PROVIDENCE – Medley Genomics, which provides smart software solutions for optimizing effective individualized therapy for cancer patients, recently won the inaugural MassChallenge Bridge to Rhode Island Bootcamp, in which Rhode Island-based startups competed for a chance to participate in the MassChallenge accelerator.
“I was shocked,” Patrice Milos, CEO of Medley Genomics, said in a recent interview about the win.
Now, Medley Genomics will be fast-tracked into the annual MassChallenge startup competition, where it has been automatically entered into the final round of judging for the accelerator program, which offers mentorship and programming, and a chance at grant prizes. Last year, these prizes totaled $1.5 million.
The Rhode Island boot camp program was held in early February, and debuted this year after discussions with state leaders, according to Neil Hamel, the Bridge to MassChallenge Rhode Island project lead.
Hamel said they were “incredibly happy with the number of applications,” as well as the strength of the applications in the Rhode Island boot camp. Twelve companies were named as finalists, and a pitch competition was held Feb. 10 to determine the winner. The boot camp was done in partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation and R.I. Commerce Corp. Hamel said Milos delivered a “really cohesive presentation for such a complicated thing she’s doing,” which gave her the edge over the competition.
Milos said her company, a life-sciences startup out of Brown University, addresses the challenges of genomic heterogeneity in the diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases. In her 20-minute pitch, she discussed market and product opportunity, as well as financial projections. Her business is relatively new – she said she launched in October, noting she received $310,000 in seed funding from Slater Technology Fund and Lazarus.
She said her goal is to raise additional funds to support the company for the next 18 months to two years.
The company is small, with only Milos, the scientific co-founder and a few part-timers.
She said she made “a lot of great connections” already from participating in the Rhode Island boot camp.
Another finalist, Anthony Markey, a senior accounting major at the University of Rhode Island, also plans to pitch his online college textbook-reselling business again to MassChallenge.
Applications close March 28 for MassChallenge. Information can be found HERE.
“We believe startups are value creators of our society. They drive economic growth, create jobs,” Kiki Mills Johnston, managing director of MassChallenge in Boston, said.
Each year, she said more than 120 startups are brought into the program through MassChallenge.
Markey described the boot camp experience as a valuable one, as he received feedback that he hopes will enable him to take his business, called Libby, slang for “library,” to the next level.
He got the idea for his business when he tried to sell his textbooks after a semester abroad in Spain and was unhappy with what little he was offered in return from online retailers. He also tried selling them on Facebook with little success.
“I thought something has to be more efficient,” Markey said.
He started his business in December, and already has more than 100 people using it.
Markey, who runs Libby with Laionel Cintron, a recent Stetson University graduate, plans to roll out the service at colleges and universities nationwide.