Ignite Healthcare Network’s Fifth Annual Fire Pitch Competition Heats Up

3 Minute Read

(Houston, Texas March 03, 2022) – Eight women-led digital health startups have been selected as finalists in the Fifth Annual Fire Pitch Competition hosted by the Ignite Healthcare Network, a nonprofit organization of women executives committed to advancing innovative healthcare solutions.  The 2021 competition, which received more than 125 entries from across the United States and several other countries, will be held Thursday, March 3rd at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute, 2450 Holcombe Blvd. beginning at 5 p.m. 

“The fifth year of Fire Pitch has proved to be as exciting as the first with women from around the world coming together to showcase what it means to redefine the healthcare industry” said Ayse McCracken, Ignite founder.  “We accepted 32 applicants into our unique accelerator program that provides women entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers and investors as well as receiving direct feedback from industry experts on how best to continue to grow and improve their companies. The eight finalists were selected from the 32-company cohort participating in the mentoring program.”

In addition to investment prizes awarded on the 3rd (totaling over $750,000) each of the eight finalists have participated in the Fire Pitch Partner Program that pairs competing women entrepreneurs with organizations representing their potential customers and investors. Participating Partner organizations have included Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann Health System, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, The Menninger Clinic, Banner Health, Kindred Healthcare, Aetna, Commonwealth Health System, BLUE KC, Hospital for Special Surgery, Summit Health, TMC, Texas Heart Institute, Golden Seeds, Wavemaker 360 Health, Prosalus, 7Wire, Texas Halo Fund, Unity Point Ventures and others.

Finalists presenting at the 2021 Fire Pitch competition are:

  • Akhila Srinath, MD CMO and Co-Founder, Care Interface (Boston, MA)
  • Wendy Ward, President, FuturesTHRIVE (Darien, CT)
  • Stine Sorensen, COO and Co-Founder, Radiobotics (Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark)
  • Jessica Walsh, CEO and Founder, RxBandz (Norwell, MA)
  • Mara McFadden, CEO, Endolumik (Morgantown, WV)
  • Somer Baburek, CEO and Co-Founder, Hera Biotech (San Antonio, TX)
  • Kate Dilligan, CEO and Founder, Cooler Heads (San Diego, CA)
  • Therese Canares, MD, CEO and Founder, CurieDX (Baltimore, MD) 


A panel of seven accomplished judges bringing high-level industry and investor experience to the competition will determine the first, second and third-place Fire Pitch winners. They include:

  • Myra Davis, SVP and Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Jay Goss, MBA General Partner, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health
  • Amanda Hammel, Chief Information Officer, Memorial Hermann Health System
  • Tom Luby, Ph. D, Director, Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute
  • Fiona Mack, PhD, Head of JLABS @TMC
  • Roberta Schwartz, PhD, EVP and Chief Innovation Officer, Houston Methodist Hospital
  • Andrew Truscott, Managing Director for Health and Public Service, Accenture

“We are grateful for the support and generosity of our sponsors for helping to make this event possible,” said Cheryl Stavins, Ignite board member and co-chair of the event. “Their support and involvement continue to ignite our mission and passion to ensure the success and recognition of women entrepreneurs in healthcare.”

This year’s roster of sponsors includes TMC, Accenture, Cooley, Equitas Health Ventures, Intel, JP Morgan, Morgan Lewis, Next Level Urgent Care, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Hermann, Methodist, Epidarex, McKinsey, The Menninger Clinic.

Ignite’s Annual Fire Pitch Competition has provided over $1.2 million in investment prizes to participating startups in the last two years.  The event is open to the public and tickets are available through the organization’s website. For tickets and more information, visit www.ignitehealthcare.org.

# # #



The Ignite Healthcare Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the prevalence, proficiency and innovation of women leaders from all facets of influence on healthcare. Its by-invitation membership represents a broad spectrum of leaders, including healthcare executives, entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, as well as specialized advisors, and consultants each with a passion for shaping a promising healthcare future. For more information about Ignite, please visit www.ignitehealthcare.org.


Back to top