“Leadership wants to shepherd all of them now,” says Robert Chavez, executive director of ProjectLift Miami. “If there were 15 in this early stage, mentors would have probably focused on one or two companies.”
The crew of entrepreneurs went through rigorous testing and an extensive application process to make sure their ideas were solid and their personalities were flexible. Companies selected get a package of funding, mentoring, services and work space in exchange for 7 percent equity.
Chavez says he has learned a lot working with this first class, but he wanted to be sure he evaluated the businesses on the potential for job growth and industry impact. Venture capital raised comes much further down on his list of priorities. “This is the healthcare sector. If they’re saving lives and creating jobs, dollars will come,” says Chavez.
The five companies have about 90 days to get instruction and mentoring, business resources, technology services, warm introductions and access to the health district.
Crystal Ice, CEO of Alert.MD, was living off savings and faith until ProjectLift came along. She and partner Dr. Dale Taylor, the company’s chief medical officer, didn’t necessarily consider themselves “businesspeople” when they got started.
Ice and Taylor developed their Alert.MD emergency identification system because of professional experiences.
As a resident, Dr. Taylor remembered having to care for patients without any information about their medical history. He thought what if there was a button you could just push.
“If an elderly person were to come in the ER and we just have a license to go by we have no one to contact to let them know they’re even in the hospital. Much less find out past medical history, medication allergies,” says Taylor.
Alert.MD is an app for your cellphone.