.
Building any business is extremely lonely,” AppliedVR co-founder Josh Sackman said. “If you're not connected through a network like TechStars or don't have close relationships, people really aren't as vulnerable about their experience.”
Sackman said that it can be challenging and stressful especially when founders are expected to stay strong for their team, but through his experience within the program, Techstars has cultivated a network that allows you to build upon yours.
“The national ecosystem we put together really focuses on companies and helps them build really compelling solutions that can change access and quality of health care for patients and systems in the United States for the next several years,” Kozlov said.
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