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Flint, Michigan

XLerateHealth expanded to Flint, Michigan in 2018 because of its supportive environment for startup businesses and entrepreneurs and rich healthcare ecosystem. Once a cradle for the birth of the automobile industry and a 20th Century industrial powerhouse, Flint is rapidly evolving to become the center of an exciting 21st Century startup ecosystem.

Organizations are willing to work side-by-side with innovators, and there is support from local government and from the VC and angel investor ecosystem, as well as a wealth of talent and resources from local universities, including The University of Michigan.

Important Dates

Bootcamp Dates: July 2024 – September 2024

Demo Day: September 26, 2024

Location: Virtual via Zoom

Apply Now here!


Niki Kennedy_1

Niki Kennedy

Dr. Niki Kennedy is a vascular surgeon with a background in both engineering and business. She began her career as an electrical engineer, graduating from Lawrence Technological University in 1995 with her BS. She then went on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for graduate work where she obtained Masters degrees in both electrical and biomedical engineering. Dr. Kennedy then made the jump into the clinical world, completing her MD at Wayne State University in 2003. From there, she went on to complete her general surgery residency at St. John Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit as well as her vascular surgery fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital. She maintains active board certifications in both fields.

Raj Riswadkar

Raj is an angel investor, a Fortune 50 career professional and is deeply involved in start-up mentoring. He has 20 plus years of experience in growing biotech, pharma, med tech, genomics and healthcare businesses for Express Scripts, Price Waterhouse, Accenture, KV Pharmaceuticals, other S&P 500 companies and startups. He has helped many businesses increase profits significantly, has completed over $1B M&A deals and co-founded 5+ startups. He has been involved with 15+ Detroit based start-ups as an advisor, investor, coach or mentor and sits on the advisory board of 2 life science companies. In addition to coaching XLerateHealth startups, Raj also works with startups at Centrepolis working with small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs. Currently, he is involved in Eiconica, N-gaje and in K-Wav as a Senior Advisor. Raj received a B.E. from the University of Bombay, an M.S. from the Univ. of Toledo, and an MBA from Cornell University.

Diane Bouis

As the Innovation Program Manager at the Office of Tech Transfer Venture Accelerator, Diane’s role is to bridge the gap between academic science and entrepreneurship, working closely with faculty founders, industry mentors and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem inside and outside the university to identify and leverage the resources for startups to thrive. Prior to this role she practiced and taught Lean Startup principles and intrapreneurship in Fortune 1-50 companies as an innovation consultant with the Inovo Group. In her spare time Diane co-founded and -ran a local non-profit healthcare hackathon, Ann Arbor Health Hacks (A2H2), an experience that developed her knowledge and passion for the Southeast Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem. Diane has lived and worked on three continents, speaks six languages, holds a PhD in Oncology from the University of Groningen, Netherlands and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Divya Patil

Divya Patil

Divya conducts and manages a Market Discovery Challenge to assist clients in clarifying value proposition, defining go-to-market strategy, determining product-market fit, and understanding the key technology adoption dynamics. Deliverables include identifying market applications and customer segments as well as uncovering key industry trends. Divya’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, early stage inventors, university technology transfer offices amongst others. She organizes and conducts primary interviews with subject matter experts to gain key insights, manages the online community of Innovators-In-Residence and guides them for conducting secondary research.

Michelle Larkin

Michelle is the Director of Commercialization Programs at University of Michigan Medical School and has 9 years of diverse experience in the medical device and biotech industries. Prior to joining the University of Michigan Medical School, Michele was the Projects Manager for the U-M Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program and a Biomedical Engineer for the U-M Pediatric Device Consortium (M-PED). In these roles, she facilitated commercialization grant funding projects and provided mentorship in the technology planning and development process with U-M inventors, as well as outside companies. Michelle also brings experience from working for two Ann Arbor-based start-up companies spun out of U-M technologies, Tissue Regeneration Systems and OcuSciences. Currently she serves as the MTRAC for Life Sciences Hub Program Director through Fast Forward Medical Innovation at the University of Michigan Medical School. Michelle is a U-M graduate, having received her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2010 and her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2011.

Jesse Wolff

Jesse is the President of Clear Sky Advisors and is working with the Northern Michigan Angels to launch the Northern Michigan Seed Capital Fund, a side-car fund investing early stage capital in scalable startup companies. Prior to Clear Sky, Jesse launched a $20m health sector seed fund for the $2.5B Colorado Health Foundation along with investing in the early growth of Colorado’s digital health ecosystem including: launching a $150k health innovation prize; investing in Catalyst HTI, a unique 180,000 sf health innovation campus in Denver. Jesse earned a BA in International Business from Eckerd College and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He is also a Livingston Fellow.

Mary Auge

A business development leader with 15 years of life science technology commercialization experience and a passion for identifying and advancing innovative new product opportunities to improve patient care. Mary has extensive experience with the evaluation of life science technology, intellectual property, commercial viability, identifying target companies, marketing, and building relationships with external and internal stakeholders. This extensive experience come from being a Sr. Business Development Manager at Partners HealthCare Systems (Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital – teaching hospitals for Harvard Medical School) in Boston, MA. Recently, she was the Director of Research and Planning at Genesys Health System in Grand Blanc, MI in charge of vetting and planning the development of a regionally based Health Technology Innovation Institute and Science Park. Mary enjoys leading cross-functional teams to ensure a successful commercialization.

Sebastian Alvim

Prior to stepping into the role of Managing Director, Sebastian joined the XLH team in Flint as Program Director and was instrumental in launching XLH’s 2nd location in Flint — which included collaborating with multiple healthcare stakeholders and investors in the region, building out and enhancing the programming, and creating technology tools that have improved the efficiencies and effectiveness of running the accelerator.   Sebastian has extensive experience with evaluation of business strategy, commercial viability, and market analysis. He has advised 50+ healthcare startup companies successfully applying Lean Startup Methodology to help them develop, grow, and scale up their businesses.   Sebastian also serves as a startup judge for the Michigan startup competition Invest360.  Prior to XLH, he was a Co-founder of MyNurse, a home healthcare marketplace for caregivers and patients. Sebastian began his career at a British consultancy multinational firm, where he was responsible for human resource operations and strategic corporate advisory work (including change management, restructuring, and organizational assessment).  

Jackie Willmot

Jackie has 30+ years of experience in the healthcare industry including 13 years as a clinician and 15 years as an executive at Humana in the Innovation Center including 3 years working for a Humana Startup in the United Kingdom. Since leaving Humana in 2009 Jackie was trained by Steve Blank in his ‘Lean Launchpad Educators Class’ at Stanford University, has worked with 300+ startups, and serves as a business coach in a variety of capacities. She was a founding member and on the Board of Directors of the Network for Entrepreneurial Women and has worked with healthcare startups via the LaunchIt program where she works closely with Coulter, ExCITE, and I-Corps funded companies. Jackie is a Principal Investigator (PI) on an NIH funded initiative to create the XLeratorNetwork in the Southeast IDeA States and also sits on the External Review Board (ERB) for the NIH funded KYNETIC program, the University of Kentucky’s External Advisory Committee (EAC) for the NIH funded CCTS program, and the Review Panel for the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust’s BioTech Accelerator Program “EnTRUST”. She is a Master’s prepared Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and holds an MBA from the University of Louisville’s entrepreneurship program, a Master’s of Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Baccalaureate Nursing degree from Villa Maria College.

Bob Saunders

Bob is a General Partner of OCA Ventures (Chicago), a Founding Partner of Saunders Murdoch and Associates (Louisville/Boston), and is an active investor in many healthcare startups. Bob was a Managing Director and General Partner at Chrysalis Ventures from 1997 to 2009. Bob was a founding board member of MetaCyte Business Lab, the University of Louisville’s life science incubator. Over the last 30 years, he has invested in several dozen startup companies and has mentored 100+ startups. Bob received a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and an M.A. from Harvard University. He was both a Fulbright Scholar and a Marshall Scholar.