• Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator Opens, Welcomes Founding Tenants

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic and Rochester area business development officials today announced the opening of the new Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator at the Minnesota BioBusiness Center. The space may be leased by existing companies, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and professional service providers. The goal of the accelerator is to stimulate growth of health care-related businesses in Rochester. The accelerator is a Mayo Clinic initiative supported by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and the city of Rochester.

"The Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator supports Mayo Clinic's commitment and support of additional economic growth in Rochester," says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "The accelerator is an example of the strength of a strong partnership between Mayo Clinic and the community to make it easier and more affordable for companies to start and locate in Rochester."

"RAEDI is happy to be part of this collaborative partnership with the city of Rochester and Mayo Clinic Ventures that will help stimulate the growth of new business and strengthen our area economy," says Gary Smith, RAEDI president.

"The accelerator represents a continuation of the partnership we forged over the past several years starting with the downtown master planning effort and continuing with the Destination Medical Center initiative," says Doug Knott, the city of Rochester's development director. "Mayo, the city and RAEDI have strategically leveraged our resources to create a facility that will stimulate the growth of new businesses and jobs in our community."

Officials also announced multiple founding tenants, including:

  • Versant Ventures, a venture capital firm that specializes in investments in medical devices, biopharmaceuticals, and other life science opportunities. Kirk Nielsen is a Minneapolis-based managing director for Versant.
  • Sanderling Ventures, an investment firm dedicated to building new life science companies, combining a specialized investment focus with active management and long-term commitment to rates of return for both entrepreneurs and investors. Tim Mills, Ph.D., is managing director of Sanderling.
  • Evidentia Health, a health care information technology company that delivers evidence-based knowledge to providers and patients. The company has licensed expertise and medical content from Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, and will pilot its novel technology at these institutions in 2013. Jeremy Friese, M.D., Mayo Clinic physician, is the co-founder, chief executive officer, and a board member of Evidentia Health.
  • Resoundant, a medical technology company dedicated to commercializing Magnetic Resonance Elastography and making it available to patients and the world. Richard Ehman, M.D., a Mayo Clinic physician, is co-founder, chief executive officer, and a board member of Resoundant.
  • Zumbro Discovery, which is developing a treatment for resistant hypertension, a growing problem worldwide that contributes to heart failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke and kidney failure. Mayo physicians John Burnett Jr., M.D., and Horng Chen, M.D., are co-founders of Zumbro Discovery.
  • VitalHealth Software, founded to develop cloud-based eHealth solutions with emphasis on solutions for people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, cancer and Alzheimer's. Blair Butterfield is president of VitalHealth Software North America.
  • Walker Reading Technologies, which focuses on real-time software tools that readers can use anywhere to improve their reading performance. Research shows that these new tools can improve reading and writing skills. Randall Walker, M.D., Mayo Clinic physician, and Stan Walker, M.D., are co-founders of Walker Reading Technologies.

"We hope to provide a nurturing space for new company formation in Rochester. This space is potentially unique in the country because we have blue-chip venture capital groups located with local entrepreneurs," says Jim Rogers of Mayo Clinic Ventures. "We are very excited about the potential of these companies and the positive impact they could have on Rochester."

Dr. Noseworthy adds that the accelerator fits nicely with the recently announced Destination Medical Center initiative.

"Startup companies are willing to locate in Rochester but need the infrastructure to stay here," he says. "Without that, they are vulnerable to leaving not only Rochester, but the state of Minnesota."

Related articles