Small business innovation research program provides seed funding for R&D

MEDICAL ALLEY, MINNESOTA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 – Odonata Health, Inc., a start-up company launched with the Mayo Clinic Ventures Entrepreneur in Residence program, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $255,000 to advance the development of the Odonata Artificial Intelligence (AI) based wearable fetal heart rate monitor for use in fitness and exercise environments. This is an important milestone for the company, as it validates the problem Odonata is targeting improving maternal and fetal health with a data-driven approach.

The proposed innovation will provide clinical researchers improved tools to enable creation of evidence-based guidelines relating to the impact of maternal exercise on the developing baby. This will enable healthcare professionals to provide physiologically relevant advice to pregnant mothers as to how much exercise (and at what intensity) they can safely perform.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

“Fetal monitoring systems used in pregnancy are based on antiquated technologies developed in the 1960s,” said Ann Holder, CEO of Odonata Health. “These outdated systems are bulky, low-tech and can produce inaccurate or incomplete data. Fetal monitoring has not kept up with advancements in technology, including the application of advanced AI to maternal and fetal data. We believe these advanced data tools have great promise for applications related to this important segment of our population, particularly for pregnant mothers who want to safely exercise. I want to thank Dr. Linda Szymanski, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist with an expertise in exercise and pregnancy, and Mayo Clinic for collaborating with us in this research and the NSF for their recognition that we’re on the right track.”

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit

About Odonata Health, Inc.

Odonata Health is dedicated to improving the experience and outcomes of pregnant women via novel technology that accurately measures maternal and fetal vital statistics during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Odonata is developing a wearable, textile-based product to measure key vital statistics of women and their developing fetus. Odonata is committed to improving maternal and fetal health outcomes and working to ensure access to its technology in traditionally under-served communities. Odonata Health products are not yet cleared by the U.S. FDA.