Dreamit accelerator ditches demo days, unveils 25 new health and education startups

Dreamit Ventures’ accelerator has ditched the demo day, according to Chief Innovation Officer Steve Barsh. That’s not the only change the early-stage venture firm and accelerator has made of late.

Today, Dreamit unveiled a list of 25 new health and edtech startups launching from its revamped programs. A full list of those companies provided by Dreamit follows at the end of this post.

The accelerator has also shifted its strategy to work with post-seed, but pre-Series A companies instead of fledgling startups still trying to perfect their first product.

Barsh said demo days, which provide a showcase for a group of entrepreneurs from bootcamp-like accelerator programs such as Dreamit’s, aren’t as good for founders and venture investors as people think.

“Everyone can look good in a three minute pitch,” he said. “What investors want is 30 minutes, at least, to poke and prod and dig in deeper with just the companies they’re interested in.”

Instead of demo days, DreamIt has been taking the entrepreneurs in its Health and Education accelerators on roadshows to meet with just the funds that have an interest in what they’re doing.

It also takes them on “customer immersion” roadshows, i.e. to present to executives within organizations who are interested in possibly using their products and services, acquiring them down the line, or partnering with the startups for pilot testing, clinical studies and more.

Those organizations have included Penn State and Penn Medicine, for education and health companies respectively.

These days, Dreamit also structures deals differently than most other accelerators do, meaning it doesn’t offer $50,000 to $100,000 for 6-8% stakes in a business upon admission to its accelerators.

In its most recent Spring 2016 cycle, Dreamit offered most of its companies what it calls a “Zero/Zero offer.” This gives Dreamit the right to invest in up to 25% of a startup’s next round at a 10-20% discount versus other investors.

That model is still evolving as the firm begins to work with more mature, growth-stage companies instead of companies working to get an idea from “cocktail napkin to launch,” Barsh said.

He added, “We feel our offer is actually much more founder-friendly.”

Tech startups who could benefit from time in an industry-specialized accelerator like Dreamit Health or Dreamit Education have had to turn down a chance to participate because their angel investors or cofounders didn’t want them to give away tons of equity for very little capital, Barsh said.

Limited partners in Dreamit’s fund include a mix of institutional investors, endowments, family offices and high net worth individuals. Dreamit’s staff includes 20 full-time with 5 investing partners.

Here are the 25 newest startups to go through Dreamit (descriptions supplied by Dreamit Ventures).

Dreamit Health Spring 2016 Cohort

Addicaid: Helps payers & providers tackle chronic addiction, reduce the cost of care & manage population health with data­driven addiction treatment
Admetsys: Automated, high­precision diabetic control systems for hospital and surgical care
Cellepathy: Distracted Driving MDM that uses artificial intelligence & mobile sensors to prevent crashes & lawsuits with patented technology to differentiate passengers from drivers
CircleLink Health: Applying SaaS to $15B market for chronic care management between office visits, unlocked by a new Medicare reimbursement
DNAsimple: An online platform that allows genetic researchers to find the samples they need and donors to contribute to scientific studies independent of location
Keriton: IoT solution to automate Pumped Breast Milk management for Neonatal ICUs (NICUs) to improve nurse productivity
Kermit: Returning the balance of power to hospitals in physician preference items for cost reduction and improved patient outcomes
MedAware: Utilizing physician practice patterns to identify and alert on and reduce medication errors in real time
MedStack: A cloud developer platform to drive the creation of patient­centric, integrated and compliant healthcare apps at a third of the typical cost and cycle time
Neofluidics: Simplified microfluidic tools for drug discovery & research, point of care testing, & industrial fluid analysis reducing reagent use by 90%+ while increasing quality and decreasing time
Prevnos: Reducing the cost and complexity of cancer diagnostics through a new hybrid Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test
Somatix: Enables real­time identification and measurement of smoking, drinking, eating, and other hand­to­mouth gestures, using the sensors on smartwatches and wristbands
Suggestic: Delivering personalized, actionable and relevant nutritional suggestions by combining evidence­based health guidelines, crowd wisdom, and machine intelligence
Wellth: Allows health insurance companies and hospital systems to pay costly chronic disease patients to take better care of their conditions by applying behavioral economics’ loss aversion techniques

Dreamit EdTech Spring 2016 Cohort

101: An interactive, mobile­first platform that develops STEM problem solving skills
CampusESP: Helps colleges leverage parent and family involvement to improve student 
Lessoncast: Transforms how teachers improve what they do in the classroom, enabling 
schools to see & improve how they spend $8B/yr on teacher development
PeopleGrove (formerly CampusKudos): SaaS platform for schools and companies to develop private professional communities to support their young people and position 
them to succeed
Prompt: Making people better writers through personalized feedback
Ruvna: Enables schools to locate and account for their students in real­time during an 
Study Abroad Apartments: Marketplace that helps thousands of students, interns, and 
young professionals from around the world get apartments abroad
StudyTree: Technology totransform education with a streamlined collaboration system 
using AI to facilitate in­-person study groups and peer tutoring.
Tassl: Engagement metrics for powering networks and building relationships
University Beyond: Recruitment and management platform for collegiate brand