Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst calls for fourth cohort of applications

Listen to this article

Voiced by Amazon Polly
Able Innovations showed its Alta Platform at the Robotics Summit as part of the MassRobotics Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program.

Healthcare Robotics Catalyst Startup cohort member Able Innovations showed its Alta Platform for patient handling at the 2024 Robotics Summit & Expo. Source: MassRobotics

BOSTON — MassRobotics yesterday announced that the Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program is open for applications for its fourth cohort for 2024 to 2025. The initiative aims to accelerate innovation and adoption in the healthcare robotics sector by providing startups with the resources, mentorship, and connections necessary for success.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of applications for the fourth cohort of the Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program,” stated Juan Necochea, director of strategic partnerships at MassRobotics. “This program, established and gaining continued momentum, reflects our shared commitment to fostering innovation and supporting startups positioned to revolutionize healthcare through robotics technology.”

The program supports startups by offering resources to foster growth and success. Its focus areas this year include clinical care, pharmaceutical and hospital automation, laboratory automation, and precision and regenerative medicine.

The Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program also focuses on point-of-care systems, rehabilitation, assistive technologies for improved quality of life and continuity of work, and training and support for healthcare professionals.

Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst features

MassRobotics and its partners listed the following benefits for participating startups:

  • Mentorship and guidance: Senior professionals at top companies provide expert mentorship and introductions to leaders from the robotics ecosystem, depending on participants’ strategic objectives.
  • Resource access: Startups gain access to loaner components with design and engineering guidance.
  • Networking opportunities: Catalyst companies receive introductions to key players in the healthcare robotics space, potential customers, and strategic partners, including pitching opportunities to MassRobotics’ venture capital and investor ecosystem.
  • Strategic medical guidance: Each cohort can speak with experienced medical professionals, ensuring that their technologies align with real-world healthcare needs, ethical standards, and patient safety considerations.
  • Educational workshops: The program provides access to courses on critical topics, such as Food and Drug Administration approval processes, cybersecurity requirements, and other regulatory mandates, tailored to the cohort’s interests and goals.
  • Showcase opportunities: Each cohort startup will have an opportunity to present its system at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston, as well as to the Healthcare Robotics Working Group. These live events provide booth space for product demonstrations and a stage to pitch their solutions to a live audience, offering valuable exposure and networking opportunities.
MassRobotics Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst member Cobionix showed its robot arm for healthcare use cases at the Robotics Summit.

Cohort member Cobionix showed its robot arm for healthcare uses at the Robotics Summit & Expo. Source: MassRobotics

Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst process begins

The Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program is open to startups with at least a working prototype at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or above. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 1, 2024, with the program set to begin at the end of that month.

Selected startups will be announced in mid-November 2024. The program invites startups of all sizes and maturity to apply, ensuring a broad range of entrepreneurs can benefit from the program.

“I am extremely delighted to see this program evolve and expand into new areas of healthcare technologies,” said Nuzha Yakoob. She is former head of technology and innovation at Festo, founder of yaxxoo Inc., and a founding member of the Healthcare Robotics Catalyst Program.

“Our intent is to enable more startups to bring their brilliant innovations to market, improving the quality of healthcare for patients and augmenting healthcare workers,” Yakoob said.

Startups worldwide are encouraged to apply and take advantage of this unique opportunity to accelerate their growth and impact in the healthcare robotics field. For more details and to apply, visit MassRobotics Healthcare Robotics Catalyst Program.

Members of the 2023 Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program.

Supporters and participants of the 2023-2024 Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program. Source: MassRobotics

Previous cohorts share success stories

Startups from previous Healthcare Catalyst cohorts have achieved remarkable milestones, including penetrating new markets, securing funding, and establishing strategic partnerships.

Kingston, Ontario-based Kinarm offers neuroscientists and clinicians precise and consistent insights into neurological assessments. 

“The mentorship we received from Festo was invaluable,” said Anne Vivian-Scott, president and CEO of Kinarm. “They helped us address real-time technological challenges within a broader market context, steering us toward mass-market solutions rather than a DIY [do-it-yourself] approach, and they demonstrated genuine care for our personal growth and business development. It’s been a fantastic return on investment that will yield dividends for years to come!”

Guy Altagar, CEO of Unlimited Robotics, shared his enthusiasm for the initiative. His company, which has offices in Boston and Petah Tikva, Israel, offers Gary, a service robot designed to help software developers build applications for healthcare, retail, nursing homes, and hospitality.

“The program was a game-changer for Unlimited Robotics,” he asserted. “Their mentorship, resources, and industry connections helped us refine our technology and navigate the healthcare market like never before. We’re incredibly grateful for their support and excited to make a real difference in the future of healthcare.”

Robot on Rails (RoR) has developed a system to make implementing automation easier for laboratories. “Participating in the MassRobotics program was a game-changer for Robot on Rails,” added Chase Olle, founder of RoR.

“Their unwavering support, invaluable guidance, and access to industry experts propelled us towards the successful deployment of our Phase 1 robot at HelixNano,” he said. “Through MassRobotics, we gained crucial networking opportunities and mentorship from esteemed experts at Festo and Mitsubishi Electric.”

Acumino has been developing capabilities for robots to learn skills faster, cheaper, and in a more scalable way. The Renton, Wash.-based company recently finalized its seed round and raised $6.5 million.

“We are proud participants of MassRobotics’ Healthcare Robotics Catalyst program,” said Tom White, founder and chief operating officer at Acumino. “Not only did we gain profound insights into our company’s potential within the healthcare landscape, but our mentors have continued to guide us, providing invaluable advice and support. We wholeheartedly endorse this program for robotics companies seeking success in the healthcare sector.”

MassRobotics partners provide guidance, encouragement

MassRobotics, which supports the Massachusetts robotics ecosystem, has partnered with Festo, Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Novanta, and MITRE. They expressed their support of the ongoing collaboration.

“It has been a pleasure to work together with the outstanding startups of this program,” said Johannes Linzbach, head of the Festo Research Hub Boston. “I am looking forward to the next cohort to connect with tech startups in our expanded scope—lab automation and biotech automation!”

William Nguyen, development manager at Mitsubishi Electric Automation, added: “We are looking forward to collaborating and mentoring potential startup companies for innovative solutions and cutting-edge automation technologies in the healthcare industry.” 

“We welcome this partnership opportunity to all startups that are engaging with important healthcare robotics challenges,” said Elliot Helms, mechatronics research and development manager at Novanta. “In alignment with Novanta’s mission to deliver ‘innovations that matter,’ we are proud to collaborate with and mentor teams that are advancing the state of the art and improving people’s lives.”

Russ Graves, director of bridging innovation at MITRE, stated that “as a connector between government, industry, and academia, we’re proud to join MassRobotics, Festo, Mitsubishi Electric, and Novanta to help startups overcome traditional barriers to entry and accelerate their robotic solutions for healthcare.”

Editor’s note: WTWH Media, which produces The Robot Report and the Robotics Summit & Expo, is also a partner of MassRobotics.

Latest articles


Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here