Applications open for 2020 cohort of Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator

Program advances health care companies by connecting them to health and entrepreneurship experts

January 15, 2020

Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University are partnering for the second year to advance medical device and health care technology companies through the Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator. The program is seeking applicants ahead of its Jan. 30 deadline. 

The MedTech Accelerator draws upon the combined strengths and resources of ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Mayo Clinic to deliver an unparalleled experience for companies in the health care and medical device fields.  Participants in the inaugural 2019 Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator attend a lecture at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale Campus. Participants in the inaugural 2019 Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator attend a lecture at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale Campus. Download Full Image

“ASU is pleased to partner with Mayo Clinic, a world-class innovator in health care, for this accelerator,” says Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of ASU E+I. “In leveraging our collective strength, we have the opportunity to exponentially and positively impact the incredible improved health outcomes these entrepreneurs are seeking to drive.” 

The accelerator is open to early-stage startups in the health care or medical device industry and growth- and late-stage startups looking at health care as an adjacent market. Companies must be based in the United States and have raised at least $500,000 in seed funding or be generating recurring revenue. 

Promising applicants will be chosen to proceed into a cohort scheduled for March 23 to April 3. Selected companies will be required to execute a participation agreement and pay $50,000 to participate in the program. The fee can be paid as cash or convertible note.  

The intensive, two-week cohort serves as an introduction period for companies, pairing them with customized resources from Mayo Clinic and ASU to specialize their products and services, license intellectual property, and sponsor research or clinical trials. 

“Our goal is really to translate idealism into action and deliver the health care solutions of tomorrow, today,” said Dr. Steven Lester, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who serves as the program’s chief medical officer. 

Through Mayo Clinic, companies have access to physicians, clinical researchers and business development executives, while ASU offers resources from bioinformatics, engineering and business. Both institutions offer opportunities for licensing and access to potential investors. 

“Participants are in a uniquely high-visibility position to find the right resources, meet the right people and accelerate their company’s futures,” said Rick Hall, senior director of health innovation at ASU's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the accelerator’s co-managing partner. 

Companies will leave the cohort with personalized business plans and an immersive understanding of the health care ecosystem, and they will embark on a yearlong partnership with their distinctive set of connections. 

Hall says the greatest value proposition for companies is access to Mayo Clinic and ASU subject-matter experts and the people leading health care innovation. 

“Last year, one company returned to us after a meeting and said that meeting alone was worth the $50,000 they spent to get in,” said Hall, who heads the Health Entrepreneurship Accelerator Lab. “And that was the first day.” 

Six companies participated in 2019 inaugural accelerator.  

Ken Mayer, the founder and CEO of SAFE Health, called the first MedTech Accelerator “an amazing experience.”  

“They really put together an amazing program that was tailored specifically to us,” he said. “It wasn’t this sort of abstracted program that they set up to be one size fits all.”  

Lukas-Karim Merhi, founder and CEO of BioInteractive Technologies, noted the benefit of talking to experts, mentors and physicians with entrepreneurial experience.  

“We’re very fortunate to have access to people like that who are invested in your success,” said Merhi.  

The 2019 program was the first accelerator experience for Securisyn Medical, a Colorado-based medical device startup. Co-founder, COO and CFO Elyse Blazevich lauded the program for its unparalleled access to Mayo Clinic and ASU assets.   

Some companies from last year’s program were even able to increase their initial investment many times over, though the MedTech Accelerator’s main purpose is to position companies to positively impact health care with the combined resources of Mayo Clinic and ASU.  

“Ultimately we aim to make health care more convenient and accessible for people, and it’s through these partnerships that we're able to deliver those next-generation platforms and solutions for health care,” said Lester.  

Learn more about the Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator and how to apply. 

The MedTech Accelerator is supported by the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care. The alliance is developing comprehensive improvements in the science of health care delivery and practice, all toward one goal: continually advancing patient care. Together, the recognized world leader in patient care, education and research, and the nation's No. 1-ranked university for innovation are combining expertise from every corner of health care — doctors to bioengineers to business experts — for an adaptive approach to preparing the next generation of health care pioneers and practitioners in our communities. 

Pete Zrioka

Assistant director of content strategy, Knowledge Enterprise


ASU student pursues her passion for global politics in DC

January 15, 2020

As the fall semester came to a close, many Arizona State University students spent their time toiling away on essays, cramming for exams, and consuming enough caffeine to get them through the final days of their classes. But for Maya Perez, a junior double-majoring in political science and global studies, these past couple of weeks could not have been more different.

“I am so grateful to be doing something I love,” said Perez, “There is so much to gain from being exposed to an environment like D.C.” Download Full Image

Perez was a member of the School of Politics and Global Studies’ Policy Design Studio and Internship Program through the McCain Institute. Essentially, for one semester, Perez and the rest of her cohort interned in our nation’s capital while taking a weekly class for 12 upper division credits. Given her interests and ambitions, it was only a matter of time before Perez ended up in a place like Washington, D.C.

Perez became interested in politics even before she was a student at ASU. During the 2016 presidential election, she found herself fascinated by America’s political process and knew she wanted to be a part of it. Even though she had yet to familiarize herself with many of the topics being debated, she was ready and eager to learn.

“There were so many issues I wanted to know more about and do something about. That’s where I first became interested in political science,” Perez explained.

Yet in a field like political science, there are so many different issues to learn. Some students look at the government’s effects on the economy, some examine its role in social issues, and some study its very structure. Perez, however, identified her passion once she took Professor Okechukwu Iheduru’s “African Politics and Society” class.

“As an American, I had this ingrained idea in my head about what Africa was like,” Perez admitted. “But Dr. Iheduru completely uprooted it in this class.”

That semester, Perez not only learned about the rich history and culture that make Africa such a unique continent, but the lasting legacies of slavery and colonization and all of their adverse effects on the continent. Each of Iheduru’s lectures illustrated Europe’s and the United States’ complicated relationship with Africa, while guiding students like Perez to learn about how America is trying to mitigate some of the problems that it helped create. This eye-opening course proved to be a life-changing experience for Perez, who left with an informed perspective and a desire to learn even more.

“Rather than approaching our country’s relationship with Africa as a question of how to help them become just like Europe or America, we learned how we can provide Africa with the resources it needs to achieve its full potential, on its own terms,” Perez said.

Though classes like Iheduru’s provided Perez with a wealth of valuable information and sparked her interest in Africa, she wanted to get outside the classroom to apply all that she had learned. That is where the McCain Institute came in. On top of a weekly class that simulated what it is like to work in an American embassy, Perez spent the semester interning with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association focusing on strengthening commercial relationships between the United States and the African continent.

Perez’s internship with the CCA gave her the unique opportunity to make important contributions to the organization’s work. Her supervisors entrusted her with a variety of responsibilities, ranging from research to attending congressional hearings, where she could observe African heads of state interacting with American legislators. Perez’s work in this fast-paced environment also sharpened her communication skills, work ethic and professional network.

“In D.C., it is really easy to get stuck in an internship where you might just sit around and be someone’s personal assistant or get stuck somewhere where they don’t take you seriously,” Perez said, “But the CCA made me feel included and valued. I am so appreciative that my mentors wanted me to make the most out of my time here.”

After returning from Washington, Perez will continue her studies in foreign affairs and its effects on Africa. Even though she will have more than a year left in her undergraduate studies, Perez is already thinking about graduate schools and how she can shape her career.

“Interning in D.C. and participating in the McCain Policy Design Studio has made me a uniquely special candidate for whatever I apply to after graduation. This experience was totally worth it,” Perez said. “It taught me so many things not only about political culture, professional environments, but also about myself and my goals for the future.

Student Assistant for Recruiting and Marketing, School of Politics and Global Studies