Boston digital health accelerator Pulse launches, opens applications

By Jonah Comstock
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Pulse, the Boston-based digital health hub run by startup accelerator MassChallenge, has finally launched, opening up applications that will close October 20th. 

The accelerator is open to digital healthcare startups from anywhere in the world with less than $5 million in funding and less than $5 million in revenue. Those selected will have free office space in Boston, matchmaking with mentors and advisors, and a portion of the $250,000 available in awards -- without having to give up any equity.

In January, leaders of the city of Boston and the commonwealth of Massachusetts came together at Boston Children’s Hospital to announce the partnership, which is aimed at enhancing the profile of digital health in Boston. 

The digital health hub is receiving sponsorship and support from an elite business group, called the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, which is made up of executives from some of the largest companies in Massachusetts. One member, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, signed on as one of the digital health hub’s first sponsors. Another member, Suffolk Construction, said it would provide the digital health hub with interior construction work for free.

Naveen Rao, an editor of the healthcare-focused Medium project Tincture, wrote up the launch event for the accelerator, where Boston-based businesses and organizations participated in a "reverse pitch" process, describing what they might look for in a startup partner. Among the revelations: Headphone company Bose revealed that it has an interest in incorporating digital health sensors into upcoming products, Beth Israel Deaconess wants startups to use its API tools to interface with its homegrown EHR, and the City of Boston has an interest in using technology to improve addition recovery.

Other presenters included Vertex Pharmaceuticals, AARP, Analog Devices, Franciscan Children's Hospital, Liberty Mutual, Microsoft, and Pathfinder International.