A little more than a year old, the Texas Health Catalyst has already been recognized as a major player driving the nation’s technology startup ecosystem.
The program, which supports transformative health products and services in the development stage, won a $50,000 award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as did other select growth accelerators nationwide. The award will allow leaders of the Texas Health Catalyst to expand its capacity to identify promising ideas and provide them with both seed funding and guidance from industry and clinical experts.
Texas Health Catalyst is a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Office of Technology Commercialization and the Seton Healthcare Family.
“A key differentiator of the Texas Health Catalyst is that we’re focused on solving unmet health needs. We bring together partners from across fields to vet and refine solutions with the goal of moving health products and services into the market to improve health,” said Ruben Rathnasingham, the program’s director.
“With the Dell Medical School’s founding mission to improve health without increasing costs, the Texas Health Catalyst program is focused on supporting value-based solutions for a future-facing health care ecosystem,” Rathnasingham added.
One such solution being co-developed by a clinician and business school faculty member is a system to address complex scheduling for multidisciplinary care, bringing it to one location for the patient’s convenience. Another, being developed by a surgeon and an engineer, is a low-cost, smart imaging system that will enhance surgery.
All told, the SBA named 68 winners – culled from more than 400 applications – from 32 states in its third annual competition. The competition is aimed at boosting the economic impact of accelerators, which provide capital and support to startups for a small amount of time. The Texas Health Catalyst was one of only three winners from Texas.
The announcement came just as Silicon Hills News, a startup technology news site, lauded the program as a top healthcare accelerator in Texas. Texas Health Catalyst also builds on the support of campus partners like the Innovation Center and the IC2 Institute, and University of Texas System resources like the Entrepreneurship Network – so as 1-year-olds go, it’s grown up fast.
The Texas Health Catalyst releases a request for proposals every spring. Proposals are reviewed by an advisory panel of Austin-area life sciences leaders and experts in fields ranging from product development to venture capital to patent law. Following a subsequent two-month intensive mentoring period, finalists present their ideas for the chance at up to $100,000 in seed funding for a one-year project plan.
“The SBA award certainly adds to our momentum. It’s fun – we’re creating a sustainable innovation engine that advances the local economy, enhances public-private relationships and improves lives,” Rathnasingham said.