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(Video) Lighthouse Labs and Activation Capital Accelerate Healthcare Initiatives

Lighthouse Labs and Activation Capital could easily be called one of the most influential startup accelerator partnerships. We recently sat down with Erin Powell, the new Executive Director at Lighthouse Labs and Carrie Roth, COO, Activation Capital, to learn about their powerful initiatives that are making a huge difference in our region, more recently in the healthcare space.

Powell, starting her new position in the midst of the COVID pandemic, found she had to quickly move programs like the Lighthouse University Initiative online. “We have partnered with Go Virginia, Activation Capital, and you [Fahrenheit Advisors] on this initiative. So, we’re really looking forward to launching our first ever virtual program. And then after that, we’ll be quickly pivoting to our fall program, which is going to start August 24. Also in partnership with Activation Capital, the Health Innovation Consortium, and VCU Health. That program will be our typical accelerator program that will last 12 weeks,” she explains. Adding, “And as long as we are able to be safe and sound, we look forward to being able to have most, if not all of that programming offered in person.”

“It is a Time to Take The Opportunity to Really Push….”

Asked about the new programs and what’s new since the COVID era with Activation Capital, Carrie Roth says, “During this time with the pandemic, when COVID came around, we had already, through the Ecosystem Direct Investment Fund and our additional $1 million investment into Lighthouse Labs, had required for the next two years to at least one Cohort have a health-related focus. And we thought it was really important since life sciences is such a huge sector in not only the Richmond region, but the Commonwealth at large that we wanted that focus. And so now, with the recent disruption that we’ve had here it is a time to take the opportunity to really push and see what we need to do to create healthier human outcomes and really help improve the quality of life.”

She adds, “In addition through the Health Innovation Consortium, we have been implementing some direct grants on very small, early-stage ideas and prototypes. For example, an N95 contamination project (or decontamination project) where they took a simple idea and built a new trellis system. And now, not only has that been deployed at VCU Health, but it’s been deployed at other health systems across the Commonwealth and a couple of other states. So, really trying to give those folks who are on the front line, seeing the problems who have identified solutions and opportunity to quickly deploy some funds and try them out. And so far we’ve had really great success.”

Lighthouse Labs Focuses on Healthcare Companies During for Fall Industry Agnostic Cohort

Powell reports that the Industry Agnostic Cohort this fall will have a unique focus. “Lighthouse has always looked for high-growth technology companies because we feel like those are the segments that our community and our ecosystem can really help support. So now we’re just adding a layer of the health focus on top of this. So we will accept both health-focused and industry agnostic companies into the Cohort. And the programming will be just a little bit different based on the industry with a big overlap on general business-related type subjects. But for the fall specifically, we’re looking for health technology companies, medical device companies really anything that doesn’t require an FDA approval process would be a fit for the fall program,” she tells us.