Plug and Play Year One: The Cleveland Experience
Last year Plug and Play, an Innovation Platform that connects the largest corporations to the world’s best startups through industry focused post-accelerator programs, chose Cleveland as its third North-American location. It is also one of only three Plug and Play-Health focused programs in the world, the other two are in Silicon Valley and Munich.
In 2018, Plug and Play Cleveland hosted 24 start-ups over the year in two separate cohorts, referred to as “batches,” with more than $100 million in capital has been raised. From those 24 start-ups there are many pilot programs that are either in discussion or have already been deployed. Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley firm, locating in Cleveland has galvanized institutional stakeholders around the start-up scene. In addition to that the Plug and Play start-ups have been exposed to the City of Cleveland, our cost of living and quality of life have gotten the attention of the start-ups who otherwise would not have looked at locating to Cleveland.
Locally Augment Therapy, a Chagrin Falls based start-up, was selected to participate in Plug and Play’s second Batch of 2018. Lindsay Watson, founder of Augment Therapy, discussed her experience and the benefits associated with being selected to participate with Plug and Play. In part she said that Plug and Play got her in the room with the right people from local institutions which validated her concept on a “much deeper level”, and helped her secure concrete buy in from the Cleveland Clinic as well as University Hospitals. What was most valuable to Augment Therapy? Being paired with a clinical champion at the Cleveland Clinic as well as University hospitals. This gave her a dedicated point of contact at each institution that was engaged directly in her start-up. Thus far Lindsay has started to raise capital and now has a PILOT deployed at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and Cleveland Clinic. All-in-all Lindsay estimates that Plug and Play shortened her time to market by at least a year and by as much as 18 months. Her advice to Cleveland Start-Ups interested in participating in Plug and Play in 2019 “go for it, try regardless of stage, I was a very early stage start-up and was selected”.
As we look towards 2019 and Year two of Plug and Play in Cleveland we are going to see some subtle changes to their batch model. This year will feature a rolling batch process which should allow for greater deal flow and, ultimately, more meaningful engagements. In addition to that you can expect to see Plug and Play Meetup programming, more content from them as they strive to educate new Clinical Champions, as well as community champions of Plug and Play and a bigger and better EXPO event this Fall, coinciding with an anchor health innovation conference.
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