The number of startup accelerators in the U.S. is doubling every year, but few are as specialized as Atlanta’s NeuroLaunch, the world’s first startup accelerator specifically for neuroscience startups.
NeuroLaunch held its inaugural Investors Demo Day at the Atlanta Tech Village on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Five startups from the accelerator’s inaugural cohort presented their pitches to a sold-out crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and local and regional media. The pitches in this cohort covered a wide range of solutions ranging from wearable medical devices to advanced testing and gene sequencing technologies.
The afternoon event also featured a “Poster Showcase” in which 22 entrepreneurs—including 13 from outside Atlanta—were invited to exhibit their startups, ideas, and solutions to problems in the field of neurotechnology.
Cofounder Jordan Amadio was eager to point out that the NeuroLaunch event represented the largest single gathering of neuroscience-specific startups in history: more than 140 investors and entrepreneurs from around the country were reportedly in attendance.
“These are very exciting times for neuroscience startups,” Amadio said in his opening remarks. “If it’s part of the neuroscience field, it’s within our purview. Our mission is to remove the barriers for those innovators and bring their solutions to the marketplace.”
In addition to the presentations, the NeuroLaunch event featured two panel discussions and plenty of networking opportunities throughout the program.
Of course, the portfolio company pitches served as the day’s main event. The startups in this cohort were:
- Cognition Medical—makers of a flow control device used to treat stroke victims without introducing the risk of additional brain injury
- Brainchild Technologies—makers of a “smart pacifier” that allows babies to interact with and explore the world while giving parents opportunities to observe and measure their infants’ preferences and cognitive development
- MintLabs—developers of imaging software that provides an interactive, 3D view of the inner workings of the brain from low-resolution MRI images; the makers described their product as “Google Maps for the brain”
- Safe Heart—makers of wearable health monitoring devices. Their software combines elements of gamification and social media to make daily monitoring of vital signs fun and affordable
- Intellimedix—developers of a comprehensive “precision medicine” platform that uses gene sequencing to recommend more precise medication recommendations
The six companies in this initial cohort were selected from 60 applications across 10 states and seven countries. As part of the NeuroLaunch curriculum, startups had access to a network of more than 100 mentors and heard from over 30 guest speakers over the course of the 90-day program.
Launched last summer by Amadio, Anish Joseph, Jim Schwoebel and ISS founder Christopher Klaus, NeuroLaunch borrows many of the ideas common in most traditional startup accelerator programs to provide neuroscience entrepreneurs with the curriculum, environment and roster of mentors needed to build a long-term community of stakeholders around neuro-innovation. So far, NeuroLaunch companies have collectively raised more than $2.3 million in funding. The accelerator is housed at ATDC in Tech Square.
Photos from the event are below:
Here’s cofounder Jim Schwoebel on the mission and vision of NeuroLaunch:
Tiffany Wilson Karp, Executive Director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation, gives her reaction to the panels and overall impression of the event:
And here are BrainChild Technologies founders Carly Kiselycznyk, Anke Karabanov and Jesper Karabanov on why they applied and what it’s like to go through the NeuroLaunch program: