Digital health accelerator to launch in South Carolina

By: Jonah Comstock | May 16, 2013        

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The Iron YardNew digital health focused accelerators seem to be popping up every week, especially in the South. Healthbox launched a Florida accelerator in the middle of April, and a week later Health Wildcatters launched in Dallas, Texas. Now a tech accelerator called The Iron Yard in upstate South Carolina is launching its own digital health accelerator.

Startups will work with mentors from companies including pharmaceutical company J.M. Smith, Mayo Clinic, Abbott Labs, and Zebra Technologies. The demo day for the first digital health class will be at the Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley at the end of September. The class will also have a Southeast launch event back in South Carolina the following week.

“The Southeast in general is a different market,” Peter Barth, managing director at the Iron Yard told MobiHealthNews. “We’re not Silicon Valley, we’re not trying to be Silicon Valley.” He explained that the accelerator is looking for startups who are solving a particular problem in the healthcare space and who want to build a long-lasting company, not startups that are just looking to be acquired.

The Iron Yard digital health accelerator will be based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, not far from the accelerator’s main campus in Greenville. They’re accepting applications now for 10 digital health startups.

“[Your] company should be software or software/hardware combinations (like FitBit),” The Iron Yard states on its website. “We don’t do: medical devices, biotech or life sciences.”

The startups will receive $20,000 in seed funding and a number of perks in exchange for 6 percent equity in their company. Perks include legal and financial advice, office space, and living space on site for companies who relocate from out of town. Although the program only runs three months, companies get their office space for a full year, according to Kate McCarthy, the director of the new accelerator.

The Iron Yard has been around for about two years and has run two classes as a general tech accelerator, but no healthcare-related companies have come through yet. Barth said South Carolina has a lot of hospitals that are interested in innovating their workflow, and because the area is less saturated with health startups than somewhere like Boston or San Diego, there’s less competition to work with those providers.

Applications for the program will be accepted until June 7th, and the program will launch July 15th.