Health Wildcatters now has a seven-figure stamp of approval: The inaugural 12 startups to graduate from the seed accelerator program announced they’ve cumulatively raised $5 million.
“The only way you can prove you’re investable is by attracting capital and what does investable mean? Well, exactly that,” says Hubert Zajicek, the executive director and co-founder. “One of the few good measures we have is tracking capital, so that’s why it’s significant for us.”
Health Wildcatters ponies up $35,000 for each and leads a 90-day program. In return, the investors get 8 percent equity in the startups. The first 12 to go through it finished last November.
In chatting with Zajicek, the accelerator seems to be meeting its goals: The startups are learning how to maneuver the corporate landscape, they’re growing their companies along with other nascent entrepreneurs, they’re getting in front of backers and potential mentors.
“Nobody knows them, nobody’s ever said, ‘can you help us,’” Zajicek said of the startups. “The mentors in the program, many of which end up becoming investors, they’re more than willing to do this. They often see themselves in these startups, they say, ‘that was me 10 years ago.’”
Not all companies have announced their funding. That’s their own prerogative and they’ll do so on their own terms, Zajicek says.
As for those that have, however:
- $500,000 went to Physmodo, which uses mobile technologies and motion sensors to lower healthcare costs and improves patient outcomes.
- $400,000 went to Cariloop, a personalized, real-time database of long-term and geriatric care facilities.
- Another $400,000 landed on MakeMyPlate, a smart engine that tracks and helps regulate food intake.
- $140,000 went to Cloud 9, which aims to improve access to behavioral healthcare.
It may lean toward the obvious, but this sort of money can help these companies fan out into other markets rapidly. Listen to Cariloop CEO Michael Walsh, who spoke to D Healthcare Daily last week after announcing its haul: “Since we launched the product back in February, we’ve hired my first couple sales and marketing people and got about 250 providers signed up in the first 90 days. Now that we’ve secured the rest of this cash, I can build the network out and put people in other parts of the state.”
He’s already hired a representative to launch its Houston operations.
The seed funding also adds a quantifiable validity to Health Wildcatters’ purpose. Its investors sunk $1 million into the launch class. Six months after graduating, its products have raised $5 million. It’s also the only one of its sort in the southwest. That’s a major plus for potential investors, Zajicek says.
“It’s not easy to raise even a few hundred thousand dollars for your venture and anything you can do to have a better story or to tell the story better or find pieces to make it more attractive, that’s why they’re with us,” he said. “We’re literally at the one-year mark now and that is a very good number.”
According to the California Healthcare Foundation (CHF), there are about 20 digital health accelerators worldwide.
Health Wildcatters is accepting applications for its second class until June 15. Its stakeholders will select between 20 and 25 and invite them to Dallas a month later. Twelve will be invited to join the program, which begins August 25.