In their first batch, Atlanta-based neuroscience accelerator NeuroLaunch mentored six companies, which have now raised more than $4 million collectively. “We hit our milestones,” says Jordan Amadio, the co-founder of NeuroLaunch and a fourth year neurosurgery resident at Emory University School of Medicine. “We attracted the right kind of energy, mentors and investors.”
Now, Amadio plans to build on this momentum by launching a three-city NeuroLaunch model in Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco. Why these cities? They’re the hot beds of neuroscience and life science innovation, Amadio says.
“The NeuroLaunch expansion into Boston reflects the quality and quantity of neuro-innovation taking place in Massachusetts,” says Arshya Vahabzadeh, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist at MGH and advocate for NeuroLaunch. “New England companies chosen to enter the world’s only neuroscience accelerator will now have a hub to connect and collaborate in, and be closer than ever to our Harvard and MIT trained NeuroLaunch mentors,” he says.
The expansion will initially look like week-long residencies in Boston and the Bay area for the next batch of NeuroLaunch companies (Interested in joining them? Apply before April 30, 2015). “It’ll be a little bit of a road show,” Amadio says. He hopes to introduce NeuroLaunch’s programming to the Boston community, bringing local investors and mentors to each company, and starting a conversation around neuroscience innovation in Boston.
“We’re a bunch of neuro nerds,” Amadio says, “and that’s very attractive to people. There’s a hunger for a startup accelerator process that’s specifically geared toward neuroscience, and we speak the same language as those folks. We instantly get it. That’s very powerful.”
NeuroLaunch’s co-working space and offices are currently headquartered in Atlanta and will likely remain there for the time being. But Amadio says that the current model may grow to make room for remote work, allowing international companies to participate in the accelerator experience as well. Future NeuroLaunch companies will likely come to Atlanta several times during the program, but they will also be able to work mostly from their founding locations. Eventually, Amadio also hopes to create home bases in Boston and San Francisco, too – he mentions using TechStars as a model for expansion. NeuroLaunch will be looking for community builders, scientists, investors and innovators in each city to help them build slowly in the coming year.
“The field of neuroscience attracts people who are passionate,” Amadio says. “I also think that the pace of innovation in neuroscience is accelerating. In the next few years, we’re finally going to understand how the brain works – how to solve problems more effectively, and how to be inspired by the brain’s design. There is a huge amount of energy around this.”
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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