Augment Therapy has continued picking up steam in 2021, and this has been driven by participation in two “accelerators.” With any new startup, a founder often finds herself asking: Do we have what it takes? Are we legitimate? This year, Augment Therapy had the good fortune of being selected to be a part of the KidsX and MassChallenge accelerators, each of which provided reassuring answers to these questions.
What are Accelerators?
Accelerators are intensive, multi-week programs where startups—in this case early-stage medical tech companies dedicated to children—can interface with mentors well-established in the field. These mentors give lessons and provide feedback for companies selected to participate. This educates new CEOs about the ins and outs of managing a business, running a startup, and keeping up with the fast-paced world of health tech.
More broadly, accelerators also help tech startups make connections with one another. Since all the involved startups are, like Augment Therapy, dedicated to children’s health, this connectivity is essential in getting companies helping companies and, more importantly, helping kids. In sum, an accelerator involving pediatric health startups is basically a big brainstorming session for how to help kids get better.
KidsX is a consortium of children’s hospitals that forges partnerships with up-and-coming digital health companies to help transform pediatric care. Together, KidsX and its chosen partners seek to implement software solutions to make pediatric care more effective and efficient for families. KidsX’s 13-week program exposes company founders to live and online workshops and mentorships totalling 10 to 15 hours per week. This all culminates in “KidsX Demo Day,” where pediatric and digital health companies from across the globe give details of their progress.
For Augment Therapy to have been included in this KidsX program and its Demo Day provides instant validation for the product and the business model put forth by Lindsay Watson, CEO. Lindsay and her staff found the classes on how to speak to users particularly helpful, as they showed how to integrate feedback from early adopters into new and updated versions of Augment Therapy software.
MassChallenge is a Massachusetts-based non-profit dedicated to supporting innovative startups in a variety of fields, including pediatric health. MassChallenge does this by enabling partnerships between startups and vital contacts in the corporate, industry, and government sectors. Qualifying startups go through a 4-month period of curriculum and mentorships, as well as all-important exhibitions designed to spur growth, win funding opportunities, and forge further collaboration.
The MassChallenge HealthTech accelerator runs from January to June and seeks to propel “high-impact” digital startups through partnerships with health-care industry leaders. Their matchmaking program provides every participating startup with at least one partnership alongside a leading healthcare firm. The MassChallenge accelerator helps CEOs set goals and mark milestones, all of which are rooted in a curriculum designed to make companies enterprise-ready. Participating startups typically see growth in revenue, funding, and staff size.
Lindsay has seen all of the above for Augment Therapy. The company benefited greatly from its partnership with OSF Healthcare that MassChallenge HealthTech forged. Just as crucially, MassChallenge won Augment Therapy a fantastic intern who immediately helped shore up the company’s social media profile.
Both KidsX and MassChallenge had a common goal: to get participating products in use with partner organizations as a “pilot.” Through participation in these accelerators, this goal has come to fruition for Augment Therapy, as they now have pilots planned at four hospitals. Lindsay is particularly excited about one pilot that tries to increase general mobility, encouraging kids who are inpatients to move outside of their therapy sessions. Staying mobile is essential for recovery, and this pilot utilizes Augment Therapy to keep kids moving even when their therapist isn’t there.
These pilot projects not only offer exposure for Augment Therapy, but they also generate data that allows its efficacy to be scientifically established. This data helps to improve the software. Perhaps most importantly, these pilots show how Augment Therapy can contribute to a hospital “ecosystem.”
For Lindsay Watson, CEO, KidsX and Mass Challenge have done exactly as advertised for Augment Therapy: they’ve accelerated the product’s position in the market. If we think of the healthcare industry as a “solar system,” these accelerators have, in Lindsay’s words, put Augment Therapy “in contact with people who revolve closest to the sun.” These interactions with movers and shakers in the pediatric digital healthcare world and beyond has been transformational for Augment Therapy. With this prime positioning has come better connections and customer relationships. Lindsay sees the accelerators as a critical part of the “vetting process” that any new health company goes through, and to that end, they have provided a stamp of approval that has helped to “level-up” the startup.
True to its name, an accelerator can set things in motion at a faster pace—this has certainly been the effect of KidsX and MassChallenge for Augment Therapy. Thanks to the product and business-model validation these accelerators provided, Augment Therapy is now rising even more rapidly in the digital-health universe, skyrocketing at a dizzying pace. Augment Therapy is indeed a “high-impact” startup. After participation in the accelerators, Lindsay and the co-founders of Augment Therapy now have an answer to those nagging questions: Yes, Augment Therapy is legitimate, and we have what it takes!