Is an accelerator the right path for you?
Accelerator programs can provide many perks to entrepreneurs. Two of the biggest rewards from an accelerator are networking and mentorship. However, not all startups choose to take the accelerator path. Elli Kaplan, co-founder and CEO of Neurotrack, feels her experience with Rock Health played a significant role.
"I think it makes a big difference, especially with something like healthcare," said Kaplan, referring to accelerators. "There are so many different processes you need to know, no matter what kind of healthcare innovation."
Kaplan's company, Neurotrack, has developed a reading test that identifies otherwise invisible early-stage Alzheimer's disease. The test would initially help pharmaceutical companies identify candidates for testing drugs that may slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer's. If such drugs are ever developed, Neurotrack could then accurately identify people who would benefit from taking them.
Rock Health's mentorship helped Neurotrack avoid a lot of obstacles, Kaplan said. "We've been very lucky in that we've had extraordinary groups of mentors and advisors to help navigate what is a very complex industry."
Neurotrack started in May of 2012 and officially launched the following October after spending the summer with Rock Health Boston.
Other entrepreneurial insights:
Don't hesitate to ask for help - Even outside of the accelerator, Kaplan mentioned the importance of networking and advising for startups. "You have to know what you don't know, and what you need to know. Don't be afraid to ask for advice," said Kaplan.
Have a motivated team - "We're very lucky that all of the people on our team are people that came to us and expressed interest in working for us. They've long been proactive in finding a solution to Alzheimer's disease," Kaplan said. The team she has developed consists of a perfect blend of passion and skill because in the early days of a company, it can have unstable finances that can hurt motivation.
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