Summer Accelerator 2017

Push harder. Move faster.


Six promising startup teams from across the country spent 13 weeks here in Portland working hard to refine their products and improve their businesses.

Thanks to our partners, MaineHealth and Unum, these startups got out of the building and into the community, forging new relationships and learning from dozens of experts in their fields, channel partners and mentors– testing ideas and gaining traction. Because launching a viable new company is not a theoretical exercise.

You can’t accelerate your business unless your feet are on the ground.

Join Us for Demo Day
September 8th, 3:00 PM | Abromson Center, USM
Keynote Speaker: Dave Roux

Co-Founder & former CEO of SilverLake Partners

Register Here

Meet the Startups

cliexa™ — Mehmet  Kazgan, Founder & CEO

cliexa’s™ interactive mobile platform closes the feedback loop between chronic disease patients and their care teams by sending patient-reported outcomes to electronic health systems in real time, enabling providers to deliver value-based care which translates into significant cost savings. Currently piloting with Kaiser Permanente Rheumatology Group and Colorado Arthritis Center, Boomtown ’16.

With 20 years of software development experience, including most recently at Aetna healthcare, and an advisory board of physicians specializing in chronic diseases, Mehment is well-positioned to dramatically improve the lives of chronic disease patients.

In fact, an independent review of 936 rheumatology apps in a recent NIH article featured cliexa’s first beta version 2nd among top 19 published apps as the only app to deliver key insights on patient-reported outcomes.

Janus Choice — Darryl Palmer, Co-Founder & CTO 

Each year in the US, 32 million patients transition from the hospital to post-acute care settings. Often, this is a difficult and scary choice for patients and their families, which can cause delays in decision-making and less effective care outcomes. Janus Choice provides hospitals an Artificial Intelligence platform that facilitates highly ethical, unbiased, patient-centered matches, leading to improved outcomes for patients and saving hospitals millions of dollars per year.

Traction includes 12 hospitals and more than 40 post-acute care providers with over 40 hospitals in the queue to be on-boarded this year.

Following a successful pilot at The Cleveland Clinic, it was shown that 80% of patients who used Janus Choice made a decision within 15 minutes (as opposed to 3 days), and report 60% higher patient satisfaction.

Like his co-founder and CEO, Alexandra Goodwin, Darryl holds a PhD in astrophysics and was inspired to create a solution when his own parent struggled to find the right post-acute care facility after a long hospital stay.

Livzo — Nataliia Karpenko, Co-Founder & CEO 

Shockingly, 70% of dialysis patients will die within five years despite the existence of effective interventions, including diet. Livzo is a well-being and disease management solution focusing on the needs of dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease who are faced with the daunting task of managing their diets with care and precision.

Developed in close consultation with Dr. Hussain Gilani, a nephrology specialist, Jeffrey Jones, a 33-year dialysis survivor and dozens of user interviews, Livzo is building an engagement platform that makes patients’ lives easier.

A serial entrepreneur and non-profit executive with a degree in computer science and a masters in finance, Nataliia is launching Livzo in San Francisco with her co-founder, Bob Saffari, and a deep bench of medical experts.

SmartSharps — Brendan Riordan, Co-Founder & Director of Operations

Anesthesia needles still function the same way they have for over a hundred years, making tens of millions of procedures risker than they need to be. SmartSharps’ needle systems use micro sensors to keep better track of the tip of the needle after it disappears beneath the skin and detect incorrect needle position prior to injection and before any harm to the patient has taken place.

This real-time data capture and feedback to the practitioner improves patient outcomes and unlocks valuable clinical data to elevate the standard of care, while also reducing costs.

With a background in electrical engineering and precision manufacturing, Brendan leads a world-class team of physicians and engineers, including Co-founder and originator, Dr. Alexander Abess. One-on-one clinical focus groups with leading clinicians and anesthesia fellowship directors indicate strong interest in the device.

SpinDoc — Susan Thomas MD FAAFP, Founder & CEO 

SpinDoc uses AI to speed the filing of clinical documents for doctors directly into every patient’s EHR. Physicians and office staff using the EHR will be delighted to see that the mail and faxes they receive that day are automatically filed in the EHR so they can act on them immediately. Currently conducting pilot with first physician practice in partnership with NextGen EHR.

An expert in the adoption of health information technology in physician practices, Dr. Thomas is a practicing physician of 25 years, and a former Chief Medical Officer for GE Healthcare. She has personally lived and breathed the transformation and the struggles associated with the adoption of electronic health records.

She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and graduated from Yale University School of Medicine. She resides in Maine and frequents the island of Carriacou in Grenada where she provides medical care to this under-served population.

Welnys — Heather Waibel, Founder & CEO 

Workplace stress costs employers over $190B per year due to burnout and attrition. That’s why more than half of companies now have a wellness program, and the trend is growing. Even still, they experience low employee engagement and they don’t know how to track ROI. Welnys makes wellness easy for companies by handling all the logistics of on-site wellness programs. Paying clients include Paypal and Stanley Black and Decker.

Heather is an MBA who speaks German and has traveled to 36 countries. She started her first business at the age of 23– Fumee, a cigar bar and media company. She became a “cigar celebrity” with features in Cigar Snob, Cigar Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She also hosted the first ever cigar podcast boasting 20,000 subscribers in 2006- before podcasting was mainstream. After an exit, Heather spent half a decade as a technical project manager/scrum master at a Fortune 500 company working on projects for McDonalds, TiVo, MoneyGram and Disney. Now, she’s combining her corporate and entrepreneurial experiences with her 15 years of yoga practice to develop a platform that makes wellness easy for companies.

Why Venture Hall?

  • Connector.

    Killer Curriculum

    Developed in partnership with Village Capital, our training is based on the experience of hundreds of startups in accelerators around the world, yet flexible enough to meet you and your team where you are today.

  • Connector.

    Close Corporate Partnerships

    Innovation starts by understanding the world in which you operate. Working with partners like Unum and MaineHealth help get you out of the startup bubble and into reality.

  • Connector.

    World-Class Mentors

    Working side-by-side to push and encourage you, our mentors provide a mix of vital startup experience and subject matter expertise. Mentors can impact your startup in lasting ways, so we take these relationships seriously.

  • Connector.

    Peer-Selected Investment Model

    Also developed by Village Capital, peer selection crushes the old-boy-network investment model by focusing on how each team actually performs over time– better than the cursory glances most startups get from investors.

  • Connector.

    Zero Equity Taken

    Venture Hall is a nonprofit. We don’t manage a fund, so we don’t have LPs to keep happy. Your goals are our goals. Our job is to help you make the biggest impact possible. When that happens, funding options abound.


A different kind of startup experience.

  • There’s a reason we say Venture Hall “is the way startup life should be.” Several, actually. And they go beyond the particulars of the program.

    We know that building a startup may be the hardest thing you ever do. The last thing you need is to suffer through a manufactured pressure cooker, practicing your way to demo day. This is not a dance. You aren’t doing this to put on a show.

    You’re doing it because you believe you can make a difference in the world. You see a future that’s a little better than today and it’s your mission to make it happen. That’s our mission, too. We want to help you make great things. World-changing things.

  • We do that by committing to a small cohort limited to 10 teams, so everyone gets the attention they deserve. And by forming the cohort around a problem statement that creates more opportunities for shared learning and collaboration.

    We do that by creating a process that is as inclusive and founder-friendly as any accelerator can be. Peer-selection has been proven to increase the rate at which female founders, for example, get funded.

    And we do that by hosting it right here in Portland, Maine, where living is easy, yet Boston is just a 90 minute drive away. If you’re going to work as hard as you ever have in your life, (and you will) best do it in a city that makes life easy.

Our Partners Accelerate Your Progress

Enterprise-level partners are an important competitive advantage for any startup. In addition to domain expertise, working with large, influential partners like Unum and MaineHealth gives a startup advantages you can’t easily acquire on your own:

  • Access: More users and more use cases
  • Speed: Higher volume of testing and iteration
  • Insight: Deep regulatory and operational perspective
  • Scalability: Large channels for sales, marketing, integration
  • Credibility: To buyers and to investors
  • Joint Venturing: Potential for long-term relationships
  • Unum

    While Unum is the US’s #1 provider of individual and group disability insurance, they offer a full array of benefits solutions to meet the needs of both employers and their workers. Their award-winning absence management and vocational rehabilitation services help ease the disruption to both businesses and employers by enabling them to return to full capacity as soon as they are able.

    • $10B in Revenue
    • 79,800 Employer Customers
    • 27.6 Million People Covered
    • 1500 Hospital Customers
    • Dozens of Startup Partnerships
  • MaineHealthMaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation’s top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth members include medical, behavioral, rehabilitation and home healthcare providers.

    • 10 Hospitals
    • 16,000 Employees
    • 1300 Physicians
    • Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks
    • Tufts Medical School Partner

The Problem Statement
Healthcare is the largest private sector industry in the United States, impacting nearly every individual in some material way. Delivering effective care to patients requires the highest level of training, skill, dedication, teamwork and technology. Unfortunately, the job of providing healthcare creates significant burdens for those on the front lines.

Too often, members of the care team are limited by time, resource and information constraints, which make an already challenging job even harder to do. As a result, healthcare workers have some of the lowest job satisfaction ratings and highest rates of absenteeism and burnout of any industry, which translates directly into lower quality of care, and lower quality scores for healthcare providers.

We are looking for early stage companies that can provide solutions to improve how the healthcare industry supports the care team. We will consider all solutions that show strong potential to result in increased healthcare worker well-being, efficacy, engagement, and resilience.

Are you working on solutions to these challenges?
Or an adjacent solution in health and wellness?
If so, you might be a fit for our program.

Image Courtesy Michael Cannon