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Cleveland Clinic, JumpStart, Plug and Play to launch a digital health/biotech accelerator

The initiative aims to attract dozens of U.S. and international healthcare startups to Cleveland each year.

Cleveland Clinic, JumpStart, Plug and Play to launch a digital health/biotech accelerator

Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart have announced a three-year partnership with Silicon Valley's Plug and Play to create an accelerator focused on biotech and digital health innovation in downtown Cleveland's Global Center for Health Innovation.

Announced during Cleveland Clinic's 2017 Medical Innovation Summit, the initiative aims to attract dozens of U.S. and international healthcare startups to Cleveland each year.

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California – Plug and Play is widely recognized for being "a global innovation platform" that connects startups to investors and corporations while also directly investing in more than 150 startups annually. During the years, it has grown to become the largest accelerator program in the world — with operations in 24 other locations across four continents.

"We are excited to work together to attract large companies, small companies, entrepreneurs, investors and future employees to come together to advance healthcare innovation," Brian Donley, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff, said in a statement. "Bringing this activity to our region will help continue the growth of our healthcare-based economy, leading to new treatments for our patients and patients around the world."

Beginning in Spring 2018, the "Plug and Play Cleveland HealthTech Accelerator" will operate two cohort programs annually. The HealthTech Accelerator team will evaluate hundreds of startups from across the globe which are then vetted down to cohorts of at least 10 companies every six months. Cleveland Clinic, JumpStart and all Ohio-based collaborators will also make every effort to encourage participating startups to stay in Cleveland post-graduation.

Plug and Play's accelerator program has its roots in the Plug and Play Tech Center — the famous Palo Alto "lucky building" that once housed early tenants such as Google, Danger and PayPal — and has differentiated itself from other accelerators by building a robust network of over 200 corporate partners, whom they connect to accelerator startups directly impacting each partner's specific industry. Some of Ohio-based corporate Plug and Play partners include well-known names such as Sherwin Williams, Goodyear, Procter & Gamble, Avery Dennison, Westfield Insurance, Cincinnati Financial, Nationwide and American Greetings.

In addition, Plug and Play also maintains strong ties with 200 leading Silicon Valley venture capital partners, who pay close attention to startups in the program when considering future investment opportunities.

"We've been very successful in building satellite locations with corporate partners around the world," Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play CEO and Founder, said in a statement. "For example, our activities in Stuttgart with Mercedes, Porsche, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and BASF have resulted in creating over 100 pilot projects. We intend to have a similar impact in Cleveland."

The Cleveland HealthTech Accelerator will initially be joint-funded by Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart along with support from their longtime partner The Ohio Third Frontier. Additional founding partners, including Ohio and outside-of-Ohio healthcare institutions, corporations and foundations focused on innovation and commercialization are also anticipated to join the initiative in the future.

Additionally, Cleveland Clinic will collaborate with up to six Plug and Play cohort companies each year to pilot their new healthcare innovations, while JumpStart will help to select companies in each cohort as well as invest in many of the companies participating who have committed to stay in Ohio.

The Cleveland Clinic, JumpStart and Plug and Play chose to operate the accelerator out of the Global Center for Health Innovation to leverage the impressive investment from Cuyahoga County.

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