Infant medtech startup awarded scholarship to Draper University
It’s back-to-school for one Arizona startup.
Draper University (Draper U), founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, is partnering with Michael Hool of Hool Coury Law and Arizona Collegiate Venture (jointly funded by Hool Coury Law and MAC6) to fund scholarships for select Arizona start-up entrepreneurs to attend their program in Silicon Valley.
The first set of scholarship recipients, sponsored by Hool, include co-founders Vivek Kopparthi and Chase Garrett of NeoLight, a medical device company that designs and develops phototherapy products to treat and eradicate jaundice in newborn infants.
The co-founders will be heading off to campus this month to begin a 7-week program. The curriculum combines lectures experiential and creative activities, network opps galore and ends with a Silicon Valley style pitch competition.
Former alumni of the Draper U program include Surbhi Sarna of nVision, Kendra Wilkins of Peanuts 4 Peanuts, Brian Friedman of Loopd and Michael Lisovetsky of Homeswipe.
“We are looking at this relationship as a first step to interconnecting our best young entrepreneurs to the connections and knowledge of Silicon Valley,” Hool said.
To date Draper U has over 450 alumni who created over 250 startups that have raised more than $22 million in capital.
Last month, the reality TV show “Startup U” which follows a class of entrepreneurs through a semester at Draper U launched on ABC Family. While Neolight may or may not be a part of the filming (if it goes for a second season), Kopparthi is ready for the spotlight to be on them, “We will be excited to learn about entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. We hope to learn Draper-style startup techniques and build our network and connections in the valley. The timing of this program aligns well with our growth as a young company,” he said.
Neolight is a former Arizona State University’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative cohort, was a participant in the Bioaccel Student Solutions Challenge and recently joined incubator CEI.
After his studies, Kopparthi plans to bring back knowledge from Draper U and continue to grow Neolight in Arizona.
“We’re thrilled by the opportunity to attend Draper and learn from their expertise. Phoenix however is a rapidly advancing startup community and we want to continue to be a part of its growth. Our goal is to bring back as much knowledge as we can and share the stories and principles we learn to our family of entrepreneurs in Phoenix. We see this as a chance for us to give back to the community that supported us when we were emerging,” Kopparthi said.
The partnership is planning to provide four additional scholarships to winners selected in the next Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition, coming this fall.
“When the student start-ups come back to grow their companies, investors from our region can co-invest with top investors from Silicon Valley who now have a vested interest in their success,” Hool said.