Wireless communications giant Sprint and startup accelerator Techstars are partnering in an effort to offer support to the mobile health startup scene in Kansas City, Kan., with a three-month intensive mentorship program starting in March 2014 that will offer participating companies up to $120,000 in funding.
Entrepreneurs with ideas for improving health care using mobile technology can apply to be part of the inaugural class of participants and will work in the Kansas City area at the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
"Wireless innovations are helping people around the world by improving health care, empowering people with disabilities and promoting wellness," Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, said in a statement. "Sprint is joining visionary entrepreneurs with experts to mentor them in a program proven to help startups gain traction. We eagerly anticipate the resulting wireless innovations in health care."
Kevin McGinnis, vice president of development at Sprint, is taking a leadership role in expanding and strengthening the company's work with entrepreneurial startups, noting that the company has been expanding its work with startups and other ventures that are developing innovations, from remote patient monitoring to e-prescriptions to making sense of ever-growing volumes of data.
Techstars typically invests $120,000 in each company funded through $20,000 in seed funding and an optional $100,000 convertible debt note. The company is backed by more than 75 venture capital firms and angel investors. After leaving Techstars, participating companies average more than $1.5 million in outside venture capital raised, a company release noted.
The effort also adds to the growing momentum of the Kansas City hometown region as a burgeoning hub for life sciences, animal health and health technology ventures. The area already has a substantial concentration of private and university research laboratories and a wide variety of companies in the pharmaceutical, animal health, crop science and medical technology industries.
Other benefits of the program include ongoing mentor support from within the entrepreneurial community, corporate executives, health experts and venture capitalists; access to carrier technology and exclusive application programming interfaces (APIs); technical support and development expertise from Sprint's development team; and access to testing labs, research facilities and network engineers at the Sprint Campus.
"To me, Kansas City is an obvious place that has an up-and-coming tech community to rival other top geographies," David Cohen, founder and CEO of Techstars, said in a statement. "The presence of leaders in the mobile health care space makes this the perfect home for the accelerator. We have been watching Kansas City from afar, seeing it come together, and now we're excited to join. It's great to see Sprint giving first through their tremendous network of resources and executive knowledge. It makes all the difference for the companies we fund through the program."