Techstars Demo Day brings innovation to the historic stockyards
For the last 13 weeks, the founders of 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have been in Fort Worth perfecting their new physical health technology. They are part of the world’s first physical health accelerator, and now they are ready to show the fruits of their labor.
Techstars Demo Day on Tuesday is the culmination of more than a year of planning — and a lifetime of dreaming, innovating and disrupting industries. The doors of the newly restored Isis Theater in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards will open at 5:30 p.m. to the public. Founders of the companies will begin their formal pitches at 6:15 p.m.
Fort Worth is now the only city in Texas other than Austin that hosts an accelerator of this magnitude.
“Innovation is a core HSC value,” said Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, president of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. “The Techstars Physical Health Accelerator not only spurs important innovations that will help countless patients, but it will also help solidify Fort Worth and HSC as destinations for entrepreneurs who need support for disrupting the health care industry with new ideas and fresh perspectives. I couldn’t be more excited about Demo Day and everything it represents for our future.”
In September, the companies arrived in Fort Worth as a part of the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind partnership between the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, HSC, Goff Capital and Techstars — a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs. The goal of the partnership is to revolutionize the physical health industry through new technology.
The program’s partners chose 10 high-growth, early-stage startups to support and fund during the next three years. The companies were chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants. The founders, innovators and representatives of these startups have called Fort Worth home as team members from HSC, Techstars and Goff Capital worked with them to shepherd those ideas from concept to game-changing tech.
“We are excited to see how far these companies have progressed during their time here,” said Cameron Cushman, HSC’s assistant vice president of innovation ecosystems. “Their work to disrupt the physical therapy and related industries is going to pay dividends for patients and providers for years to come, and HSC was thrilled to have played a small part in the development of these startups.”
The accelerator is focused on supporting companies building new technologies, treatments and therapies in the physical health space in areas such as rehabilitation, physical therapy, performance and exercise. The startups received hands-on mentorship, curated entrepreneurial content and programming, up to $120,000 in funding, and access to a vast network of mentors, investors, alumni and influential corporate executives.
Josh Rabinowitz’ Dallas-based company, Articulate Labs, is one of the startups involved in the accelerator. His Kneestim is a light, wearable device that helps rehabilitate the user’s knee through electrical stimulation.
He said the accelerator has dramatically expanded his company’s network. He now has a number of promising leads for everything from product testing to medical equipment suppliers.
“Those doors opened pretty quickly with the Techstars name behind it,” he said. “Having an entity like Techstars and the rest of the team show faith in the technology gives us a stamp of approval that encourages investors to take a look at us.”
HSC received $4.8 million in funding from the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to start the physical therapy-focused accelerator program with Techstars. Equity investments into the startup companies are being made by HSC and Goff Capital to total nearly $10 million for the project over three years.
The accelerator represents a collaboration to fill gaps identified by many business-savvy observers in Tarrant County: access to physical therapy and the lack of a true early-stage accelerator program for innovative startup companies.
“These innovative companies are working hard to bring new tools to market to make us all healthier,” said Trey Bowles, managing director of the Fort Worth accelerator. “Their experience at Techstars has opened up a world of mentors, investors, experts, providers, clinicians and researchers that they would not have had access to on their own. This intensive program has allowed these 10 companies to make some serious traction and grow tremendously in just a few months.”
To reserve a free spot for Demo Day and witness Fort Worth history, go to Eventbrite.
About the 10 companies in the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator
Dallas’ Articulate Labs has developed platform technology, enabling faster physical rehabilitation through movement-synchronous electrical muscle stimulation. The first application of this platform will address quadriceps atrophy and inhibition related to chronic knee conditions or following knee surgery.
BOOMROOM out of Charlotte, N.C., is an integrated platform that equips fitness entrepreneurs with the tools and technology to host superior virtual experiences and manage their businesses all in one place.
GoManda is a digital solution to building social skills through building vocabulary. It provides a tablet-based flashcard platform that gives educators the best tool to teach vocabulary.
Neurofit creates virtual therapy exercises that assess, monitor and personalize care for neurological impairments. The Toronto startup produces a digital data layer that uses telemedicine, remote monitoring and digital brain health programs to give patients and clinicians a more proactive way to support the recovery journey.
Pulsewave AG’s TempleGuard is a wearable attachment for existing eyeglasses that measures vital signs behind the patient’s ear. The Swiss company’s device combines real-time patient monitoring with artificial intelligence algorithms in order to predict the development of cardiovascular disease.
Toronto/Chicago company Stabl’s product is a computer vision-enabled platform entirely accessible through the internet that tracks patients’ biomechanics automatically as they perform their recovery exercises. The movement data is relayed to the patient’s clinical team members’ dashboard, where they can monitor patient recovery, identify potential health risks and communicate with the patient.
For busy, health-conscious people who do not have the time or desire to go to crowded gyms or visit a physiotherapist, German company STRAFFR is the first truly smart resistance band that connects to an app to provide personalized and effective functional training, enabled by real-time feedback and supported by certified trainers and pro athletes.
Tampa-based Recovr Health helps providers and payers increase compliance and decrease no-show rates by leveraging XR technologies to gamify physical and occupational exercises.
Wellest Inc. has created an industry-leading artificial intelligence coach for managing end-user nutrition and activity plans. The San Francisco startup’s deeply personalized and dynamic plans optimize users’ body compositions to help them look their best, feel healthier and live longer, all while maintaining flexibility to live their lives.
D.C.-based ZAMA Health is developing a behavioral health integration for any athletic program, fitness company or gym.