World’s first physical health accelerator program begins in Fort Worth

Published on September 16, 2022

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Representatives from 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have converged on Fort Worth this week to revolutionize the physical health industry through new technology as part of a first-of-its-kind physical health accelerator.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth has partnered with Techstars — a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs — along with the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and Goff Capital to start the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator.

The program’s partners chose 10 high-growth, early-stage startups to support and fund over the next three years. The companies were chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants worldwide. For the next several months, owners, innovators and representatives of these startups will call Fort Worth home, as team members from HSC, Techstars and Goff Capital shepherd their ideas from concept to game-changing tech.

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 selected startups will participate in an intensive, 13-week program, and receive 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.

These efforts will culminate Dec. 8 during Demo Day, when leaders of the startups will present their work.

HSC received $4.8 million in funding from the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to start a 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.

“We’re very excited to welcome this Techstars cohort to Fort Worth,” said Robert Sturns, the City’s director of economic development. “All of these companies are doing some really interesting, innovative things in the physical health sector, and their presence here is really a testament to both the strength of our city’s growing healthcare industry, as well as the market knowledge and depth of expertise within Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

About the accelerator

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.

This will be the first Techstars accelerator in North Texas, although the company has hosted more than 80 Techstars Startup Weekends and Techstars Startup Week community events in other parts of the state. In Austin alone, the Colorado-based organization has invested in more than 150 startups that have raised more than $1 billion in venture funding to date.

Techstars also will be welcoming two entrepreneurs-in-residence to the program. Both have expertise in the field of physical health and successful track records of growing their own startups.

About the companies

  • 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 AI 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 Verapy helps providers/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 AI coach for managing end-user nutrition and activity plans. The San Francisco startup’s deeply personalized and dynamic plans optimize the 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.

 

 

Photo: Trey Bowles (center), managing director of the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, with the 10 companies that will be part of the program.

 

 

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