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Mayo Clinic partners with start-up accelerator

ROCHESTER — A Colorado-based investment firm and business “start-up accelerator” is launching a new program to bring entrepreneurs in to work with Mayo Clinic and possibly develop new companies.

Techstars, which has worked on educational programs at the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, is launching a new program called Techstars++. It will bring up to four health-care start-ups from Techstars’ many business bootcamps to work onsite in Rochester for two weeks, with an option to extend that for up to four more weeks.

Mayo Clinic Ventures Chair Jim Rogers explains the entrepreneurs will have access to Mayo Clinic physicians and clinical researchers to see if they can improve processes “to improve patient care” and develop business opportunities. The start-ups will receive “hands-on mentorship and business development opportunities from the corporation’s network of executives, partners and community members,” according to a release from Techstars.

“Techstars is a pretty remarkable organization. It’s one of the top business accelerator companies out there,” said Rogers. “Rochester is one of the smaller towns where they are doing this, which I think is great. It’s one more additional building block to improving Rochester’s economy.”

This new program was developed by Mayo Clinic Treasury Services and Mayo Clinic Ventures in conjunction with Techstars. A full-time program director, employed by Techstars, will be based at the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center.

“It’s a win-win,” said Techstars Managing Partner David Cohen. “Mayo gains insight from some of the most innovative companies in health care, while those companies are exposed to top medical professionals who are making a real impact on the health care industry.”

Mayo Clinic is the first organization to participate in the new Techstars++ program.

Rogers said they hope to launch Techstars++ “as soon as possible.”

It will begin once a program director is in place and that probably will happen in early 2015.

“We are looking to attack some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today,” he said. “Techstars’ extensive network and business expertise, coupled with Mayo’s clinical expertise, holds the potential to be a very potent partnership.”