Plug and Play aims to tie Silicon Valley to Cleveland's medical community

The startup accelerator kicked off the process of picking its first class of innovators in the Ohio city.
By John Sharp
04:56 PM
Cleveland Clinic Plug and Play

Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play speaking with Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, the new CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

Technology accelerator Plug and Play opened up competition for its initial group of startup on Thursday at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland.

The goal is to “combine Silicon Valley’s established ecosystem and Cleveland’s thriving medical community to create a hub of digital health innovation,” according to Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play.

To that end, nearly 30 startups pitched their products at the and 10 will be selected for early-stage funding and the offer of space in the Global Center for Health Innovation also home to the HIMSS Innovation Center. 

[Also: Cleveland Clinic picks top 10 innovations for 2018: Scalp cooling, next-gen vaccines make the cut]
“What differentiates us is the thirst for change; we believe we must continue to innovate,” said Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, the new CEO of the Cleveland Clinic during a discussion with Amidi.

Mihaljevic continued that Cleveland Clinic is focusing on artificial intelligence, wearables and telemedicine, which is gaining traction because it gives clinicians the opportunity to personalize care outside of the hospital.

[Also: Cleveland Clinic partners with new digital health accelerator]

Looking ahead, Mihaljevic said that hospitals need to prioritize care coordination and quality to address social determinants of health.

Amidi pointed to other industrial companies that are working to stimulate innovation, notably how Mercedes-Benz required a culture change to accept startups into its organization. The carmaker began by funding 15 emerging companies the first year and is now investing in 30 each year.

Mihaljevic said that the Cleveland Clinic already has a culture of innovation and joked that they need to be held back sometimes rather than encouraged.

Amidi said that he would like to see another Google or Dropbox come out of their partnership.

HIMSS Innovation Center Director Leslie Evans, meanwhile, expressed hope that Plug and Play will bring many more opportunities for innovation to Cleveland in the future.

The 10 winners, who will get venture capital and access to partners, will be announced in two weeks.

John Sharp is Senior Manager at the Personal Connected Health Alliance.