The Journey Venture Studio Announces Inaugural Cohort

The Non-Profit Venture Studio Selected Three Diverse Entrepreneurs for the First Founders-In-Residence Cohort to Develop Future Disruptive Healthcare Startups in Phoenix.

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Melissa DiGianfilippo

Serendipit Consulting


PHOENIX – (August 14, 2023) – The Journey Venture Studio announced today the first three entrepreneurs who will participate in its inaugural Founder-In-Residence cohort. Members arrive in Phoenix in September 2023 and will receive eight months of culturally competent leadership coaching and venture development training along with $100,000 in direct and in-kind financial support to jumpstart their entrepreneurial journey.

The first three entrepreneurs are:

  • Imen Maaroufi Clark
  • Terrance Range
  • Ekene Nkem-Mmekam

“These three founders are embarking on their entrepreneurial journey in hopes of launching a business at the forefront of healthcare innovation with the potential to improve lives here in the Valley and across the country,” said Mark Moeremans, managing director of The Journey. “Through their time in our Founder-in-Residence program at The Journey, each entrepreneur will walk away with financial support, resources, mentorship, and programming which will allow them to develop, prototype, and potentially launch their own startups.”

The Journey received more than 50 applications and conducted 20 rounds of intensive interviews before selecting the three members of its inaugural cohort. Each chosen entrepreneur was sought out based on their talent, tenacity, ambition, and potential to lead and build new venture opportunities within the healthcare space. Founders are expected to research, prototype, and test venture concepts, set a clear vision for the business, ensure a data-informed path toward product-market fit, and manage an allocated budget for business building and validation.

During their time in the program, founders can leverage the team’s network and other community resources, along with hands-on support and mentorship through The Journey and its impressive Board. At the end of the eight-month program, founders will pitch in front of The Journey Board, investors, and partners to determine which concepts will be formally incorporated and awarded additional investment.

“Our goal with the Founder-in-Residence program is to identify, inspire, educate, and empower diverse entrepreneurs,” said Justin Bayless who serves as the president of The Journey. “In our tailored eight-month venture program, these entrepreneurs will receive intensive hands-on experience and will walk away with the skills and resources needed to be successful in the venture space.”

Imen Maaroufi Clark, born and raised in Tunisia, is an entrepreneur and technology enthusiast specializing in human-centered design and UX research methodologies. With her international experience spanning Asia, North Africa, Europe, and North America, Clark brings a rich cultural perspective to her work. She is the co-founder of Point Motion, a digital health experience that engages patients in-person or remotely, in interactive music and movement-based activities.   

Terrance Range, born and raised in Plant City, Fla., is a visionary entrepreneur and social impact operator with more than 15 years of diverse industry experience. With his expertise in venture capital, Range is a venture partner at Republic and is the Director for the Kirchner Foundation’s HBCU Impact Investing initiative. He previously founded Myndful, a fintech platform that democratized financial wellness for thousands of university students in the UK and across Europe.

Ekene Nkem-Mmekam, born in Nigeria and raised in Baltimore, is a software engineer passionate about social impact with more than six years of experience engaging senior stakeholders at both early-stage startups and large multinational corporations. While in college, he co-founded Womentum, a nonprofit micro-lending platform that supported female entrepreneurs around the world. Nkem-Mmekam currently works as a creative technologist at Athletics, where he has built digital experiences for clients like NYU, The Nation, and Guild Education.

The Journey Venture Studio is a mission-driven venture studio building disruptive healthcare companies in partnership with the next generation of diverse founders. Its mission is to close the racial and gender opportunity gap by empowering diverse founders to pursue entrepreneurship while providing resources and support to increase their odds of success. 

The Journey Venture Studio

The Journey, a Phoenix-based 501c3 not-for-profit entity, is a venture studio creating and launching healthcare companies to be led by underrepresented founders.  With a mission to launch healthcare companies aimed at improving health outcomes while creating opportunities for historically underrepresented entrepreneurs from around the country through a tailored venture fellowship, The Journey will activate a new generation of diverse founders; leveling the playing field and bringing world-changing healthcare solutions and technology to life.