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Houston health tech startup wins female-focused pitch competition

For the fourth year, a Houston-based, female-focused health technology organization has spotlighted the industry’s emerging technology entrepreneurs.

Earlier this month, Ignite Healthcare Network’s Accelerator program presented its seven women-led digital health startup finalists, whittled down from more than 330 startups, at its annual Fire Pitch competition. The nonprofit is led by a group of women executives committed to shaping the future of healthcare.

“The fourth year of Ignite Health’s accelerator program has proven to attract more and more female founders of digital technology and medical device startups from around the world,” said Ayse McCracken, Ignite’s founder, in a news release.

According to McCracken, 22 applicants participated in the program, which was launched earlier this year. A group of judges narrowed that group down to seven finalists, before announcing the top three companies for the competition.

Joanna Nathan, CEO of Prana Thoracic in Houston, won the top award for her company. Stephanie Gravenor, founder of Denver-based Medecipher, and Liane Clamen, founder of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts-based Adaptilens, won second and third, respectively.

The event paid out more than $500,000 in total. Jay Goss, general partner of Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health, announced $100,000 investments in four finalists’ companies. The finalists who received this award:

  • Pamela Bonnett, CEO of Denver-based Ultrasound AI
  • Christine Lum Lung, co-founder and CEO of Fort Collins, Colorado-based Origin Healthcare
  • Pamela Singh, co-founder and CEO of Houston-based CaseCTRL
  • Stephanie Gravenor, founder and CEO of Medecipher in Denver

The partner organizations that participated in this year’s accelerator and event include Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann Health System, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, The Menninger Clinic, HCA, Kindred Healthcare, Aetna, Texas Health Resources, Cook Children’s Hospital, TMC , Golden Seeds , Wavemaker 360 Health, Portfolia, Prosalus, 7Wire, Texas Halo Fund, Unity Point Ventures, and others.

“We are grateful for the support and generosity of our sponsors who helped make this event possible,” Cheryl Stavins, Ignite board member and event co-chair, said in the news release. “Their support and engagement continues to fuel our mission and passion to ensure the success and recognition of women entrepreneurs in healthcare.”

Earlier in the day, Ignite Health hosted a new event called “Women Shaping the Future of Healthcare Luncheon.” Eighty female executives, investors, founders and community leaders gathered to hear from three of Ignite Health’s alumni founders: Somer Baburek, CEO of Hera Biotech, Dr. Liz Clayborne, CEO of Nasaclip, and Amanda Gorman, Chief Clinical Officer of Nest Collaborative.

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