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3 local startups among 10 selected for Science Center's capital readiness program

From Philadelphia Business Journal

The University City Science Center has picked 10 healthcare technology startups from across the country — including three based in the Philadelphia region — for the second cohort of its "Capital Readiness" program.

The Science Center received 46 applications representing 11 states and three countries for the one-week program designed for companies looking to raise their first institutional round of financing.

The local participants are Philadelphia companies AB Fertility and Trace Orthopedics, and BioCurie of Wilmington.

Companies selected for the program receive insights from due diligence partners, exposure to stress test scenarios and mock board meetings, one-on-one feedback sessions with investors, and help finalizing their deal rooms over the course of five days.

“This program is critical to help startups navigate fundraising in the current economic climate,” said Heath Naquin, the Science Center's vice president of government and capital engagement.

Naquin said the program combines the Science Center's expertise with local and national experts and investors to help startups become "investor ready.”

The local companies selected for the program are involved in a variety of therapeutic areas.

AB Fertitlity, led by founder Yunna Tarasenko, is commercializing advanced products for reproductive medicine. Trace Orthopedics, led by CEO Adam Greenspan, is developing products for tendon attachment — with an early focus on repairing partial tears in an outpatient setting. BioCurie, led by CEO Irene Rombel, is developing an AI software platform designed to improve cell and gene therapy production and make the process faster and less expensive.

Two Pittsburgh startups also were selected: and Rubitection. is using artificial intelligence to create unique virtual communities that inspire powerful support groups among women while proactively connecting them with vital social resources before, during and after pregnancy. Rubitection is developing an artificial intelligence-enabled assessment and care management platform for chronic wounds and dermatological conditions to improve early detection, assessment, and management for care providers and patients.

Five of the companies in the cohort are from Texas:

  • EmpiricaLab of Austin, which developed a training and collaboration platform to help healthcare teams accelerate the use of digital health technology.
  • MTDS of Wolfforth, which has created fully automated kiosks capable of dispensing laboratory tests and a mobile app for telehealth visits and prescriptive services.
  • Prana Thoracic of Houston, which is developing a minimally invasive, lung-sparing device for early intervention of suspicious pulmonary nodules.
  • Steradian Technologies of Houston, which is developing the RUMI – a low breath-based, 30-second infectious disease diagnostic.
  • Taurus Vascular of Houston, which is developing a minimally invasive catheter for use in the treatment of aortic aneurysm.

Investors-in-residence for the June cohort include Jessica Karr of Coyote Ventures, Chimene Liburd of Avestria Ventures, Lebone Moses of Chisara Ventures, Dan Sands of Factor 7 Medical, and Jason Torres of Sana Capital.

“In today’s climate, investors are best served by getting to know the entrepreneurs, their businesses and the market circumstances they are facing,” said Lebone C. Moses, founder and CEO of Chisara Ventures. “We know it’s not easy to get access to investors and find the right strategic advisors. The Science Center is balancing the playing field for startups, by leveraging experienced investors and advisors to prepare entrepreneurs for the scrutiny of raising institutional capital. The Capital Readiness Program helps startups strengthen their business case to receive investment at a time when investors have become more risk averse.”

The Science Center partnered with Scale Health to help expand the reach of the program across the country. The one-week program will be held June 12 to June 16. The center's initial Capital Readiness program that involved eight companies was held in February.

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