Known for its robust medical infrastructure, the City of Fort Worth is teaming up with Tarrant County, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Goff Capital to launch an accelerator called Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth. They’re aligning with Techstars, a Colorado-based operational investor that provides early capital, mentoring opportunities, and more to entrepreneurs.
Trey Bowles, co-founder of the DEC Network and Dallas Innovation Alliance, will serve as the accelerator’s managing director. “Fort Worth makes so much sense for the physical health focus because you have UNT Health Science Center and several schools within their program, and the focus they have around physical medicine and rehabilitation and physical therapy,” Bowles said. “There are a lot of resources, research, labs, clinics—things that are very important for a startup to have access to to help prove the model and validate their concepts.”
Fort Worth and Tarrant County have each invested $2.4 million, part of $19.7 million that the Fort Worth City Council recently allocated to support innovative community programs and small businesses. “We knew that early-stage funding for local startup companies has been lacking in our city, and this effort will not only bring more startup funding to our area, but also will serve as a recruiting mechanism to bring the best and brightest minds in physical medicine and rehabilitation to Fort Worth,” Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement.
UNTHSC and Fort Worth-based Goff Capital will also make equity investments in the program’s future cohorts of nearly $10 million over three years.
This is Techstars’ first accelerator in North Texas. It operates entrepreneurship-centered programs in 36 cities globally and invests in roughly 500 startups per year.
The 13-week accelerator (September to December) will accept 10 early-stage startups—all focused on physical therapy and rehabilitation—per year for three years. Participants will be matched with mentors, some of whom will be UNTHSC students, faculty, or staff, and work to prepare for a “demo day,” when startups will present their pitches to venture capitalists, angel investors, foundations, and family offices.
“This creates a really cool opportunity for us to find amazing entrepreneurs from all over the planet that we can invite to Fort Worth for this program,” Bowles said.