Plug And Play Pitch Competition Brings Global Startups To Cleveland

Companies that reduce doctor office wait times, offer online group therapy sessions and help explain a patients genetic profile were among the startups vying for a seat in Plug and Play’s first Cleveland-based accelerator class on Thursday.

About 20 startups from across the globe, all innovators in the health-tech field, delivered their pitches during Plug and Play Accelerator Cleveland Selection Day at the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland.

The winning 10 startups selected will gain access to partnerships and venture capital, while Plug and Play’s local partners, Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart, will gain a pipeline to new innovations. The winners will be announced in about two weeks.

Plug and Play CEO Saeed Amidi on Cleveland’s startup future
Saeed Amidi, founder and CEO of Plug and Play, told an audience of about 250 people at Plug and Play’s pitch competition this morning that he aspires to help entrepreneurs succeed in life.

“I must say, we have received incredible interest from the startups” as well as established companies, Amidi said. “Something like this in Cleveland can be a great, great success.”

Plug and Play is one of the world’s biggest startup accelerators. Its accelerators allow emerging companies to build networks and partnerships with large businesses all over the globe through its 25 satellite offices around the world.

Plug and Play in California has helped about 7,000 startups in the past 11 years, Amidi said. He predicted that Plug and Play will bring so many startups to the Global Center that “the building will be too small.”

The pitch competition included remarks from Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and president of the Cleveland Clinic, and Amidi. JumpStart CEO Ray Leach, Cleveland Clinic Innovations executive director Peter O’Neill, Plug and Play chief operating officer Candace Widdoes, and Prevedere CEO Richard Wagner also gave opening remarks. Prevedere, an analytics company, launched in Columbus and participated in Plug and Play’s Silicon Valley accelerator.

In an interview, Amidi said that he would like to see other corporate partners join with the Clinic and JumpStart in this effort to create a health care hub in Cleveland.

“We’re looking for startups that the Cleveland Clinic could collaborate with and have a product ready in 100 days,” Amidi said.

Plug and Play may choose to invest in all or some of the companies in the initial accelerator class. Plug and Play kicks in between $100,000 and $500,000 toward a $1 million seed round for its accelerator companies, Amidi said.

Read the full story and experience Selection Day in photos and video at