Kat Namon ’22
Digital Health CT, an organization powered by Startupbootcamp, is scheduled to hold its inaugural cohort in Hartford on Nov. 11. Startupbootcamp is an award-winning global network of industry-focused accelerator programs, and was launched in Copenhagen in 2010. Since its foundation, Startupbootcamp has accelerated over 800 startups. The Hartford program invites 10 startups each year to spend three months in Hartford. These chosen startups are given the opportunity to work alongside health care providers, payers, research investors, and research institutions in order to build their digital health prototypes. Hundreds of startups have applied, and the ten that were chosen to participate in the fall 2019 program will receive support, resources, and industry and investor connections they need to help grow their businesses. The startups will also receive help from a broad range of mentors, investors, and partners from the accelerator’s global network. Trinity is among other founding local partners for the MedTech Accelerator, including Hartford HealthCare, UConn’s School of Business, Technology Commercialization Services unit, and CTNext.
The program was created to join the Hartford InsurTech Accelerator, which was also launched by Startupbootcamp in 2018 to revitalize the city’s declining insurance industry. Trinity contributes to supporting the MedTech Accelerator, along with Hartford HealthCare, by providing a home to the workforce training program at the downtown campus at Constitution Plaza, and thus has opened doors for students to engage with the city. President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney, in a Hartford Courant article from this past April, said, “we want our students to stay right here in Hartford and Connecticut and be able to find jobs,” Berger-Sweeney said. “This is a way that helps our talent pool find more satisfaction after they graduate.”
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sonia Cardenas commented on Trinity’s involvement with the program. Cardenas said “in 2017, Hartford/East Hartford was selected as one of four Innovation Places in Connecticut, which would focus on three growth areas: health and medical technology, insurance, and advanced manufacturing. Hartford Health Care then took the lead on the health and med-tech initiative, with Trinity and UCONN Business School as key partners. For Trinity, it was a natural fit given our close partnership with Hartford Hospital. Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President for External Relations Jason Rojas, a leading participant in shaping Innovation Places, added that “having Hartford become a center of excellence for innovation and medical technology is something that benefits Trinity. It promises to create unique opportunities for our students, by giving them direct exposure to the world of startups, hands-on internships in cutting-edge fields, and access to new programming.”
Cardenas also commented on what the future looks like for Trinity’s relationship with Startupbootcamp, “Having [the startups] in Trinity’s space will be great for our students, who will be able to work as interns with the startups and will also benefit from programming relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. We’re also hoping that, over time, faculty with interests in health, technology, or biomedical engineering could serve as mentors or connect their classes to programming and projects associated with the startups.”
The acceleration program in Hartford is a hotbed for the development of specifically medical technology, with Hartford HealthCare, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center at the center of the city and program. The program targets startups with a range of digital health technologies, and may provide Hartford with a chance to capitalize on the growth of the healthcare field and thus grow the economy by bringing more investment dollars to Connecticut.
Trinity helped to choose this year’s finalists, and will work closely with them throughout the course of the program. The finalists this year include; CompanionMx, Ellipsis, Clearstep, Encapsulate, MDI Health, QR Fertile, BrainCheck, Lineus Medical, DeepScribe, and Aiva. Managing director of Digital Health CT, Gerry Roston, Ph.D., said, “ultimately, we look for scientific and clinical-depth of the solutions and then seek the perfect fit to form partnerships with our corporate partners for accelerated go-to-market. The Digital Health domain is exploding with opportunity right now,” added Cardenas, and she “feels confident that we are positioned to support serious entrepreneurs in hitting the market fast and hard. 2019 will be an amazing year.”