The Roux Institute Welcomes 10 New Health Tech Startups to Maine

The Roux Institute’s Future of Healthcare Founder Residency welcomed its second cohort of health tech innovators at an official kickoff event on Thursday, April 25th.

The Roux Institute at Northeastern University hosts a variety of entrepreneurship programs dedicated to advancing Maine’s industry and economy. Among them is the Future of Healthcare Founder Residency, a specialized program focusing on healthcare innovations. Developed in collaboration with Northern Light Health and MaineHealth, startups participating in the program will receive valuable insights and guidance from these industry leaders as they refine their innovations. Additionally, the Maine Venture Fund, another key investor, offers expertise in fundraising and investor relations.

At the kickoff event, representatives from each major partner articulated their motivations for engaging with the program.

Hugh Jones, chief strategy officer of Northern Light Health, remarked at how important it is that the program brings in fresh perspective and enthusiasm to an industry that’s known to have no shortage of challenges. These startups “infuse new energy into the pursuit of improving healthcare or, as we like to say, making healthcare work for you,” Jones said.

Joe Powers, the managing director of Maine Venture Fund, said it’s the close partnership with healthcare systems that sets this program apart from other early-stage accelerators. “It’s really unique for companies at this stage to be able to work in a clinical setting, validating assumptions,” Powers said. “From an investor’s standpoint, that’s a big ‘de-risking lever.’”

Joe Powers, the managing director of Maine Venture Fund, speaks to the crowd gathered at the Roux Institute, Northeastern University's Portland campus.

Susan Ahern, the vice president of innovation at MaineHealth, closed out remarks from the program partners. MaineHealth’s decision to invest in the program was “simple,” she said. “It really supports and aligns with our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. That’s pretty awesome.”

Ahern said she and her colleagues conducted a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation of how many hours MaineHealth leadership, clinicians, and business administrators had spent with the first cohort of the Future of Healthcare Founder Residency over the past year. They estimated about 500 total hours had been dedicated to helping accelerate the startups. “We’re excited about this,” Ahern said. “It’s remarkable the amount of time colleagues have given in support of this program.”

Along with access to healthcare providers, the program also assigns each startup an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIRs),” who will help guide the founders through the process of setting up and growing a successful healthcare business. EIRs for this year’s cohort include:

Jennifer Monti, a cardiologist and research at Meta; Phil Licari, part-time faculty member at Babson College and Olin Graduate College of Business and ret. vice president of operations at Mass General Brigham Innovation; Jim Strickland, senior director of research partnerships & translation at the Roux Institute at Northeastern University and former MDI biological labs director; Todd Haedrich, CEO at Oxehealth; and Jeff Chu, managing partner at Features Capital and a former serial medtech founder and entrepreneur.

These ten startups will spend the next several months participating in tailored programming that will help them develop their go-to-market strategy. They’ll also be able to collaborate with Northeastern faculty, researchers, legal fellows, and graduate students who will assist in market research, data analysis, graphic design, AI solutions, and more.

The Future of Healthcare 2024 cohort, whose founders came to Maine from all over the U.S. and Canada to pursue their groundbreaking healthcare ideas, are:

  • Coredio (Mountain View, CA): Providing a SaaS platform and algorithms for heart failure detection and management.
  • EmpoweRx Inc. (Nashville, TN): Powering the future of healthcare staffing with entrepreneurship and technology.
  • Health for Mankind Company (Portland, ME): Developing Diabimetrics, an AI-powered, cost-effective diabetes management tool tailored for minorities, blending technology and culture for better health.
  • HUB Healthcare (Raleigh, NC): Connecting everyone so health teams can deliver better care, faster.
  • Legacy (San Diego, CA): Automating advance care planning for better patient outcomes.
  • Metis Health Technology (Silver Spring, MD): Advancing healthcare alignment for better outcomes, beginning with foundational measurement.
  • Novobeing (Wakefield, MA): Leveraging virtual and mixed reality technologies to reduce stress and anxiety with clinically validated interventions and interactive environments.
  • OPTT Health (New York, NY): Leveraging AI to support mental health care teams in delivering personalized, data-driven, and evidence-based care to patients.
  • Parrots Medical Assistive AI (Boston, MA): Leveraging advanced AI and machine learning technologies to develop an intuitive platform that enhances communication and cognitive support for individuals with neurological disorders.
  • Valhalla Healthcare (Houston, TX): Streamlining medical office operations with an AI-powered infrastructure.

Emily Sylvestor (L), CEO and co-founder of Mother of Fact, and Natalia Hall (R), the associate VP of Women's Health and Pallative Care Service Lines at Northern Light Health

The kickoff event was led by Elena Brondolo, the director of the residency, and Allyson Goida, the senior program manager.

“We’ve come up with this innovation blueprint for our program that we think this is the way forward in this industry,” Brondolo said. “We want to create learning opportunities for our founders so that they are the smartest founders on the market. We want to grow the intellectual capital within our ecosystem.”

This is the Future of Healthcare Founder Residency’s second cohort since its inception in 2023. Brondolo and Goida dedicated time at the 2024 kickoff event to celebrate the success of their inaugural cohort, including a partnership between program startup Mother of Fact and Northern Light Health. The two embarked on a pilot program that connects struggling new moms and babies to Mother of Fact’s platform, which provides tailored, culturally relevant nutrition guidance from highly experienced dieticians.

This initial pilot was made possible through the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) grant which was awarded to MaineHealth. The PI for this grant, Dora Anne Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer, MaineHealth and the Program Manager for the grant, Anna Gilbert were instrumental in making the connection between Emily and Natalia Hall, the associate VP of Women’s Health and Pallative Care Service Lines at Northern Light Health.

The program has already helped 64 new mothers and babies, and Northern Light is looking to make the program a permanent feature in the healthcare system, eventually hoping to expand it statewide.

“What’s special about this program is our access to this full ecosystem of healthcare experts,” says Goida. “When you’re a part of the Future of Healthcare Founder Residency, you get to tap into an expansive network of providers, researchers, mentors, investors, and more.”