Editor’s note: The following is part of a series of stories on the six cohort companies of the Launch Health Accelerator, powered by Nueterra Capital and sponsored by LaunchKC. Click here to read all the stories published in this series.
Launch KC offers hands-on programs, designed with intention, Sumeet Maniar said.
“I’ve done startups before and I’ve been bombarded by so many different accelerators,” explained Maniar, CEO of San Francisco-based WellBrain — a digital health and chronic pain management platform that works to tackle the national opioid epidemic.
One of six companies to sign on for the inaugural cohort of the Launch Health Accelerator, backed by Launch KC and Nueterra Capital, a stint in Kansas City offered Maniar — a serial entrepreneur — the opportunity to challenge his leadership style, as WellBrain works to scale.
“[This program has been] beyond my expectations … Kansas City has access to urban, rural and suburban areas [and demographics] and it could be a good place for [WellBrain] to grow,” he said.
“We have met with some folks that are running community centers, we met with a holistic clinic, Blue Cross Blue Shield … there could be potential here.”
Click here to read more about the Launch Health Accelerator.
The 10-week accelerator has been action packed, Maniar noted, adding that his limited run in the metro hasn’t left him with much time to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds of Kansas City — a reality that’s indicative of value in the program’s content, he said.
“We’re mission driven. We want to donate our software — for free — to every paying customer we have and give it out to clinics that have communities that need it,” he explained, noting potential for partnerships with clinics in West Virginia, a state ravaged by opioid use.
“I wish we could scale faster [because people need WellBrain],” Maniar said, suggesting hypothetical ways to spread the platform. “We could just offer every county iPads with the software; they could administer it and it’d be quite helpful.”
While WellBrain works toward its goals for growth, other companies in the Launch Health cohort are doing the same — under one roof, in a Midtown neighborhood. Such an arrangement has opened doors to deeper connections for Maniar and his team that might not have been accessed in a more traditional accelerator, he noted.
“We’re all established startups, not early stage, but on the cusp of high scale growth,” Maniar said. “I think all the companies have revenues … we’re just kind of needing capital to hire more people.”
Problem solving in tandem has brought the cohort closer together and enabled them to explore the needs of their companies with fresh eyes in a supportive climate.
“[Launch Health] wants us to succeed. The most important part is to potentially get investment and also some business development deals. There are some synergies between [the companies] and it’s a great set of people,” Maniar noted, further expressing his gratitude for the programs structure.
“They’ve done a good job in coordinating this and [WellBrain is] an aspect of trying to solve addiction from a different parameter … [Launch Health supported that goal],” he added.
Click here to register for Launch Health Demo Day, set for Nov. 20.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.