LEAP and VentureWell Celebrate the Success of the 2023 Ascend MedTech Accelerator Program

Startups Flourish in Lansing, Fueled by $1.1M Investment and Collaboration, Amplifying the Lansing Region’s MedTech Landscape

Lansing, Mich. (Aug. 16, 2023) — The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and VentureWell are thrilled to announce the successful conclusion of the 2023 Ascend MedTech Accelerator program. The accelerator, powered by VentureWell and LEAP, welcomed 20 promising startups with groundbreaking medical device, diagnostic, and software solutions to the Lansing Region from around the country including right here in Michigan. The program was part of LEAP’s visionary plan to expand the region’s Life Sciences and MedTech industry cluster.

The Ascend MedTech Accelerator was supported in large part by a $1.07 million investment into the MedTech cluster in the Greater Lansing Region from a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant received by LEAP in 2021.

“Our Ascend MedTech Accelerator has brought a fresh injection of entrepreneurial energy and enthusiasm into the Lansing region’s healthcare innovation ecosystem at a critical time following the COVID-19 pandemic, which created lasting impacts and new challenges for healthcare providers,” said Keith Lambert, chief operating officer of LEAP. “This program is a perfect example of the magic and cultural change that can occur when bringing diverse ideas, professional roles, and people together in the name of innovation.”

The Ascend program prepared startups for partnerships and investment, enabling them to launch high-impact medical solutions that advance healthcare in the community and beyond. The program successfully attracted new-to-market companies to the Lansing region, catalyzed commercialization, and spurred new startup activity, fostering job growth and economic prosperity. A major focus for this program was the deep partnership formed with Sparrow Health System which is in the process of assisting and partnering with these businesses.

“Working with startups fosters a culture of collaboration and learning at Sparrow. Caregivers can interact with entrepreneurial teams, share knowledge, and gain insights into the latest trends and developments in the medical field. This exchange of information, facilitated by the Sparrow Clinical Innovation Center, can lead to mutual growth and development for both the health system and the startup community,” said Ted Glynn, M.D., Sparrow vice president for medical education and research.

Ascend commenced with an in-person event in East Lansing from May 16-18, 2023. The hybrid program included nine weeks of online training that concluded on July 26. The program’s participants are presenting their products at a celebration event at the REO Town Ellison Brewery event space from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, open to the public. This is an ideal time for our community and key MedTech stakeholders to interact with these companies.

“The Ascend MedTech Accelerator provided early-stage MedTech startups a unique opportunity to collaborate with Sparrow Health System’s clinical leaders, gaining insights into healthcare challenges and refining their innovations. With over 50 facilitated introductions to clinical decision-makers, startups could secure clinical champions and explore potential partnerships, including Sparrow pilot studies. We’re delighted by the progress each startup achieved throughout the program and eagerly anticipate showcasing their remarkable journey and accomplishments” said Cara Barnes, senior program officer at VentureWell. 

LEAP’s commitment to the Life Sciences and MedTech industry is further exemplified by its partnership with the Michigan State University (MSU) Research Foundation to offer the SBIR + STTR MedTech Accelerator program. This program helps researchers and entrepreneurs in the life sciences and medical technology industries access support in product development, regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection, and business strategy. This program has also concluded its second cohort of nine companies bringing their total to eighteen supported businesses through the same EDA Grant.

With the Ascend MedTech Accelerator and the SBIR + STTR MedTech Accelerator program’s success, LEAP continues to drive high-wage job growth and improve healthcare outcomes in the region. The positive momentum achieved with these initiatives further cements the Lansing Region as a hub for medical technology innovation and development. In the coming months, LEAP will unveil a brand identity that will be used to market the Greater Lansing Region as a hub for MedTech innovations.

Visit the VentureWell website to learn about the companies that took part in the VentureWell Ascend Accelerator.


Category: Entrepreneurship, Press Releases