Health Wildcatters recently ranked as the top health care-focused accelerator in the Southwest, and in the top three nationally, according to MIT’s Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. The rankings are based on data-driven analysis, including qualified fundraising, founder satisfaction, alumni network and other metrics.
The rankings were announced during the annual SXSW conference, where Dallas-based Health Wildcatters and eight portfolio companies exhibited at the SX Health & MedTech Expo.
“To be ranked in the top 23 accelerators in just three years since our inception is a true honor,” said Dr. Hubert Zajicek, Health Wildcatters CEO. “We have always believed that North Texas has the capacity to be recognized as a market leader in terms of driving health care innovation, and to be ranked as one of the top programs drives that point home.’’
Applications are now open through June 15 as Health Wildcatters searches for new companies to be a part of its fourth accelerator class. To date, the program has successfully graduated 32 companies. The program pairs promising startups with mentors and a network of investors in the Dallas community.
“Any health care innovation is welcome,” said Zajicek. “We look for out-of-the-box thinking and novel ideas. That said, most applicants come from the Health IT/digital health and medical devices side.”
While incubators house companies for extended periods of time, Health Wildcatters’ 12-week program offers health care-focused startups in the early stages of funding an initial seed investment, as well as access to mentors, office space and strategic resources needed to help the startups grow. The idea behind a compressed timeframe and a cohort-driven program is to create a certain sense of urgency, according to Zajicek.
“That said, we have startups co-locate with us for months afterward. Incubators are usually tasked with creating jobs for a community or commercializing IP for a university. Therefore, having companies around for years is desired or necessary.”
Its teams have collectively raised over $12 million. Health Wildcatters invests $30,000 and gets eight percent equity in exchange, said Zajicek.
For its 2015 class, the accelerator had over 150 applicants.