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Techstars, Mayo Clinic Team Up to Launch Post-Accelerator Program

Xconomy Boulder/Denver — 

Add the Mayo Clinic to the list of companies, entrepreneurs, and investors that are in Techstars’s seemingly ever-growing network.

The Boulder, CO-based startup accelerator announced today that it has a new relationship with the Rochester, MN-based nonprofit hospital and research institute that will enable healthcare-related Techstars startups to work with experts from the Mayo Clinic on new products and business development efforts.

The partnership is part of a new Techstars program named Techstars++ that will work with corporate partners to help Techstars alumni develop closer ties with big companies. People from the startup will spend two weeks on-site, where they’ll meet with the host’s staff.

The goal is that the two weeks together will lead to additional mentorship, insight into market trends and industry needs, and possibly on-going business relationships that could help the startup develop and market products, Techstars co-founder and CEO David Cohen said.

Cohen said Techstars++ is an attempt to help the companies it invested in continue growing after they have left one of the three-month programs held in cities in the U.S. and U.K. The accelerator has always tried that, but mostly it has been done informally through the networks of Techstars mentors.

“It’s systematizing something we’d kind of been doing on an ad hoc basis,” he said.

Techstars will employ a full-time director who will work with the startups and hosts to make sure the visit is worthwhile for both parties. Mayo Clinic is the first Techstars++ partner. Techstars is working to close other agreements with companies in other industries and expects to announce more soon.

The new program is Techstars’ second initiative to work with large companies to foster startups in a specific industry. Techstars has worked with corporations including Barclays, Kaplan, and Qualcomm to create “powered by Techstars” accelerators that respectively focus on financial tech, edtech, and robotics startups. The companies host 10 or so startups for three months and provide access to their staff for mentorship, although going through one of the programs does not necessarily mean the startups will have an ongoing relationship with the host after the program has ended.

When Techstars++ is fully up and running, it will be open to any company in the portfolio, whether it has gone through an industry-specific accelerator or not, Cohen said. It also will be an option for recent Techstars alumni or companies that graduated several years ago.

In the case of the partnership with the Mayo Clinic, Techstars++ could help the 30 or so healthcare-related companies in its portfolio, Cohen said. Techstars already has a healthcare accelerator focused on mobile that it runs in partnership with Sprint.

The Mayo Clinic will give the startups the chance to work with physicians and researchers from across the organization, a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail statement. They also will be able to work with product development and commercialization specialists. Areas of interest for Mayo Clinic might include technology that could improve remote patient monitoring, health assessment and healthy living, and boosting the efficiency of clinical care.

This isn’t the Mayo Clinic’s only initiative to help researchers or startups develop and commercialize technology. In addition to treating patients and training doctors, the Mayo Clinic has a research arm that had a budget of $634 million in 2012. Like many universities and medical research centers, it has created a technology transfer program, named Mayo Clinic Ventures, to help take the research from the lab to the market. Mayo Clinic Ventures will manage Mayo’s Techstars++ program.

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  • Nate Nordstrom

    Great news for Rochester and the broader startup ecosystem! Excited to see continued growth here in Rochester MN.