Program Will Give Diverse Founders $100K and Six Months of Full Time Support to Build Disruptive Healthcare Startups in Phoenix

Media Contact

Lisa Sass

Serendipit Consulting


PHOENIX – (APRIL 20, 2023) –  The Journey Venture Studio announced the launch of its first Founder-In-Residence cohort, focused on matching diverse aspiring entrepreneurs with healthcare startup concepts. The new program gives minority and women leaders the financial support, skills, and training necessary to succeed in the venture world while accounting for cultural sensitivities and challenges unique to underrepresented groups.

The Journey is on the hunt to find top talent from across the U.S., actively recruiting through college campus visits including Arizona State University, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and The Stanford Graduate School of Business, although underrepresented entrepreneurs can apply from anywhere in the U.S.

For its inaugural cohort, The Journey seeks aspiring entrepreneurs excited to explore business opportunities in one of the following healthcare focus areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Sports Medicine
  • Women’s Health
  • Aging & Elder Care
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Packaging & Supply Chain

Its first cohort is set to start Sept. 1 and applications are now open through May 5. To be eligible to participate, entrepreneurs must be prepared to move to Phoenix for the six-month program; $100,000 of direct and in-kind financial support is provided to relocate to Phoenix and prototype and test venture concepts.

Aspiring entrepreneurs will go through a rigorous interview process. Once a founder is accepted, they will be set off on an intensive growth program designed to jump-start a new venture. During their time in the program, founders can leverage the team’s network and other community resources. The Journey will provide hands-on support, investment, mentorship, and programming, allowing founders to develop, prototype, and scale their startups. At the end of the six-month residence program, founders will pitch in front of The Journey Board, sponsors, and partners to determine which concepts will receive additional funding to go to market.

“Entrepreneurship is a critical pathway for closing the wealth gap and central to opportunity in our country, yet many of our best and brightest aren’t pursuing that path because of a host of systemic barriers; lack of access to capital, mentorship, and training being just a few of them” said Mark Moeremans, Managing Director of The Journey and former Senior Vice President of entrepreneurship and venture development for the Arizona Commerce Authority. “That is what The Journey Venture Studio is here to do. We are here to remove the obstacles that have historically prevented the success of diverse entrepreneurs.”

The Journey is the brainchild of Moeremans and healthcare entrepreneur and investor, Justin Bayless, who recently exited Bayless Integrated Healthcare, a family business he scaled and grew from six employees to 600 employees and to nine locations prior to selling the majority stake to a Fortune 25 healthcare company in 2020.

“Unlike an accelerator or incubator, a venture studio doesn’t fund existing startups. It’s a company that creates multiple startups in house, then partners with entrepreneurs to grow them,” said Bayless who serves as President of The Journey Venture Studio. “Our goal with the Founder-in-Residence program is to identify, inspire, educate, and empower diverse entrepreneurs in our tailored six-month venture program to increase their odds of success and give them a real chance to swing for the fences.”

The Founder-In-Residence program also provides opportunities for investors and philanthropists to get involved. For investors, the studio offers a new source of high-quality deal flow in the healthcare space. As a 501c3 not-for-profit, the studio offers a unique opportunity for philanthropists and donors to support a mission-driven organization at the cross section of racial justice, health equity, and leadership development and education while simultaneously offering early visibility into portfolio companies for potential investment. 

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.