Techstars LA Relaunches Its Health Care Accelerator

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Techstars LA Relaunches Its Health Care Accelerator
Courtesy of Techstars.

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.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.