Flint-Based Early-Stage Startup Accelerator XLerate Health Prepares To Kick Off This Week

By Amit Chowdhry ● Updated August 6, 2019
  • The first XLH Flint cohort will begin a 12-week boot camp program will be kicking off this coming week

With an economic downturn lasting several decades and the water crisis that has been happening over the last few years, local entrepreneurs have a chip on their shoulder. And government officials are proactively fostering the startup community. Several innovation hubs have also been established in the area. And XLerate Health (XLH) — a new startup accelerator program based out of Flint, Michigan — is officially kicking off this coming week.

This coming week, the first XLH Flint cohort will begin a 12-week boot camp program starting with a free launch party on July 9th between 5 PM and 7 PM at its location in the Ferris Wheel building.

Since 2013, XLH worked more than 60 startups and 88% of them are still operational today. And to date, the XLH boot camp/intersession portfolio companies have collectively raised $35 million and created over 250 jobs. Plus XLH affiliate companies have raised more than $500 million. Plus XLH recently received the National Institute of Health’s STTR award for creating a Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub in the Southeast IDeA States (AR, MI, LA, KY, WV) and Puerto Rico — which includes 24 universities thus expanding the organization’s network of resources.

XLH CEO Jackie Willmot told Xconomy that the XLH Flint program was funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 100k Ideas. The XLH Flint program was spearheaded by Skypoint Ventures CEO and 100k Ideas co-founder Phil Hagerman — who made significant investments into Flint for building an innovation economy.

XLH Louisville started out in Louisville, Kentucky based back in 2013 and it was not long until startups traveled to Flint to set up pilots as it was an area that was ripe for healthcare innovation due to its strong hospital systems.

XLH opened its first office in Michigan on January 1st and started seeking participants for the program. And as part of the boot camp, XLH connects startups with clinical, academic, and industry representatives for helping entrepreneurs work through the aspects of commercialization such as finding customers and developing strategies such as obtaining reimbursement from payers, conducting pilots, and raising funding.

XLH receives a 2% equity stake in the startups that participate in the cohorts in exchange for the services it provides. The Flint startups will also have an opportunity to make a pitch to investors at a demo day on September 25th.

“Flint has a lot of health challenges, and our mission is to help early-stage startups but with a keen focus on understanding populations,” explained Willmot via Xconomy. “We’re always looking for companies that serve these populations and keep an eye on diversity.”

Interestingly, the Flint cohort received an “overwhelming response” from female entrepreneurs. And nearly half of the inaugural cohort comprises of startups that are led by women.

XLH also distinguishes itself from other accelerators by working with participating companies after graduating to facilitate connections and help them get non-dilutive funding such as government grants so that the founders do not have to give up any ownership in their companies. XLH themselves received a grant from the National Institutes of Health last year to set up startup accelerators in underserved areas in the Midwest and Southeast.