Techstars is refilling the innovation prescription in Fort Worth, announcing the selection of 10 promising startups focused on physical health in the second edition of its Physical Health Accelerator.
The global investment platform’s North Texas program, which kicked off earlier this month, adds to the healthcare ecosystem in the heart of Cowtown. This year’s class of trailblazing startups saw intense competition. According to Trey Bowles, Managing Director of Techstars Fort Worth, applications spiked with the accelerator reviewing 3,500 startups globally—quadrupling last year’s applicant pool of about 875.
The selected startups are tackling challenges in women’s health, mobility, diabetes management, fertility, prosthetics, and more. Entrepreneurs from across the globe have “traveled far and near to participate in this one-of-a-kind whole health-focused program,” Bowles said.
Founders from Italy, Mexico, Ukraine, Canada, and across the U.S. are set to capitalize on Techstars’ formula for building strong startups, according to the managing director. The accelerator offers hands-on mentoring, funding opportunities, and access to the Techstars global network of founders, investors, and partners, he says.
Bowles is bullish on the Fort Worth Techstars program as it builds on its inaugural success, citing several “wins” from its first cohort. Among them is Stabl Inc., a patient-centric digital health platform helmed by CEO Hamzah Shaikh, which oversubscribed on its first funding round and moved to Dallas-Fort Worth to continue growing the business.
Several entrepreneurs in Techstars’ first cohort, including Zama Health CEO Brendan Sullivan, Articulate Labs CEO Josh Rabinowitz, and Recvr Health CEO Jonathan Truong, signed pilots and are growing their customer bases, he says.
Backing that dose of success is Techstars’ multiyear collaboration with the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and Goff Capital. HSC received $4.8M from Fort Worth’s and Tarrant County’s federal Rescue Plan Act funds for the program. Cameron Cushman, assistant VP of Innovation Ecosystems at HSC, has called it the first “true accelerator program” in Fort Worth—and a “big win.”
Bowles says the Fort Worth Techstars program demonstrates the potential for public-private partnerships to foster innovation. Its unique collaboration with public, private, and educational institutions gives founders a “unique opportunity to develop sound business models, built on science and supported by Fort Worth’s entire ecosystem,” he said in an announcement.
Techstars new home base at Create Fort Worth
This year, the 2023 Techstars program is housed in the just-opened “Create Fort Worth” entrepreneurship center in Fort Worth’s Near Southside.
“We’re excited to be the first tenant,” Bowles said.
With Techstars’ move, Bowles says the pieces came together for a “Texas-sized opportunity to showcase why we believe that Fort Worth is the center of the world for innovation and disruption in the field of Physical Health.”
The Fort Worth Medical Innovation District in Near Southside, the first of the city’s innovation districts proposed several years ago, includes TCU’s new Anne Marion Burnett School of Medicine, UT Southwestern’s academic medical center, biotech incubator TechFW, as well as the city’s major hospitals and dozens of independent clinics.
Meet the Techstars Fort Worth Physical Health Startups for 2023:
Startup information is provided by Techstars.
Brilliantly provides flexible, safe warmth for the entire body through its flagship product, Brilliantly Warm. The Rhode Island-based startup’s wearable bra invisibly warms the body under clothes using core body heat.
Comeback Mobility has created “Smart Crutch Tips,” an IoT biofeedback device and app that “guides patients on how to apply the right amount of force to the recovering limb while using their crutches at-home.” This improves compliance to rehab protocols to “expedite recovery and reduce revision surgeries.” Based in New York and Chile, the startup’s founders are from Ukraine.
Comma is “building the first HIPAA-compliant period tracking app” and “developing a biodegradable tampon with potential for add-on laboratory services, unlocking menstrual blood as a biomarker.” The Nashville startup aims to integrate menstrual health with reproductive health.
Hera Fertility is a “digital-first fertility clinic” offering “technology-driven diagnosis, telehealth consultations, and personalized treatment plans” for both men and women. With a Toronto founder, New York-based Hera’s services include “Hera Discovery (telehealth diagnosis services), Hera Support (app to manage ongoing care and access to fertility care team), and loan financing for patients.”
Lubu Technologies’ AI-Powered Fitness Coaching Insoles collect data to be “processed by proprietary AI algorithms, providing the user with digestible, actionable insights about their performance, injury risks, and potential areas of improvement.” The Los Angeles-based startup, with founder from Italy and Tunisia, aims to reduce injuries and improve athletic performance.
Maya AI is a “voice-based AI agent that helps scientists to extract data, update documentation, and create proposed actions plans from changing data.” The Tampa-based startup works on “real-time and historical data, and both public and private sources.”
Pulse Charter Connect
Chicago-based Pulse Charter Connect is”taking on the beachhead market of logistics for transporting human organs, in the air and on the ground” by automating and streamlining organ delivery through a “digital SaaS solution for Critical Healthcare Logistics.” The startup aims to eliminate bottlenecks to transplant operations so medical professionals can focus on their critical work—”ultimately increasing the chances of successful organ transplants.”
Mexico City-based Somos is building an app that “aggregates body signals from glucose sensors, wearables, and lab tests to help people with pre-diabetes and diabetes understand how their body reacts to food and habits.”
Toronto-based Vessl Prosthetics is developing “the only socket that automatically adjusts to changes in leg size, thereby empowering amputees to move comfortably and increasing the profitability of prosthetists’ clinics.”
Co-founders Kehlin Swain, Isis Ashford (pictured in the featured photo), and Jaylen James started Houston-based Greens, powered by Xplosion Technology, which uses “advanced technologies like machine learning and real-time data analysis” for a platform that provides “personalized support and tools to facilitate effective self-management of diabetes” in adolescents.
From ‘Smart’ Exercise Bands to Glasses That Monitor Your Heart: Demo Day at the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator
10 promising startups took the stage to demonstrate their potential to disrupt healthcare at Techstars 2022 Demo Day. See them here.
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