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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Glendale to Host First Pediatric Accelerator

The City of Glendale is taking a $1 million grant it received last year from the state and applying it to two tech startup accelerators. Chosen from among the 20 proposals from potential accelerator operators were Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Hero House Glendale, an innovation hub from Armenia. Both organizations will receive $500,000 for three years. The accelerators are expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Jennifer Hiramoto, deputy director of economic development for Glendale, said that when Children’s Hospital asked for half of the grant money it opened up the opportunity of looking over the other proposals to see if a second one was possible. “The idea that we could get two operators for that $1 million was very exciting,” Hiramoto said. Children’s Hospital, through its innovation studio, will operate the KidsX Digital Health Accelerator out of city-owned space at 250 N. Orange St. It will reportedly be the first pediatric accelerator in the world. The hospital will identify startups that can deliver better health care digitally. The accelerator will operate for about six months out of the year, starting with a 13-week program for 10 startups, Hiramoto said. The hospital’s innovation studio is considering relocating to Glendale from Westlake, she added. At the conclusion of the program, the companies would do a demo day to showcase their business plans in front of potential investors, other hospitals and others who could utilize the products that were developed as part of the accelerator program, Hiramoto continued. As part of the hospital’s proposal, it said there were 18 other children’s hospitals around the world that would contribute to the accelerator program, she said. “Whether that is through mentorship or the potential to offer up a contract to whatever company that is coming through the accelerator, there is a direct benefit to the children’s hospitals,” Hiramoto added. Hero House Glendale will operate out of space at 326 Mira Loma Ave., near the Metrolink train station. Its focus is on international and out-of-state startup companies looking to expand into Southern California. Parent organization Hero House, in Armenia, is affiliated with Draper University of Heroes, a for-profit school in San Mateo, and SmartGateVC, a pre-seed venture capital firm in which Tim Draper, founder of the university bearing his name, is an investor. Partners in Hero House Glendale include Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America and Hye Rise Investments, both located in Glendale. While the accelerator has its roots and direct ties to the Armenian community, the program is open to all and is also sector agnostic, which makes it a nice complement to Children’s Hospital, which is focused on health care, Hiramoto said. “So for us to be able to introduce Hero House, which is more broadly focused on tech, it is a complete package that we are able to introduce to not just Glendale but the Southern California innovation ecosystem,” she added. While grateful to the state and State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D–La Cañada Flintridge) for the grant, Hiramoto understood if no more public money was available for the accelerators. Besides, the operators have indicated that they believe they can be financially self-sufficient at the end of the three years, she added. “It is unlikely that there will be public dollars available for the accelerators after the third year, but we are hopeful they won’t need that anyway and they will be fully self-sufficient,” Hiramoto said. “Based on their relationships and current funding mechanisms, it appears they have the capacity to deliver on that promise.”

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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