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:  Jul 15 – Sep 23, 2021

DemoDay: September 22, 2021

Location: Virtual via Zoom


Applications for 2022 will open in January  


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.

Ashok Seetharam

Ashok is the co-founder and COO of PAXAFE, an AI enabled supply chain technology startup that provides end-to-end real time visibility for B2B shipments. Prior to PAXAFE he co-founded two healthcare startups and served as it’s CTO for 4+ years. Ashok has experience in user-centric design, hardware/software product development, CAD/CAM, 3D printing, regulatory and supply chain and holds several patents in the healthcare space. He currently serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Economic Growth Institute, University of Michigan and also as a mentor and coach at gener8tor and XLerateHealth accelerator programs.

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

Sebastian is the Program Director for XLerateHealth Flint and is also the COO of MyNurse, a digital marketplace that enables patients and families to easily find and select in-home health care professionals in real time. In 2018, MyNurse was named the most innovative caregiving solution by Accelerate Michigan. Sebastian began his career at a British consultancy multinational, he became knowledgeable about all areas of human resources operations and strategic corporate advisory, 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 as well as 2+ years working for a Humana Startup in the United Kingdom. Since leaving Humana in 2009 Jackie has worked with 100+ startups. Jackie was trained by Steve Blank in his ‘Lean Launchpad Educators Class’ at Stanford University 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 works with healthcare startups via the LaunchIT program where she works closely with Coulter, ExCITE, and I-Corps funded companies. 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.

Eugene Krentsel

Prior to joining XLerateHealth, Dr. Krentsel served as Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville. He was responsible for the full range of activities in the discovery-innovation-translation-commercialization spectrum at UofL, including working with external groups in the public and private sectors to promote commercialization of university technologies and advancing industry engagement and entrepreneurship. Prior to being recruited to UofL in 2013, he served as Assistant Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships at Binghamton University in New York, where he helped develop and protect faculty intellectual property, paired researchers’ expertise with pressing market needs, and offered guidance to faculty and students interested in starting their own business. Eugene is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee on SBIR.