Vogt Awards Accelerate Growth for Health Tech Startup
When Julia Regan decided to apply for the Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards, she and her co-founder, Brad Allen, were beginning to develop the business plan for RxLightning Inc., a startup that streamlines the enrollment process for all types of specialty medications, such as cancer drugs. A complex, manual process that used to take weeks is now automated, thanks to the company’s groundbreaking technology. Vital medications are shipped out to patients in just days, sometimes even hours.
RxLightning is a true innovator and disrupter in the health care space. But it was just an idea when Regan submitted her Vogt application in May 2020. The company was incorporated in January, right before the pandemic hit, and the founders were working toward their first capital raise.
“The reasons I applied were twofold — I was a first-time founder looking for guidance from people in the startup ecosystem,” says Regan. “And two, because we were self-funded, the $25,000 non-dilutive funding gave us some capital to fund the business until we were able to do our first raise.”
The Vogt program proved to be exactly what RxLightning needed to get the business off the ground and position it to soar. And soar, it has.
Since becoming a Vogt Award recipient, the company closed a $3 million seed round led by venture capital firm HealthX Ventures. RxLightning was one of seven startups chosen for the nationally recognized 2020 XLerateHealth.
It’s also among a handful of health care and life sciences companies selected for the Microsoft for Startups global accelerator program. Most recently, the company was awarded Tech Product of the Year and Startup of the Year at TechPoint’s “Best of Tech” Mira Awards in April.
“I’ve got 25 full-time employees right now, and we’re getting ready to grow to about 60 by Q1 of 2023,” Regan says. “So, we’re in high-growth mode. I can’t say more great things about the program and how it helped accelerate everything for us as a company.”
Reaping the Benefits
Regan says the $25,000 Vogt Awards grant was pivotal funding because it allowed her company to pursue a key industry certification. But she’s quick to add she got so much more from the program than money.
“It really helped accelerate our thinking around go-to-market strategy, pricing and fundraising,” she says. “The mentorship and the coaching put me on the path to handle some of the larger pitch conversations and secure additional capital and close partnerships.”
The company raised its initial $1 million in less than 30 days during the Vogt program. Not only that, Regan met two of RxLighting’s initial investors — one during the interview process, and the other was a coach in the accelerator program.
Setting Others Up for Success
Regan says that when she looks back on her Vogt experience, she felt like a bit of an imposter at the beginning, but the program really pushed her and built her confidence.
“I think every founder feels like an imposter until they don’t, and the coaching and guidance early on really set me up to grow and have success very quickly,” she says.
To other founders who might be feeling a bit of that imposter syndrome, Regan says to take things one step at a time — and apply for this year’s cohort.
“The Vogt organization has been providing support to founders for 22 years, and there’s no better way to start because it’s really low risk — it’s just a little bit of time that they need to commit to the pitch,” she says. “And if they get accepted, they’ll get the coaching and the mentorship along with the community support and non-dilutive funding.”
“The startup community genuinely cares about helping founders and setting them up for success and they will put in as much time as the founders are willing to put in,” Regan adds. “And that could potentially change the trajectory of a company.”
If you’re ready to change the trajectory of your early-stage startup, apply for this year’s Vogt Awards by May 31.