CareQuest Innovation Partners and MATTER Announce ACCELERATE, an Exclusive Funding Opportunity for SMILE Alumni to Accelerate Impact

SMILE Health Alumnus Grin Is First Startup to Receive Funding through New Program


April 16, 2024 (BOSTON and CHICAGO) — CareQuest Innovation Partners, a company focused on validating and scaling solutions to improve overall health through oral health, in partnership with MATTER, the premier health care incubator and innovation hub, today announced ACCELERATE, an exclusive funding opportunity for alumni of the SMILE Health accelerator program.

Grin, an innovative startup with a unique digital oral care solution, is the first recipient of funding through the new program. Grin expanded its solution’s application from orthodontics to preventative care for underserved children and elderly populations as part of SMILE Health 2023. Now, through ACCELERATE, Grin will continue to test and scale its solution with the potential to benefit millions more underserved people through schools, long-term care facilities, and clinics focused on serving Medicaid populations.

“As a convener of mission-aligned organizations, CareQuest Innovation Partners is deeply committed to building and activating its ecosystem of innovators to make a more accessible, equitable, and integrated health care system,” said Katie D’Amico, VP of Growth & Innovation at CareQuest Innovation Partners. “With innovation, momentum matters. ACCELERATE builds on the momentum from SMILE Health by providing startups funding and other resources to advance projects with leading organizations, together shaping the future of health care and positively impacting entire communities.”

Unlike other funding opportunities that typically require an equity stake in return for capital, ACCELERATE promotes a virtuous cycle to drive further innovation and create a better health care system for all. Participating alumni will be asked, but not required, to “pay it forward” by repaying the funds they received from ACCELERATE within three years of completing their project. Repaid funds will go back into the program and used to support future SMILE alumni.

“The funding landscape in health care is challenging and competitive, and exclusive funding opportunities like what we are offering with ACCELERATE can help entrepreneurs better position themselves for future funding and partnerships,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “We look forward to seeing the evolution of this program and guiding SMILE Health alumni through their next phases of growth.”

To receive funds, startups must be alumni of the SMILE Health program and receive commitment from an industry leader to collaborate on the proposed project. ACCELERATE applicants can request up to $50,000 in funding for their project. Grin was selected as the inaugural recipient of ACCELERATE because of its commitment to increasing oral health care access for multiple underserved patient populations.

“SMILE Health opened the door to market opportunities we always knew would be a great fit for our technology but hadn’t yet proven it out. Our industry partner provided insights to help focus our strategy and care for chronically underserved patient populations,” said Dr. Adam Schulhof, CEO and Founder of Grin. “Through ACCELERATE, we are now able to operationalize this new market focus, deepen our relationships with industry partners, and quickly advance our business priorities.”

This announcement follows the 2024 SMILE Health application launch and provides an added benefit to current and future SMILE Health alumni and partners. SMILE Health is a 12-week accelerator program for emerging startups with solutions that improve accessibility, equity, and propel the integration between oral health and overall health. SMILE Health 2024 application period is now open through May 8. To learn more, please visit


About CareQuest Innovation Partners

CareQuest Innovation Partners propels solutions that transform oral health. Together with investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, care providers, and community partners, we validate and scale new ways to improve overall health through oral health. Joined by the shared mission to improve the oral health of all, CareQuest Innovation Partners is the for-profit subsidiary of CareQuest Institute. To learn more, visit



MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, includes more than 900 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together, the MATTER community is accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.


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