Spartan Innovations launches second Conquer Accelerator cohort in Grand Rapids

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Thomas Stewart. Courtesy Spartan Innovations

An East Lansing-based accelerator launched its second 10-week cohort in Grand Rapids.

Conquer Accelerator — a program of East Lansing-based Spartan Innovations, which is a subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation — on Sept. 13 began its second cohort in Grand Rapids, in partnership with The Grand Rapids SmartZone LDFA.

The 10-week accelerator program selected five teams in Grand Rapids: Ascending, Revolin Sports, SBE Medical, Smart Bridge Medical and Student Achievement Systems.

“Grand Rapids has proven to be a great hub for startups. This second cohort is a great representation of the caliber of entrepreneurs the region has to offer, and we’re just happy to be a part of the next step in their journey,” said Thomas Stewart, program director for Conquer Accelerator.

Designed to support newer and established companies, Conquer Accelerator supports selected startups by providing $20,000 in funding, access to mentors, access to follow-on funding and other essential resources.

In addition to receiving $20,000 in seed funding, selected startups receive tailored mentorship from leaders within their respective industries, a collaborative working space, and access to a network of angel and venture investors. Once companies move on from the accelerator, they become part of Red Cedar Ventures’ investment portfolio.

Jeff Wesley. Courtesy Red Cedar Ventures

“Red Cedar Ventures is excited to again partner and invest in the Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids cohort,” said Jeff Wesley, Red Cedar Ventures executive director. “Our team looks forward to the new cohort and guiding these extremely hardworking teams and their companies to successful commercialization.”

Spartan Innovations through its Conquer Accelerator has launched 35 startups since 2015. Those companies have gone on to raise over $31 million in additional funding. Twelve of the companies have been led by underrepresented founders, and to date, Conquer has had five successful exits. The 2021 cohort includes three companies led by underrepresented founders.

“I’m thrilled to continue being a part of the program, and I’m excited to coach these five teams this year,” Stewart said.

2021 Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids teams

  • Ascending is a career community empowering new grads with the interviewing resources and connections to land their first developer job.
  • Revolin Sports designs, manufactures and sells high-performance, sustainable sporting goods, starting with vibration-dampening pickleball paddles.
  • SBE Medical is developing a new female catheter that saves time for clinicians, eliminates the chance of UTIs and increases patient comfort.
  • Smart Bridge Medical is developing respiratory management devices that prevent accidental ventilator disconnects, known clinically as “pop offs.”
  • Student Achievement Systems is the creator of Pulse, software that helps educators monitor the pulse of their virtual classrooms and remote student performance in real time.

More information about the teams is at conqueraccelerator.com.

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