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XLerateHealth accelerator launched in Louisville

New entity will aid early-stage health-related companies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 5, 2013) — XLerateHealth, a Louisville-based accelerator for early-stage, health-related companies, announced its formal unveiling today. XLerateHealth will house innovative health-related companies and will concentrate on leveraging industry partners (including providers, payers and ACOs) to fast-track the participating companies’ learning and growth through real-world pilot testing at potential future customer sites.

The XLerate Health Team
The XLerate Health Team

The executive chairman and co-founder of the accelerator is Bob Saunders, a seasoned venture capitalist who has worked with more than 100 startup companies over the past two decades and has mentored several healthcare startup enterprises. He is joined by fellow co-founders Ted Smith, a healthcare entrepreneur, former Senior Advisor for Innovation in the Office of the National Coordinator in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C., and who now serves as the Director of Economic Growth & Innovation for Louisville Metro Government; and Bobby Ferreri, executive director of Greater Louisville’s Inc.’s EnterpriseCorp.

Other leadership includes XLerateHealth’s COO, Jackie Willmot, who has more than three decades in the healthcare innovation and startup space, and spent more than 15 years as an executive with Humana, and directors – Joanna CruzJay GarmonChris Hall and Zack Pennington – who offer a diverse set of backgrounds ranging from venture capital to healthcare entrepreneurship, to healthcare ecosystem participants (payers, providers etc.).

“XLerateHealth will be a world-class accelerator located in Louisville, which has a history of hundreds of healthcare startups,” said Saunders.  “This new accelerator will leverage the history of healthcare industry experience and innovation in Louisville.  We expect our portfolio companies to be major contributors to the healthcare ecosystem in the ever-evolving world of ‘Healthcare 2.0.’”

XLerateHealth will support two types of pre-venture-funded portfolio companies:

Affiliates – companies which already have made substantial progress in developing beta sites, strategic relationships, etc.; and startups – which are very early-stage healthcare companies who will need intensive mentorship and support.

The role of the accelerator for the affiliate companies is to provide mentorship and networking to support their commercialization and institutional fundraising efforts. The inaugural class of affiliates includes 18 companies who are “virtual” participants in the accelerator from throughout the United States.

Startup companies are invited to apply for a 10-week intensive immersion program in the accelerator’s physical 3,500-s.f. space located at the Nucleus building in Louisville’s downtown Medical Development Research Park. The role of the accelerator for these early stage startup companies is to help them prepare their product/service for commercialization and to connect them with beta site accelerator partners so that they can get real-time feedback and experience with potential customers.

The inaugural session for these early stage healthcare companies is slated to begin Aug. 12 and will run until Oct. 25. Applications will be accepted through May 17.

“We are looking for dynamic teams of entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do and are interested in creating disruptive solutions to tough problems in the healthcare ecosystem,” Saunders said. “It will be focused on teams that include founders with technical ability, knowledge of the healthcare industry, and who are intent on succeeding as scalable commercial enterprises.”

A recent Kauffman Foundation study ranked Kentucky as the third best state for startup activity, said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.

“We believe initiatives like XLerateHealth help continue that positive momentum by offering top-tier support to companies in an industry that is a strategic focus for our economic development efforts,” he said.

“XLerateHealth will be the first of its kind in the southern region of the U.S.,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.  “Most health-related accelerators are located in the larger metropolitan areas of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. This new program helps reinforce Louisville’s position as a leader in supporting health industry entrepreneurs and we believe there is a lot of potential for new thinking, new jobs and new companies for the community.”

Supporting XLerateHealth is a group of mentors from around the United States. The mentors will provide guidance and counsel to XLerateHealth’s portfolio companies, drawing from their depth of experience in healthcare and business creation. Mentorship can range from providing a single phone call for advice to a much more intensive interaction depending on the needs of the company and the time commitment of the individual mentor. Startup companies will typically have two to five mentors with whom they engage on various aspects of their business. Mentors in the accelerator have extensive experience in various aspects of the healthcare ecosystem and/or various aspects of early stage new venture creation.

XLerateHealth receives sponsorship support from Zirmed, Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development – Office of Commercialization & Innovation, Louisville Downtown Development Corp., Saunders Murdoch & Associates LLC, Greater Louisville Inc.’s EnterpriseCorp, and Louisville Metro Government. Supporting venture capital sponsors include Triathlon Ventures (Cincinnati), TriStar Ventures (Nashville) and OCA Ventures (Chicago).