Kansas City just added another tech-related feather to its cap: On Tuesday, Sprint and Techstars announced the launch of a new mobile health-focused startup accelerator based in the Midwestern city.
Thanks in large part to the introduction of Google Fiber, the area has become an increasingly appealing destination for startups. But, as the city is also home to tech companies like Sprint and Garmin, as well as health technology giant Cerner and several life sciences companies, the backers of the new program say Kansas City is an ideal location for entrepreneurs interested in mobile health.
Kevin McGinnis, a vice president of development for Sprint, said the accelerator will be looking for companies directed at “the full gamut of mobile health opportunities.”
“You have a series of apps starting to emerge that are helping patients monitor and take care of themselves, quantified self apps that use the mobile phone to track activities and you have enterprise apps that are starting to be created for mobile,” he said. “In the mobile health category, we’re not excluding anybody.”
In the past few years, Sprint has launched a few mobile health-related products, including secure, HIPAA-compliant text messaging services and at-home remote monitors for patients. As more carriers like Verizon and AT&T launch efforts in mobile health, this accelerator gives Sprint access to potentially new technology while getting a first look at applications that could complement its existing products.
As with other Techstars and ‘Techstars-powered’ accelerators, the Sprint-supported program will last for three months and include 10 companies could receive up to $120,000.
The entrepreneurial community in Kansas City may not be as developed as those in New York, Boston or other parts of the country. But Techstars’ managing director Dylan Boyd said startups in the program will gain access and mentorship from local executives, entrepreneurs and investors, as well as Techstars mentors in other cities who will fly in to meet with companies. McGinnis said the hope is that companies not only move to Kansas City for the accelerator, but consider putting down some roots as well.