This fall, H2i hosted the first event of a new program: the Themed Accelera. The session focused on the intersection of health innovation and artificial intelligence (AI). This new program is the result of an evolution of H2i programming to better support ventures working in rapidly changing sectors of the health economy, assisting with adapting and/or pivoting to meet evolving healthcare needs. 

Themed Accelera emerged from the ashes of COVID Accelera. In 2020, H2i launched the COVID Accelera sub-stream in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the rapidly evolving needs of the healthcare community. The program was a spinoff of H2i’s monthly Accelera series, which host ‘CEO/Founder Roundtables’ on a variety of topics, borrowing the tested and refined structure of Accelera sessions. In the COVID Accelera, identified client companies working on COVID-19 related projects were invited to sessions with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to speak on topics ranging from diagnostic tool development to effective data collection and infection prevention.  

The COVID Accelera program was a big success, as it helped drive four products to market and accelerated the path of some twenty other ventures. One such venture was MedEssist, who enable and empower community pharmacies to provide personalized and sustainable care to diverse and unique communities.  

The COVID Accelera sessions enabled a non-intimidating safe space to share ideas and solutions around the pandemic response. By grouping us in categories, we were able to learn about other companies’ offerings and where opportunities to partner were possible. 

Joella Almeida | CEO & Co-Founder, MedEssist 

In 2021-22, this specialized Accelera stream continued to evolve alongside the pandemic. The H2i team, along with KOLs and ventures, reflected on how to innovate this stream to continue discussions on emerging health related topics, not necessarily COVID-19 related, where healthcare innovation can pivot and adapt to meet ever-changing global health needs. 

The result? The launch of the ‘Themed Accelera’ stream, which broadens the scope from the COVID-19 pandemic to addressing a range of emerging and prominent trends in healthcare.  

In the 2022-23 year, the inaugural stream will focus on the use of AI in healthcare innovation. The first session of this new series welcomed an impressive panel of KOLs: Dennis Giokas (MedChart), Josée Pharand (VentureLAB), Frank Shannon (Sernova Corp.), Ben Fine (Trillium Health Partners), Bo Wang (Vector Institute), and Kamran Khan (Bluedot), who joined H2i’s Paul Santerre and Andris Lauris.  

The H2i ventures who participated in the session are using AI to create solutions for a broad range of health needs: from identifying strokes, to earlier cancer detection, and improving quality of life for those struggling with POTs. Companies had the chance to share the work they are currently doing and bring up questions and topics for discussion. A valuable and community-building feature of all Accelera streams is that insights are shared not only from the KOLs present, but from peers—the fellow ventures and founders in attendance. 

Key themes that emerged during the session included how to source data to train your model and how to navigate the use of personal data; the best strategies when raising funding and how to establish partnerships in the AI space; how to source talent and build teams for AI ventures; and how to approach data security and storage. Throughout the session, KOLs and ventures alike shared tips for success, pitfalls they’ve witnessed, and the dos and don’ts of growing an AI-focused venture. 

A great success, the Themed Accelera’s first session demonstrated the need for this program, and the continued ability of this model’s ability to deliver crucial advisement and support for ventures racing to meet ever-changing healthcare demands using cutting-edge tools. 

Interested in taking part? Existing H2i ventures can discuss with their Lead Mentor. Interested in becoming a venture to have access to this program and more? Complete H2i’s application form, or contact us at to learn more!