The last few years have seen a dramatic expansion in the number of accelerator programs and exponential rise in those applying to these programs. This has led to several questions about this burgeoning industry of innovation. Is it sustainable?What are the limits on expansion and what is the best method to grow? Finally, what makes a “good” accelerator and as an applicant what should you look for in a program?
VentureWell is a venture development and investor readiness program, intended to help NCIIA E-Teams develop their businesses to the point where they can secure their first formal round of financing.
At this time the VentureWell is designed for for-profit ventures only. Two sector-specific programs will be offered each year: one in late fall for teams working on cleantech devices, and one in the summer for teams working on biomedical and/or health-related devices.
Upcoming VentureWell Programs
The next VentureWell program is being conducted in partnership with Village Capital. This program will be held in Louisiville, Kentucky and focuses on agriculture and cleantech ventures. Learn more and apply today!
A second VentureWell program will be held this summer and is expected to focus on healthcare and medical ventures. More information coming soon.
All VentureWell funded companies were also NCIIA grant recipients in the early stages of their company's development.
IntelliWheels Founded by students at University of Illinois, IntelliWheels is launching a geared replacement wheel for wheelchairs. IntelliWheels received a NCIIA E-Team grant in 2010 and participated in NCIIA's Open Minds exhibition in 2010. The company has just recently raised equity funds from Serra Ventures, VentureWell, and others.
SmarterShadeSmarterShade has a proprietary technology to produce a window that can be adjusted from transparent to opaque, at 1/3 the cost of the competition. The company, which came out of Notre Dame University, received a NCIIA E-Team grant in 2007 and participated in NCIIA's Open Minds exhibition in 2008. They have since received equity funding from VentureWell and others.
Promethean Power A company based in Massachusetts and in India, Promethean Power provides milk cooling and storage equipment to the Indian dairy industry. The genesis of the project was in part funded by a NCIIA E-Team grant received in 2007.
Natural Composites Founded by a student-faculty team at Baylor University, Natural Composites converts agriculture waste such as coconut shell into engineering products, including injection-molded plastics and other products for a range of industries. The team received an E-Team grant in 2006 and participated in NCIIA's Open Minds exhibition in 2008. Since then, the company has gone on to secure over $5+ million.
Therapeutic Systems Founded by a PhD student team from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Therapeutic Systems makes the Vayu Vest, a product for autistic children. Therapeutic Systems received a NCIIA E-Team grant in 2007 and participated in NCIIA's Open Minds exhibition in 2009.
NCIIA and its VentureWell subsidiary are excited to announce a partnership with Village Capital to produce an educational program for innovators and entrepreneurs seeking early stage financing. Village Capital/VentureWell will provide a group of up to 15 teams with two intensive three-day sessions separated by eight weekly webinars. The program will start in Boston on November 29, and conclude with the peer selection of the two teams that merit investment of $50,000 each.
Attention E-Teams! The Village Capital/VentureWell program is restricted to for-profit ventures and is ideally suited for E-Teams that have received and largely executed upon E-Team grant funding milestones. The focus of the current program is on IT and cleantech ventures, as well as those at the intersection of IT and cleantech, with a focus on serving low-resource populations in the U.S. or customers in emerging markets. Future programs are expected to focus on other sectors such as medical products.
Visit venturewell.org and select Village Capital for more information on Village Capital/VentureWell - Boston.
In her latest column in Xconomy, 'The Day of the Innovator has Arrived,' Judy Giordan, NCIIA's senior advisor and chair of VentureWell, sets out VentureWell's vision for transforming scientific outcomes into innovations that can solve the world's most pressing problems.
To find out more about how to start the process of transforming the much touted 'Valley of Death' into a 'Time of Brilliance', read the article!
Therapeutic Systems, which formed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has developed a new therapy system - a wearable vest - for people with autism. The vest system provides a therapy known as Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation (DPTS) that treats people by applying firm pressure to the chest, much like the feeling of a hug. The vest offers users much more control over the sensation they seek: the inflatable system can be inserted into any off-the-shelf vest and can safely apply a range of pressure. Autism is an increasingly diagnosed condition in the US: one in every 110 children will have the condition.
Therapeutic Systems was considered for VentureWell investment after progressing through NCIIA's venture development program. As a student team, Therapeutic Systems particpated in the 2005 BMEIdea competition, the Invention to Venture and Advanced I2V workshops, received an E-Team grant in 2007 and presented at the 2009 March Madness for the Mind showcase of student innovation.
Earlier in the year, VentureWell made its first investment in former E-Team Whole Tree.