Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart have announced a three-year partnership with Silicon Valley's renowned 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 trio will work together—with support from Ohio Third Frontier and additional institutions and corporations—to attract dozens of U.S. and international healthcare startups to Cleveland each year.
While Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart are well-known entities in Northeast Ohio's innovation economy, Plug and Play is a new entrant and widely recognized for being "a global innovation platform" that connects startups to investors and corporations while also directly investing in more than 150 startups each year.
"We are excited to work together to attract large companies, small companies, entrepreneurs, investors and future employees to come together to advance healthcare innovation," said Brian Donley, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff. "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."
"This collaboration is an incredible example of Cleveland Clinic leveraging its resources and expertise to increase Cleveland's already formidable reputation for healthcare innovation," said JumpStart CEO Ray Leach. "We are proud to join with Cleveland Clinic to attract more startups to Ohio while also doing a better job of connecting these firms to local and global corporations who are looking for new innovations to increase their competitiveness."
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.
Regularly noted as one of the most successful accelerators internationally, Plug and Play, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, has grown to become the largest accelerator program in the world—with operations in 24 other locations across four continents.
The organization'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 200+ corporate partners, whom they connect to accelerator startups directly impacting each partner's specific industry. Examples of existing Ohio-based corporate Plug and Play partners include well-known names such as Sherwin Williams, Goodyear, Proctor & Gamble, Avery Dennison, Westfield Insurance, Cincinnati Financial, Nationwide and American Greetings.
"We are thrilled to engage Cleveland's robust health, industrial and investment community to attract the most innovative health startups worldwide to Cleveland. We believe our efforts will accelerate the growth of Cleveland's entrepreneurial economy through the connections we make between corporations, startups and investors," said Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play CEO and Founder. "We've been very successful in building satellite locations with corporate partners around the world. 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."
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. Meanwhile, the accelerator itself invests anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000 into more than 150 companies each year.
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. Also, since BioEnterprise was recently named to lead the implementation of the Global Center for Health Innovation's strategic plan, the group looks forward to utilizing the expertise of the BioEnterprise team as they work together to incubate and develop companies.
"The addition of Plug and Play to our growing innovation ecosystem is terrific for our County. As we work together to make this region a vibrant and prosperous one, we know that attracting big ideas, innovators and investors is crucial," said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. "With the addition of Plug and Play to the County's Global Center for Health Innovation, we have taken another great step towards our goal of robust economic development fueled by innovation."