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Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a new startup accelerator is meeting virtually with its first cohort of healthcare technology startups. Launch Lane named seven startups for its first cohort last week.

Originally, Launch Lane planned to have the companies gather in-person for weekly meetings. For now, they’re meeting over video sessions for the duration of the pandemic.

The accelerator was spun out of the University City Science Center, after the Philadelphia-based nonprofit received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  Startups participating in the program will receive a combined $300,000 in cash.

“Startups will play a significant role in the city, region, and country’s economic growth as we emerge from this unprecedented time,” Dr. John Younger, vice president of science and technology for the Science Center, said in a news release. “This Launch Lane cohort represents sprouts in tomorrow’s economy, with the Science Center’s role to stimulate and nurture their growth.”

A selection committee whittled down 206 applicants into the final group of seven. Part of the reason that the Science Center won the Kauffman grant in the first place was because of its unique blind application process.

The Science Center first implemented it with its digital health accelerator a few years ago to ensure it brought in a diverse group of finalists. Initial applications were stripped of any pronouns or identifying information, so the selection team didn’t know if the candidates were male or female, or attended their alma mater, for example.

A diverse, 31-person selection team picked the seven companies from the finalists. The focus was to find technology companies with a prototype that was ready to be deployed in a commercial setting.

Launch Lane’s first cohort includes:

  • Arke Aeronautics, a startup developing a platform that gives first responders secure access to accurate response information the moment a 911 call is dispatched.
  • envoyatHome, a startup that improves care for seniors living alone by analyzing movement information generated at home and reporting insights to family caregivers.
  • Kliit Health, a digital health company that helps women get answers to their health questions by connecting them to clinicians and women’s health experts through their smartphones.
  • The OrVac, which manufactures a portable handheld aspirator, intended help people with swallowing disorders and oral conditions to self-suction without outside assistance.
  • Pera Labs, a startup that automates sperm and egg analysis for fertility clinics.
  • Pippy Sips, a startup that has created a thermos-sized system that can store, monitor and cool breastmilk for up to 24 hours.
  • Tozuda, a company that designs and manufactures head impact indicators for concussion awareness.

Photo credit: akindo, Getty Images



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