NeuroLaunch, a year-old accelerator for startups seeking to bring brain-based technology to market, is expanding from its home base in Atlanta to Boston and San Francisco this summer.
The program is already taking applications, said co-founder Dr. Jordan Amadio, a neurosurgery resident at Emory University, and will begin in June and end with a demo day in Atlanta in August. Between six and 10 spots are available, and successful applicants will have the option of working at any of the three locations.
Six startups completed the first round of the program in February this year, and so far, have collectively raised over $4 million in seed funding. Among them is Boston startup Cognition Medical, which is building a device to help mitigate the effects of stroke, and Brainchild Technologies from New Haven, which makes a “smart pacifier” for infants that allows parents to monitor their development via a smartphone app.
Amadio believes that neuroscience is coming into its own as a subcategory within the health and wearables space, and points to two prominent national research investments that have been launched in the past two years. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN, initiative was announced by President Obama in 2013, and channels federal and non-profit foundation funding toward mapping the human brain, and the European Union’s $1 billion investment in the Human Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, or EPFL, has a similar goal.
NeuroLaunch’s goal is to nurture potential commercial applications as they emerge from the research, said Amadio. Startups that are working on both medical and consumer technologies are invited to apply.
Amadio received a joint MBA and medical degree from Harvard and MIT’s Health Sciences and Technology program, and is an advisor at the Harvard iLab. Through the Boston-based accelerator, he intends to cultivate local relationships for future startups — so far, that includes law firm Foley and Lardner, which will offer legal advice to the startups, Dr. Matt Bianchi, a neurologist and chief of the division of sleep medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Vivjan Myrto, founder of Boston Global Ventures.
Image via Flickr user Neil Conway