Conquer Accelerator Announces First Grand Rapids Cohort

Posted Oct 6th, 2020

Michigan-based accelerator provides funding, mentorship and network opportunities to emerging entrepreneurs

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Conquer Accelerator announces its first-ever Grand Rapids season and fall 2020 cohort. The 10-week accelerator welcomes five selected teams to its Grand Rapids program: Airway Innovations, Building Catalyst, FirstIgnite, Lawnbot, and The Patient Company.

Conquer Accelerator helps entrepreneurs successfully build and launch a viable company,” said Thomas Stewart, Conquer Accelerator Program Manager. “I think the Grand Rapids cohort is a great representation of the talent in the region and I'm looking forward to helping push these businesses to the next level."

Conquer Accelerator is a collaborative effort made possible through partnerships with parent organization Michigan State University Foundation and its subsidiaries Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, Michigan Rise, and University Corporate Research Park (UCRP) as well as sponsorships from Foster Swift, Axios HR, and Spectrum Health. Originated in East Lansing, the accelerator program supports rising startups by providing $20,000 in funding, access to 40+ mentors, access to follow-on funding, and other essential resources.  With collaboration between the Grand Rapids SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (Grand Rapids LDFA) and the Conquer Accelerator team, the program aims to expand community and corporate outreach as well as support for startups in the area.

“We are happy to launch the first Conquer Accelerator cohort in Grand Rapids and look forward to the impact the companies will have on our economy,” said Jeremiah Gracia, Director of Economic Development with the City of Grand Rapids.

In addition to receiving up to $20,000 in seed funding, selected startups receive tailored mentorship from leaders within their respective industries, entrepreneurship training, as well as access to a network of angel and venture investors. Once companies move on from the accelerator, they become part of Red Cedar Ventures’ investment portfolio where they continue to receive support and guidance.

“We have an outstanding cohort of companies, strong collaboration with the local community and the launch of the Conquer Accelerator Diversity in Entrepreneurship program,” said Jeff Wesley, Red Cedar Ventures Executive Director. 

Conquer Accelerator launched its first internship program, Conquer Accelerator Diversity in Entrepreneurship (CADE). The program aims to increase diversity within the entrepreneurial community by hiring young professionals from various ethnicities and backgrounds to collaborate with selected teams. Frank Urban, the program’s director, says that CADE is the first step towards increasing diversity and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Since 2015, Conquer Accelerator has successfully launched 20 active startups. Those companies have gone on to raise $3M+ in additional funding. “Our portfolio of companies have been selected into TechStars, some have successfully exited, and other established companies have created jobs in their own community,” continued Wesley. “An investment in great leaders has been the hallmark of this program.”

2020’s Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids Season One Teams:

  • Airway Innovations designs and develops advanced airway management solutions, including TubeTrac™, the Oral Tracheal tube holder designed to prevent unplanned extubations.
  • Building Catalyst is an SaaS platform that more accurately predicts and guides construction outcomes at a fraction of the effort compared to current practices.  
  • FirstIgnite has built AI-powered business development tools that help the trillions of dollars worth of uncommercialized research and intellectual property get to market.
  • Home service companies of all sizes —from startups to enterprise—use Lawnbot’s software to give instant proposals, make online sales, and grow their businesses online. 
  • The Patient Company has perfected the lateral patient transfer process through the development and production of SimPull™ the first fully automated lateral patient transfer device.

Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids runs virtually from September 14th – November 20th. For more information about the teams, visit


About Conquer Accelerator

Launched in 2016, Conquer Accelerator has invested over $600K into its startups. From streetwear to AI-assisted language learning, Conquer Accelerator accepts committed entrepreneurs who are ready to take their startups to the next level. Bringing together business and industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and university experts—not to mention angel and venture investors—Conquer alums have access to a powerful network. Learn more at