Cedars-Sinai Medical Center wants to give a leg-up to the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs. The Los Angeles-based academic medical center has partnered with Techstars, a startup accelerator, that will help provide funding and resources to young companies.
About 10 to 12 entrepreneurs will be invited to participate in the three-month program, which will give them access to Cedars-Sinai's laboratories and clinicians. The founders also agree to give up equity in their companies in exchange for up to $120,000 in funding.
“We see it as very much a part of our mission,” said Darrren Dworkin, Cedar-Sinai's chief information officer. “This is a different type of community benefit, which is how can we as a health system help young entrepreneurs learn fast—or maybe fail fast.”
Applications are being accepted through Jan. 8. The program begins in March.
Cedars-Sinai has a long history of helping its own clinicians commercialize technologies they've developed inside the organization, spinning out companies such as Zynx Health, a 2014 Modern Healthcare winner of Best Places to Work in Healthcare, and Stanson Health, which takes credit for over $6 million in annual cost savings at Cedars Sinai.
“What really intrigued us was that there's this whole world of technology outside the organization,” Dworkin said.
The hospital last year partnered with MemorialCare Health System to launch Summation Health Ventures, an investment fund that focuses on early to mid-stage information technology and technology-enabled device companies. The fund currently has seven portfolio companies and is actively looking for others.
But the Techstars partnership allows it to work with even earlier-stage startups. Some of those firms could eventually mature enough to become investments for Summation.
Asked about what Cedars-Sinai is looking to invest in, Dworkin pointed to areas such as cybersecurity, patient privacy and data analytics as well as the technologies that focus on the intersection of consumerism and healthcare. But it isn't limited to those ideas.
“What I'm most excited about is the unknown,” he said. “A piece of making it really innovative is finding ideas that we never thought of.”