LEAP Partners with VentureWell to Welcome 20 Startups to Ascend MedTech Accelerator Program
Emerging Companies Bring High-Impact Medical Device, Diagnostic, and Software Solutions to the Lansing Region
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is pleased to announce the 20 startups selected for the 2023 Ascend Medtech Accelerator, powered by VentureWell and LEAP. Ascend is part of LEAP’s $1.1M plan to expand the Lansing Region’s Life Sciences and MedTech industry cluster. The plan includes $813,000 from a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant received by LEAP in 2021.
“The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is pleased to support LEAP’s efforts to strengthen Michigan’s medical technology cluster,” said Susan Brehm, director of EDA’s Chicago Regional Office. “It’s inspiring to see LEAP leverage its EDA grant to not only assist small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but also bolster technology innovation, create jobs and build economic resiliency in the Lansing region.”
The Ascend program prepares startups for partnerships and investment and supports these companies in launching their high-impact medical device, diagnostic or software solutions. Through this work, LEAP seeks to grow jobs and investment by attracting new-to-market companies to the Lansing region, building up existing industry companies, and catalyzing commercialization and new startup activity.
“LEAP is excited to partner with VentureWell on this new accelerator program, which is part of our larger regional life sciences and medtech strategy, to bring innovative ideas to market that help advance health care in our community and beyond,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “We deeply appreciate the EDA’s support, along with matching funds from our great partners at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, to help us bring this unified regional plan to bear.”
Ascend kicks off in person in East Lansing May 16-18, 2023. The hybrid program includes nine weeks of online training that will take place through July 26. The program cohort will come together in mid-August for an innovation showcase in the Lansing Region, where regional partners will be invited to interact with the companies.
“The Ascend MedTech Accelerator is an exciting opportunity for medtech startups from across the country to convene with medtech ecosystem stakeholders in the Lansing, Michigan region,” said VentureWell Senior Program Officer Cara Barnes. “Startups work towards validating their business model assumptions around financial reality and viability and hone their pitch decks and financial models for potential partners and funders.”
The selected startups have proven that their innovation has a clear positive impact on patient outcomes and lowers the cost of healthcare through the innovation’s application or design. Devices in development by the selected startups include a user-operated, hands-free device that lifts, supports, and moves paralysis patients and a wearable device that uses software to detect and treat an opioid overdose.
“I am incredibly encouraged by LEAP’s work to form the Ascend Medtech Accelerator. This Accelerator will make a difference in the healthcare industry by fostering innovation and bringing new technologies to market. I have no doubt that the 20 companies joining Ascend will make a significant impact in advancing the field of medicine, which will translate to more opportunities for growth in the region,” said Mike Zamiara, president of Niowave and co-chair of LEAP’s MedTech Advisory Group.
LEAP’s Life Sciences and MedTech plan is not limited to the Ascend partnership with VentureWell. LEAP also partners with the Michigan State University (MSU) Research Foundation to offer the SBIR + STTR MedTech Accelerator program.
“The SBIR + STTR MedTech Accelerator 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,” said Jeff Wesley, executive director of Spartan Innovations, a subsidiary of the MSU Research Foundation. “This partnership between the MSU Research Foundation and LEAP is a powerful example of how universities and economic development organizations can work together to support innovation in their communities.”
Nine companies completed the first SBIR + STTR program in 2022, with another nine companies set to begin the program’s second cohort soon. One major success of the first SBIR + STTR cohort is Tarn Biosciences. Tarn creates effective treatments for all tuberculosis classes and secured $600,000 in Phase 1 STTR Funding.
“As part of the regional strategy, this program gives our region a phenomenal opportunity to increase momentum in high-wage job growth while improving health care outcomes. We’re already seeing great success with other programs launched as part of the regional strategy. We intend to increase this momentum through the Ascend program,” said Keith Lambert, COO for LEAP.
Visit the Venture Well website to learn about the companies taking part in the VentureWell Ascend Accelerator.