UH, Houston Health Ventures Join Forces to Launch Startups

New Companies Will Receive $30,000, Space in University’s Energy Research Park

The first class of Houston Health Venture’s NextHIT accelerator program will spend eight weeks in the University of Houston’s new Innovation Center, and will receive a $30,000 investment from the health care investment fund.

Houston Health Ventures, a health care investment fund focused on health information technology, devices and diagnostics, has launched a national search for the accelerator program, which will focus on health IT. Applications are due Aug. 13.

“We are excited to attract the very best ideas and startup companies to Houston and the largest medical center in the world,” said David Franklin, managing director of Houston Health Ventures and the NextHIT program. “Locating our program on the UH campus creates multiple opportunities going forward for our NextHIT companies to tap into UH’s significant research and development infrastructure.”

NextHIT is working with UH’s Division of Research to provide its inaugural class of startup companies with eight weeks of tailored curriculum, access to need-specific mentors, offices and amenities. The startups will be housed at the Innovation Center at UH’s Energy Research Park. In addition to a $30,000 investment from Houston Health Ventures, each company will receive $24,000 worth of services from Rackspace Inc., a cloud-based service company.

Franklin and the other co-founders of Houston Health Ventures, Huan Le and James Tao, signed a deal with the University earlier this year to commercialize technologies created by its faculty and build a new building at the Energy Research Park to house laboratories and startup businesses.

Companies chosen for NextHIT will have the opportunity to leverage Houston Health Ventures, its investors, advisers and mentors for additional funding as they move through the program.

Mark Clarke, associate vice president for technology transfer at UH, said housing the NextHIT participants at the Energy Research Park is part of the University’s goal of developing the park as a “destination” for entrepreneurial activity.

Companies will be accepted on a rolling basis, with up to 10 selected. The first NextHIT class will be announced Aug. 29. Classes begin Sept. 22. Apply by going to www.HoustonHealthVentures.com.

Companies closer to commercialization interested in discussing funding opportunities should visit HoustonHealthVentures.com to submit an executive summary.

Those interested in the accelerator program should submit contact information at the bottom of www.HoustonHealthVentures.com/people_page/. For information about sponsorship opportunities for the NextHIT program, email Josephine@HoustonHealthVentures.com.