U of M Revamps ‘Discovery Launchpad’ Incubator Program
The University of Minnesota this week announced that it’s opening up its “Discovery Launchpad” incubator program to startups across the state.
Until now, the program was reserved only for startups commercializing technology based on U of M research. But with support from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the U is broadening the program’s eligibility to any startup based in Minnesota. The university first launched the program in early 2019.
Now known as “Discovery Launchpad MN,” the program provides one-on-one coaching and business development tips for startups. Advisers also help startups with marketing and sales plans. Depending on a startup’s needs, the program lasts between eight and 10 weeks.
“We’re looking at it as a new program because of its separate audience, but you could also consider it an expansion of the original program,” university spokesman Kevin Coss said in an email.
The U is revamping the program with assistance from DEED’s “Launch Minnesota” program, which has been doling out millions of dollars to startups throughout the state.
“From the start, Launch Minnesota set out to connect, convene, and catalyze resources to help innovators thrive and grow Minnesota’s innovation ecosystem,” said Neela Mollgaard, executive director for Launch Minnesota, in a news release. “We believe it’s important to leverage what is working well, like the Venture Center, to address gaps faced by startups. This new partnership provides entrepreneurs across the state with a unique opportunity to benefit from the acumen of experienced business executives to accelerate new ventures.”
Like other state-sponsored startup initiatives, Discovery Launchpad MN prioritizes companies led by women and people of color. The program also gives priority to companies based in Greater Minnesota. The first five companies in the revamped program are all based in the Twin Cities, though.
There are some limitations for participation in the program. For one, startups need to have received a Launch Minnesota “Innovation Grant” to participate. They’ll also need to have received a Launch Minnesota Innovation Grant and earned a certificate through the U’s “Venture Builders Value Proposition” program, or an equivalent course.
The first five startups in the new program are:
- Ambient Intelligence, a firm that’s building a cloud-based patient health monitoring device for use in long-term care facilities;
- Annum, which is developing a “master calendar application” to help marketers;
- CoraVie Medical, which is developing a continuous blood pressure device that works beneath the skin;
- InControl Health, a startup that’s developing a portable, wearable cooling device to prevent hair loss for patients in chemotherapy treatment; and
- Virtue Analytics, a company building software that helps prospective college students compare financial aid packages at different schools.