Sprint is seeking an elite group of entrepreneurs with big ideas for improving health care using mobile technology.

Leaders of early-stage mobile technology companies from across the United States now can apply to be in the inaugural class of 10 that will work in the Kansas City area at the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Those who are selected will participate in a 3-month intensive mentorship program starting in March 2014 and receive up to $120,000 in funding.

Even though the location of the accelerator was not announced yesterday, Sprint officials are expected to unveil a site in the Crossroads Arts District of Downtown Kansas City as early as next week.

“Wireless innovations are helping people around the world by improving health care, empowering people with disabilities and promoting wellness,” said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint. “Sprint is joining visionary entrepreneurs with experts to mentor them in a program proven to help startups gain traction. We eagerly anticipate the resulting wireless innovations in health care.”

Techstars is known as the #1 startup accelerator in the world. With seven other Techstars programs in top startup locations (Boston, Boulder, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, London and Austin), Techstars is highly selective and invests $120,000 in each of 10 companies. Techstars is backed by more than 75 different venture capital firms and angel investors. After leaving Techstars, participating companies average more than $1.5 million in outside venture capital raised.

Sprint is supporting this startup accelerator initiative as a way of driving innovation at a transformational time in health care, according to the Sprint announcement on Tuesday. From remote patient monitoring to e-prescriptions to making sense of ever-growing volumes of data, technology is poised to reduce costs, improve productivity and increase quality in health care.

The effort also adds to the growing momentum of the Kansas City hometown region of Sprint as a burgeoning hub for life sciences, animal health and health technology ventures. The area already has a notable concentration of private and university research laboratories and hundreds of established companies in the pharmaceutical, animal health, crop science and medical technology industries. Entrepreneurs, innovative companies, investors and others all are coming together to transform research and ideas into cures and innovative approaches helping people and animals.

Kevin McGinnis, vice president-Development at Sprint, is taking a leadership role in expanding and strengthening the company’s work with entrepreneurial startups. He believes the Sprint Accelerator will make a vital contribution to the region’s success.

“Kansas City increasingly is gaining recognition on the national level as an emerging entrepreneurial technology center,” McGinnis said. “Sprint has been expanding its work with startups and other ventures that are developing intriguing innovations. The Sprint Accelerator will act as a catalyst for growth in this market.”

The Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will provide entrepreneurs in this field an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen their businesses with the guidance of leading technology experts from Sprint, top technology companies in the area and from around the country. At the end of the startup accelerator program the entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch their business plans to angel investors and venture capitalists.

“To me, Kansas City is an obvious place that has an up-and-coming tech community to rival other top geographies,” said David Cohen, founder and CEO of Techstars. “The presence of leaders in the mobile health care space makes this the perfect home for the accelerator. We have been watching Kansas City from afar, seeing it come together, and now we’re excited to join. It’s great to see Sprint giving first through their tremendous network of resources and executive knowledge. It makes all the difference for the companies we fund through the program.”

Apply at sprintaccelerator.com

The Sprint Accelerator is accepting applications now through Dec. 6. Finalists will be notified in early January 2014 and the 3-month program is slated to begin in March.

The focus is to help startups build the future of mobile and health care that change the world one patient or consumer at a time.

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