Healthcare startups sweep podium at Startup Connection
by Brian Feldt
Startup companies working to develop a better way to diagnose bacterial infections, reduce concussions and combat cancer were winners at Wednesday night’s Startup Connection, the annual entrepreneurial showcase and resource fair.
Nanopore Diagnostics, the local startup developing a 30 minute test that physicians can use to more quickly detect bacterial infections and better prescribe an antibiotic treatment took the top prize of $50,000 in the Startup Challenge, the startup competition within the Startup Connection. Tom Cohen is founder of Nanopore.
Zymplr, which has developed a new helmet liner that can reduce concussions by reducing linear and rotational forces by as much as 40 percent, took second place in the Startup Challenge, winning $30,000. Abu Abraham is founder and CEO of Zymplr.
Immunophotonics, a biotech startup that recently completed a $1.8 million financing led by local investors Cultivation Capital and the BioGenerator, won the $20,000 third prize. Immunophotonics has developed a cancer vaccine for the treatment of metastatic cancers. Lu Alleruzzo is co-founder and COO of Immunophotonics.
“The variety and caliber of business ventures in this year’s Startup Challenge is amazing,” said Denny Coleman, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership which organized the event with the help of sponsor Edwards Jones. “The top three overall winners are particularly impressive and hold great potential to positively impact medical treatment and injury prevention.”
In addition, four startup companies received Bright Future Awards of $5,000. Those awards were given to minority, women, veteran or immigrant-owned companies. The winners included Better Weekdays (minority-owned), which has developed a job-matching platform for millennials; HIPAAtrek (female-owned), an online tool for health care providers to manage compliance programs; Zymplr (immigrant-owned); and Blue Line Security Solutions (veteran owned), a facial recognition startup.