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HeloGenika Wins $25,000 Best of Boot Camp Prize from Ann Arbor SPARK

Helogenika and Culturewell accept checks from Ann Arbor SPARK-smaller version

At the conclusion of its latest Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Ann Arbor SPARK awarded HeloGenika its $25,000 Best of Boot Camp prize and Culturewell its $10,000 runner-up prize. Third place winner Imagine Chat won $1000, thanks to a sponsorship from UHY. The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of experts, based on the startup business’s investor pitch.

Boot Camp is designed for entrepreneurs who are prepared to assess and validate the feasibility of their business concept, build a business model, and find beta customers. Participants get hands-on assistance to test ideas over an intense multi-week program, interacting with multiple mentors and early-stage investors.

“Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp experience is transformative to the participating companies – they receive an incredible depth of advice from experts whose impact on an entrepreneur’s long-term success can’t be understated. In fact, Boot Camp wouldn’t be possible without the mentors and advisors who are committed to strengthening our tech ecosystem through company formation and growth,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president of entrepreneurial services. “Throughout the process, we see companies pivot, we see companies explore new possibilities they hadn’t considered, and we see some companies call it quits when they realize the potential for success isn’t what they assumed. All of the outcomes created by Boot Camp help a company advance much quicker than they would on their own.”

The grand prize winner, HeloGenika, is an AnnArbor-based precision genomics startup focused on cancer diagnostics. It is developing cutting-edge solutions to introduce speed and scalability to current molecular pathology laboratory practices. Its aim is to reduce workloads for busy pathologists and ultimately create a better experience for cancer patients receiving genomic testing.

“Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp was an eye-opening learning experience for us, and we only wish we had enrolled sooner,” said Snehal Patel, founder, HeloGenika. “We gained invaluable knowledge through formal didactics on critical topics for new businesses and hands-on experience with pitching and customer discovery. Boot Camp even helped us forge invaluable relationships with business mentors in the Ann Arbor community. The money we won at Boot Camp is going towards legal fees for forming two strategic partnerships and initiating the patent filing process.”

Entrepreneur Boot Camp runner-up Culturewell helps healthcare companies know what germs are growing in their clinical environments. It reduces healthcare-acquired infections through its subscription-based tech and laboratory services. Culturewell provides insights via a risk profile and a map of germ hotspots so healthcare leaders can make decisions about where to deploy limited resources to get the maximum benefit.

Imagine Chat is an innovative children’s app aimed at fostering social and emotional intelligence to three to seven-year-olds in the U.S. Through entertainment and digital connectivity, children use the app to engage with their favorite fairytale and superhero characters in a novel and impactful way through video chat. Unlike similar apps currently on the market, which lack the level of interactivity and artificial intelligence that Imagine Chat provides, the Imagine Chat experience aims to form a life-like long-term relationship with the character that grows with the child.

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit