Tag: MEDICA

Among 15 startups pitching at this years MEDICA App Competition, the top three chosen solutions are Kaia, air and iSikCure.

Kaia is a mobile app addressing back pain by using AI to guide patients through therapy and selected exercises which are moderated through camera observation of the users posture.

air is a smartphone app with a connected spirometer guiding users through spirometry measurements. It is meant to be used either by asthma patients or by physicians during patient examinations.

The winning solution on the competition was iSikCure papp, connecting patients to healthcare providers and using a special reward points system creating a new way to pay for health services and encouraging medication adherence.

iSikCure is the winner of MEDICA App Competition 2017.

See all 15 startups pitching at the competition here.

325,000 mHealth apps already on the market

In the pre-competition program different topic on mHealth development were discussed. Ralf-Gordon Jahns presented the latest Research2Guidance research findings on mHealth market. At the moment, the estimated number of mHealth apps is 325,000, with health insurers becoming an increasingly important distribution channel for scaling. mHealth apps still face the problem of monetisation and 55% of apps have less than 5,000 downloads, was mentioned. Full report is freely available here.

What’s the deal with mHealth apps?

In the panel on the state of mHealth apps, with panelists

  • Muthu Singaram, CEO IIT Madras HTIC Incubator & Founder of VibaZone,
  • Klaus Stöckemann, Managing Partner at Peppermint Venture Partners,
  • Tjaša Zajc, Host of Medicine Today on Digital Health Podcast and Strategic Healthcare Partnerships Manager at IRYO.IO,
  • Lars Buch, Managing Director of StartupBootcamp Digital Health Berlin,
  • Jesus del Valle, Head of Bayers Grants4Apps Accelerator and moderator
  • Maren Leche, Startup-Expert, Mentor and eHealth-Advisor,

different reasons for low mHealth apps adoption and user retention were mentioned. An important critical point of apps is that they remind users of their sickness, which can be discouraging for continued use. This is one of the recognised reasons for a lot of B2C apps failing in the last years. A lot of them shifted to B2B2C business models.

mHealth App market assessment panel

Since payments in healthcare are shifting in the direction of outcomes and value based payments, apps are becoming increasingly interesting for Pharma companies offering their patients additional support and value through platforms and apps.

In terms of trends, voice recognition solutions are attracting interest, alongside expectations that app usage will increase with an improved experience provided by solutions coming from big corporations such as Google, Amazon and Apple, which have detailed knowledge about what works in customer engagement which could potentially be translated in to healthcare.

FTR4H is going to SXSW!

Wednesdays program at the Connected Healthcare Forum at MEDICA Trade Fair, prepared by Future for Health Community, was this years last FTR4H event. Next years roadshow includes presence in USA, India, China and Germany.

The first event in 2018 will be a conference program a SXSW festival, one of the top global tech events, attracting leading tech companies from the US and abroad. We are proud to be a part of it as it presents a valuable opportunity to meet tech savy entrepreneurs from different industries, allowing a step out of the digital health bubble and enabling formation of new ideas for the healthcare space. More information will be published soon. If you’re interested in participating as a company, do not hesitate to contact us!

The FTR4H jury (see below) selected the 15 startups which will be pitching on November 15th at MEDICA Trade Fair in Düsseldorf.

Join us LIVE at MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM in hall 15, on Wednesday, 15 November from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm during MEDICA runtime including a Get-Together.

Jury members:

  • Dr. Ashish Atreja, Chief Technology Innovation and Engagement Officer at Mount Sinai Health System (USA)
  • Dr. med. Urs-Vito Albrecht, MPH, Deputy Director (Germany)
  • Dr. Jesus del Valle, Head of Bayer Grants4Apps Accelerator (Germany)
  • Harsha Jagasia, Chief Operating Officer at Startupbootcamp Digital Health (Germany)
  • Ralf-Gordon Jahns, Managing Director at research2guidance (Germany)
  • Maren Lesche, Startup Advisor, Co-Founder YourStory Germany and Ecosystem Manager at etventure (Germany)
  • Muthu Singaram, CEO of Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) (India)
  • Dr. Klaus Stöckemann, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Peppermint VenturePartners GmbH (Germany)
  • Mirko Whitfield, Head of Business Development for EMEA & Asia at SXSW (USA)
  • Tjaša Zajc, Digital Health Journalist (Slovenia)

 

Full program:

03:00 – 03:05 p.m.
Opening of the 6th MEDICA App COMPETITION
Christian Grosser, Deputy Director MEDICA

03:05 – 03:15 p.m.
The Promise of m-Health in Africa – Hope, Hype, or Hustle?
Dr. Moka Lantum, MD, MS, CEO, MicroClinic Technologies

03:15 – 03:25 p.m.
SXSW festival & MedTech – an inspiring fusion
Mirko Whitfield, International Development SXSW EMEA & Asia

03:25 – 04:35 p.m.
Live-Pitch of 15 App-based Medical Mobile Solutions
3 minutes pitch & 2 minutes Q&A each

04:35 – 04:50 p.m.
Live Deliberation of Jury & Presentation of Decision
Maren Lesche, Jury Captain MEDICA App COMPETITION

04:50 – 05:00 p.m.
Award Ceremony
Dr. med. Urs-Vito Albrecht, Group Leader PLRI MedAppLab, Hannover Medical School (MHH)

From 05:00 p.m. Reception & Drinks at US Pavilion in Hall 16
Welcome note by Joachim Schäfer, MD of Messe Düsseldorf

 

Who will be rocking the stage from 3.25 p.m. on?

  1. Air

    Air is the mobile app (available on both iOS and android) connected to our ultraportable spirometer, Air Smart, market leader in the hand-held spirometry market. The Air app allows physicians perform a spirometry test in a fraction of the time it takes to perform a spirometry test compared to desktop spirometers. More importantly, the Air app helps physicians in managing multiple patients at the same time, so that they can better prioritize their work. More: www.nuvoair.com

  2. AMBOSS Knowledge

    AMBOSS offers an interdisciplinary perspective on all medical specialties. Whether providing physicians with information to assist them in their daily routines or preparing medical students for exams, AMBOSS’ team of more than 50 physicians provide carefully curated, cross-checked and up-to-date content. More: www.miamed.de/

  3. Butterfly (Salubrious)

    Butterfly – Your Thyroid Diary is a mobile app for people with thyroid conditions in need of keeping track of a wealth of information to get the right course of treatment, including symptom and food diaries, medication schedules, and private test results. More: getbutterfly.net

  4. Clinivid (Health Care Innovate)

     

    Clinivid is a cloud-based communication platform that helps all clinicians to share patient information securely from their mobile phones and across all platforms. Clinivid has been designed by industry experts to fit clinical workflows. More: clinivid.com.au

  5. Cupris Health

    Cupris enables doctors to discuss patient cases remotely and patients to receive diagnoses and advice from doctors without having to see a doctor in person. Cupris has developed smartphone connected medical devices and a secure software communication platform (app and web platform). This reduces unnecessary and expensive face to face consultations in developed countries, and extends medical expertise to those living in remote areas in developing countries who otherwise would have no access to care. More: http://www.cupris.com/

  6. Femisphere (Onelife Health)

    Femisphere is a medically-certified, smart healthcare companion, allowing mothers-to-be to monitor their vital signs on a daily basis and providing them with medically verified advice, guidance and reassurance whenever they need. More: www.onelife.me

  7. imitoCam

    imitoCam is a system for visual capturing, documentation and communication of medical findings, special cases and the healing progress of patients‘ diseases and injuries. Photos and videos are instantly and securely stored into the hospital‘s image archive, and available in the EMR. Second opinion and feedback can easily be discussed among the team and colleagues via team chat. More: www.imito.io

  8. iSikCure

    iSikCure enables users to access healthcare by matching them to service providers who can then be paid by one of 6 ways – cash, credit card, mobile money, MedCoins, Self-help group wallet or employer wallets. Users earn MedCoins for creating a detailed medical profile, adherence to treatment, ask and sharing medical tips in the app, and for referring iSikCure to peers and family. iSikCure leverages the data in the patient records to create the best match with available providers in a given market, thus ensuring better quality of care.  More: www.isikcure.com

  9. Kaia (US)

    Mind-body therapy against back pain.The app identifies the optimal path for patients based on their individual patient journeys, directs them to the right specialist at the right time, and facilitate self help with the Kaia App. More: www.kaia-health.com

  10. LOLA

    LOLA App is a digital health & emergency assistant for mobile devices that allows users to monitor their health 24/7 and to automatically get help in case of emergency (falls, loss of consciousness, epileptic seizures). LOLA monitors health-relevant factors – pulse, sleep, step count, activity levels and occurrence of fatigue, automatically recognizes abnormal patterns (falls and epileptic seizures) and alerts the pre-defined emergency contacts by call and SMS providing GPS location information. More: www.qolware.com

  11. Medicus AI

    Medicus converts health data with its cryptic numbers and medical language into a visual experience with easy-to-understand health insights and actionable recommendations. It empowers patients to easily understand their medical and health info and see how they fit within their overall health profile. More: medicus.ai

  12. Moodpath (Aurora Health)

    Aurora Health is a Berlin-based technology company developing digital solutions to improve the detection and treatment of mental health disorders. The company’s solutions comprise of Moodpath, a consumer-friendly mobile depression screening and improvement program, and Aurora, the underlying platform to support healthcare practitioners in diagnostic, therapeutic and administrative processes. More: www.moodpath.io

  13. myAirCoach

    An app with advanced algorithms for better Asthma and COPD control, with an holistic overview of patient’s status. myAirCoach has developed a prototype click-on for patient’s inhaler that potentially improves inhaler usage by up to 70%. Observational study is already referred to by the UK based NICE standard. More: www.myair.coach

  14. RxUniverse (Rx.Health)

    Rx.Health’s flagship product, RxUniverse, is the first enterprise-based Digital Medicine delivery system that enables physicians to prescribe evidence-based mobile health applications, multi-media education, wearables, and therapeutics to patients at the point of care. More: http://rx.health

  15. Thinklabs Wave

Thinklabs Wave captures body sounds from Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope for recording, sharing live around the bedside for a unique medical education experience, remote live sharing for telemedicine/home monitoring, uploading to cloud systems for building signal libraries for machine learning and diagnostic purposes. More: http://thinklabs.com/

Are YOU Going To Shine At MEDICA APP COMPETITION?

The world’s leading trade fair for the medical industry, taking place in Düsseldorf between 13 – 16 November 2017, is approaching fast! Did you apply for MEDICA App Competition yet?  

More than 5,100 exhibitors and 127,000 visitors are coming to MEDICA. For digital health enthusiasts, Hall 15 will be the place to be. This is where the MEDICA App competition will take place, accompanied by keynotes and a debate from experts from around the globe. Check out the program below. And if you haven’t done so yet, apply for the MEDICA App competition. The deadline is September 30th! 

Future For Health in looking forward to your company!

When: Wednesday, November 15 2017, 02:00 to 06:00 pm

Where: MEDICA fairground, hall 15, booth 15C24, CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM

MEDICA Panel 2016

PROGRAM 2017

02:00 – 02:05 How Mobile, IOT, Data and AI transform Healthcare – A new platform of MEDICA Mark Wächter, FTR4H Chief Evangelist

02:05 – 02:15 Global Mobile Health App Market Report 2018 Ralf-Gordon Jahns, Managing Director research2guidance

02:15 – 02:30 Adopting Digital Healthcare Solutions in Developing Regions Muthu Singaram, CEO IIT Madras HTIC Incubator & Founder VibaZone

02:30 – 03:00 Global status in Medical Mobile Solutions (Panel Discussion) Lars Buch, Managing Director Startupbootcamp Digital Health, Tjaša Zajc, Digital Health Evangelist & Journalist, Dr. Jesus del Valle, Head of Bayer Grants4Apps Accelerator, Muthu Singaram, CEO IIT Madras HTIC Incubator & Founder VibaZone, Dr. Klaus Stöckemann, Managing Partner Peppermint Venture Partners, Moderator: Maren Lesche, Startup-Expert, Mentor and eHealth-Advisor

03:00 – 03:05 6th MEDICA App COMPETITION: Intro Christian Grosser, Deputy Director MEDICA

03:05 – 03:15 The Promise of m-Health in Africa – Hope, Hype, or Hustle? Moka Lantum, MD, PhD, MS; CEO MicroClinic Technologies

03:15 – 03:20 SXSW festival & MedTech – an inspiring fusion Mirko Whitfield, International Development SXSW EMEA & Asia

03:20 – 04:35 Live-Pitch of 15 Medical Mobile Solutions 3 minutes pitch & 2 minutes Q&A each

04:35 – 04:50 Live Deliberation of Jury & Presentation of Decision Maren Lesche, Jury Captain MEDICA App COMPETION

04:50 – 05:00 Award Ceremony Dr. med. Urs-Vito Albrecht, Group Leader PLRI MedAppLab, Hannover Medical School

05:00 – 06:00 Drinks Reception & Celebration of the Winners

FTR4H LAB at MEDICA 2017

MEDICA:  Undisputedly the world’s most important trade show and gathering place for the medical industry worldwide.  Americans have long been a driving force behind both the quality and size of this event, on average featuring over 500 US-based companies occupying about 2 acres (or about 1½ US football fields!) of exhibit space at the Düsseldorf fairgrounds.

Over the past decade in particular, mobile, IoT and big data has emerged as perhaps the most revolutionizing dynamic in the medical industry marketplace, and the US med-tech industry not surprisingly continues to dominate the global landscape.  Some industry reports suggest digital health market revenues here may surpass $150 billion within the next 5-7 years.

In tandem, FTR4H FUTURE FOR HEALTH is an international platform powered by MEDICA that has risen alongside to highlight wireless and digital technologies – showcasing and exploring how digital transformation is affecting and will continue to drive important developments in the healthcare industry.

And now for the first time, the USA Pavilion at MEDICA 2017 will also feature a FTR4H LAB showcasing innovators and visionaries in this field.

The first company to join the FTR4H LAB is Westlake, Ohio based Blue Spark Technologies, Inc.  A pioneering developer of thin, flexible, printed power solutions,  Blue Spark Technologies’ latest innovation, TempTraq®, is the only Bluetooth® wearable continuous temperature monitor in the form of a soft patch that can continuously and comfortably monitor body temperature for up to 72 hours, sending real-time temperature data to a Hospital’s Nurse Monitoring Stations, EHR, and Smart Devices.  With TempTraq’s new TempTraq Connect HIPAA-complaint Cloud, it can also be used remotely and enable a hospital to monitor patients at home in real time.

TempTraq has been tested in the most demanding environments at leading hospitals including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center and Akron Children’s Hospital and has been clinically proven to detect fever 30 – 180 minutes earlier than a 4 Hour SOC in trials with Bone Marrow Transplant Patients (Abstracts available upon request).   TempTraq is an FDA cleared Class 2 Medical Device and by November and MEDICA, the device will be CE approved and available for both Consumer and Clinical markets in Europe.

For more information about TempTraq®, plan to visit them at MEDICA 2017 – hall 16 / stand C20-6 or contact Blue Spark Technologies / VP of Sales, Mr. John Baragar jbaragar@bluesparktechnologies.com

For more information about joining the FTR4H LAB in the USA Pavilion at MEDICA 2017, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America / Sr. Business Development Manager, Mr. Ryan Klemm rklemm@mdna.com

 

“Just creating an app does not mean you have a company. The key key question is: are you solving a problem?” These were the opening words  of Pradeep K. Jaisingh, Founder of HealthStart India, at the VC Panel at #FTR4H program at MEDICAL FAIR India in New Delhi. Panel was organised by HealthStart. The main aim was to highlight VC perspective on the digital health startups scene in India.

As said by Mr. Jaisingh, the basic background of technology needs to be that it improves the outcome. A solution needs to solve a problem and be sustainable. From the macro perspective, potential for disruptive innovation in India is big, said Mr. Jaisingh. Especially in terms of diagnostics, treatment and management of chronic diseases.

The doctor’s expectations in the near future are high. Artificial intelligence can be utilized to effectively synthesize patient information before his visit in the hospital or a doctor’s office.

What do the doctors need?

Private Equity Professional Mayur Sirdesai, Director at Somerset Indus Capital Partners, warned, the key issue in digital health technology and innovation is probability of adoption. “When a doctor has a line of patients in the waiting room, he can’t be bothered by entering data in the computer,” he mentioned. The second challenge is  payment for digital solutions. Revenue model of a startup is crucial to implementation of a solution in practice. In India, most payments are still out of pocket which might change with the development of the insurance market.

From the perspective of Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director at Cygnus Medicare, a big potential in India is in putting more effort into medical education of other specialists and healthcare providers, apart from doctors. “We are to doctor-centric. I am a big fan of personalized medicine and “ayurveda” in that sense. These sciences look at the patient as an individual while medicine takes the patient as a dataset. Ayurveda does not treat the disease,” he said.

Needs and payments

Partha Dey, Healthcare Leader and SME at IBM India mentioned the need for more collaboration: “It is clear and we agree we need to walk together and collaborate. Technology can work as a platform and our idea is to use it to solve real life problems. We are working on longterm solutions. The first issue is always the business case. What do users need? What are they prepared to pay for? A lot of startups have ideas, but struggle with translation and implementation in practice.”

Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner at IvyCap Ventures Advisors described India as a unique market because of the payment system. “In the developed world insurance takes care of healthcare. Our environment drives behaviour. Hence healthcare consumption is different compared to the rest of the world. The opportunities here are of different nature than in other countries. One thing to look at is infrastructure. Ratio of hospitals does not match population needs.”  Huge opportunities lay in financial assistance for healthcare, concluded Vikram Gupta.

Meet our startups!

8 start-ups are present at our FTR4H lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA in New Delhi. They are:

Focus 1: Children’s health

iNICU !!!WINNER OF THE #FTR4H INDIA AWARD !!!!!


iNICU stands for ‘Integrated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’. The solution is leveraging IOT and Big Data,connecting generated source data from various devices.

iNICU is a one stop workflow solution to assimilate and disseminate neonate information. The application is designed to help improve management of all responsibilities of various professionals (Nurse, Resident Doctor, Senior Doctor, Pediatrician and Administrator) involved in the care of a baby.

growupright


A solution for an important but hitherto ignored area – Student Wellness. It helps monitor, track and control  children’s wellness in school, making it easier for parents and teachers recognize struggles of specific students. This makes it easier for the carers to find ways to help students cope with their problems easier and make most of their potentials.

Focus 2: data optimization, presentation, utilization

Vertes Cloud


Empowering transformation along enterprises in various verticals, mainly in the field of Education & Learning solutions. A mixed approach with Open Source & proprietary offerings enable institutions achieve higher levels of transformation, in much affordable way.
Abda Digital


Abda Digital (a Tech Vedika Pvt. Ltd. spin off) has been establish with vision to develop innovative products specifically for the mobile and digital space. The inception of Abda in November 2015 marked commitment to focus on product ideas that could help organizations communicate with their target audiences in the best way using less time.

Focus 3: Women’s health

Doc n me

Management software for obstetricians and gynecologists is offering End-to-End Solution to all ObGyn Practice Management Challenges. This solutions offers a new way of communication between the expecting mother,  obstetricians and gynecologists. Between visits in the doctors office, the mother can ask questions with the help of a platform.

Focus 4: Cardiology, trackers, sensors

Cardiotrack


Cardiotrack brings portability to healthcare diagnostics. Cardiotrack health sensors provide clinical grade reading for 12-lead ECG, SpO2 and blood pressure. Robust design makes Cardiotrack an ideal solution for home healthcare, tele-health, doctor’s clinic, nursing home or primary healthcare.

A3RMT

This solution is altering the delivery of critical life saving health care monitoring during emergency and preventive diagnostic capabilities. This is done at a much lower price-performance points, thanks to innovative synthesis of digital signal processing, image processing, biomedical components, algorithms, wireless and communication technologies. The first sets of solutions are in the realm of wireless remote patient monitoring.

Track my beat 


TrackMyBeat is a healthcare technology and analytics company, offering a complete health and wellness management system. It focuses on the prevention of lifestyle diseases. The subscriber can proactively manage his or her health through automated alerts. The product also highlights the efficacy of various interventions and activities in improving the user’s well-being.

MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017 is approaching fast and Future For Health team (FTR4H) is very excited! Why? Because lively discussions, inspiring pitches, good energy and networking with creative people is always something to look forward to! That is exactly how our FTR4H Lab & Lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017 will look like. Join us!

Write to Bhardwaj Love (BhardwajL@md-india.com), to take part in our programme!

If you do not want to pitch, register for the “FTR4H: Digital Health futurists Reception” in Delhi on April 7th! 

FTR4H Lab & Lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017

Which VIPs will you meet at the FTR4H – Lab & Lounge event at http://www.medicalfair-india.com/

The FTR4H health lounge will be featured to the 13,000+ healthcare professionals who will be attending Medical Fair India 2017. In terms of Digital Health angels, mentors and the venture capital ecosystem, we have representatives present of companies like Bertelsmann India Invest, HealthStart, iB Hubs, Peppermint VenturePartners, pi Ventures, t-hub, Utilis Capital Advisor.

Will the Medical Fair India (MFI) floor be open to FTR4H – Lab & Lounge participants?

Yes, FTR4H is an integral part of Medical Fair India, and it will be open for MFI visitor to visit FTR4H and vice versa. MFI is expected to be attended by 13,000+ healthcare professionals.

Will the Pitch Your Solution” be open for Medical Fair India participants & visitors, or will it be restricted to FTR4H Lab & Lounge visitors & participants?

The opportunity to pitch will be restricted to FTR4H lounge participants (Sponsors, Startups) but every visitor interested in Digital Health can attend it.

Who are the Industry experts who will be moderating and judging the Digital Health Panel discussion & the “Pitch Your Solution” competition?

Pitching your solution means that you will present it to the interested public. It is a great chance to test your own story. We will not judge the pitch. For selecting the best Digital Health solution a dedicated FTR4H Award ceremony will be held on Friday afternoon April 7 at the lounge. The following names are currently aboard for hosting and guiding the pitches:

  •      Dr Vishal Bansal – Investor, Mentor, Technology Enthusiast & Docpreneur  Pradeep K. Jaisingh – Chairman HealthStart India
  •         Mark Wächter – FTR4H Chief Evangelist & Mobile Strategist
  •         Dr. Tarun Ramole – Digital Health Evangelist, Director Utilis Capital
  •         Tjaša Zajc – FTR4H Global Audience Developer & Journalist

[learn_more caption=”What is FTR4H?” state=”open”] FTR4H is an international platform, which enables discussions, meetings, dialogs and networking among thousands of Digital Health start-ups, corporations and investors, including accelerators and media from around the world. [/learn_more]

What are the parameters for presenting at “Pitch Your Solution”?

Each startup will have 5 minutes to pitch every day during the whole fair  (3 times). This is no competition, but a presentation offering you an opportunity to practice your pitch among your targeted public and get valuable feedback.

What is the format of the “Digital Health Panel” discussion? When will the topics for the discussion be made known to the participants?

Each startup has one pitch and one panel discussion per day. The panel discussion will be held with 5 startups in total plus a moderator. The topic will be decided based on represented solutions. Overall topic is how Mobile, IOT, AI and Data changes healthcare in a mobile-only country like India.

Are both the “Pitch your Solution” and “Digital Health Panel Discussion” part of the FTR4H – India competition?

No. All exhibiting startups at the FTR4H lounge automatically qualify for participation. The FTR4H India Award is a dedicated award ceremony taking place on Friday, April 7th, at 4 pm at the FTR4H lounge.

What are the benefits of the FTR4H India Award? Are there mentorship opportunities to be gained from the award? 

The winner of FTR4H will get a mentorship by HealthStart Accelerator for their upcoming Accelerator programme. FTR4H acts as a Think Tank and connector of Digital Health ecosystems in China, Europe, India, Israel and the US with the World of MEDICA. The winner of FTR4H India Award will receive a global recognition through our global initiatives and exposure on our website: www.FTR4H.org.

Who is in the audience for the Blog Post and the teasers? How big and diversified is this audience base?

The FTR4H website is promoted on all Medica Trade Fair websites corresponding with the global roadshow, therefore the attracted audience are experts from the MedTech industry from around the globe.

Startup of the Month: In 2015 the MEDICA App COMPETITION was scouting for successful mobile health startups for the fourth time. Ten early-stage startups presented their digital health apps on stage at the worlds biggest medical trade fair in Dusseldorf. At the end 2016 the winner — Israeli startup VoiceItt — announced another big milestone in their young company history: The international BIRD Foundation granted $900,000 to the development of VoiceItts mobile voice- and voice-pattern recognition software for people with disabilities. VoiceItt co-founder Danny Weissberg shared his view on their achievements after winning MEDICA App COMPETITION in 2015:

Danny, for the ones that do not know: Can you describe in a few sentences what the VoiceItt team is working on?

Danny: Voiceitt is developing an innovative speech recognition technology called Talkitt. In future, it translates non-standard speech patterns into clear speech in real time, enabling people with speech impairments to communicate spontaneously and naturally using their own voices. The solution is language-independent and can be easily integrated into existing operating systems and devices allowing speech recognition truly accessible to everyone.

You started in 2012, what happened since then?

Danny: A lot! Currently we are conducting Beta testing on dozens of potential users that show very promising results, planning to do pilot testing with Hospitals, e.g. UHealth and BCH. We will release the first product in the mid-2017. It was not an easy journey. But we were also extremely lucky to get tremendous positive feedback and could secure the necessary funding to develop such a demanding technology. To date we have raised more than $2.5M — most recently we won a grant from the Bird Foundation and a grant of 50,000 Euro from H2020 SME Instrument, Phase 1.

You have won more than $2.5; in grants and competitions without giving up much equity — much more than many other startups get from investors after years of hard work. What is your magic recipe?

Danny: We won $2M in grants but also gave up equity for $500K of Angel investments. This is no magic; it is a deliberate strategy. Developing a solution for people with disabilities is the most amazing and rewarding challenge — being able to dramatically improve and impact the lives of millions while building a very profitable business while developing cutting edge technologies. However, many investors don’t want to invest in what they see as a “Niche market”. Because of that from Day #1 on I knew we had to be creative in fundraising and put the effort more on grants\competitions were we have an advantage telling a powerful and emotional story versus private investors where we have a disadvantage of a niche market.

“We won $2M in grants but also gave up equity for $500K of Angel investments. This is no magic; it is a deliberate strategy.”

Just a few tips for fellow entrepreneurs that consider applying for grants: How long does it usually take to apply for grants?

Danny: It varies. Some are just simple web forms that takes an hour and some are long applications and processes that take’s week of work and the process make take up to a year! This is why you need to choose the “lowest hanging fruits”, where you effort is most likely to be fruitful and remember that with grants the processes are very long so make sure you have enough run rate.

Is there a complete list of competitions and grants other founders could check out?

Danny: Unfortunately, there isn’t! It also all depends on the area you are active in.

Israel is said to be the Startup Nation and many interesting digital health startups emerge from your small country. At VoiceItt, many of your investors have Israeli roots too. It looks like there is a special glue that hold together Israeli founders?

Danny: The Startup Nation has very good reputation of success and it helps getting funding from investors overseas. In our case, some investors are personally connected to the mission because they or one of their family members have speech disabilities.

You also launched your business for personal reasons?

Danny: Yes, when my grandmother had a stroke and lost her voice, it made me realize how hard it is for a person to lose this basic ability to communicate. Our app Talkitt will connect people, who have speech disabilities to the ever more voice-enabled world.
I am sure, speech recognition is going to be dominant in our life. This is how we are going to communicate not only among ourselves but with machines, computers, cars, smart homes and this is why all major companies invest in it — be it Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, IBM or Google. However, none of those companies develop a solution for people with speech disabilities.

2017 just started, what are you up to?

Danny: In 2016 we finally started Beta Testing which helps our R&D to focus on improving the technology in real-life conditions and getting the application closer to release. In 2017, we will continue pilot tests with leading hospitals to launch Talkitt worldwide — and at a very high success rate. In the last years we worked really hard to develop a product that is suitable for any kind of speech impairment. Nothing is more frustrating for people with speech issues than crushing their hopes of finally being able to communicate using their own voice by delivering a mobile app that is not tested enough. Pilot testing in Barcelona, the UK, The USA and of course your tech development in Israel. In 2016, you also attended Mobile World Congress as prize from MEDICA App COMPETITION and at Mobile World Congress you won tickets for TechCrunch Disrupt New York. Sounds like you travel a lot.

How do you cope with “living on the fast lane” all the time?

Danny: I don’t even have time to look back on how many miles I and the team travelled in 2016 — but it has been A LOT! The tough thing is not so much the traveling but the Jet-leg when traveling over the ocean.

It is said that 9 out of 10 startups struggle and die. You fought this cycle successfully so far. What advice can you give other founders that are active globally like you?

“Focus on the product development, be creative in fund sources.”

Danny, thanks for the interview and good luck in 2017!

Startup of the Month: In November 2016, Israeli startup Biop Medical successfully convinced the jury of the digital healthcare MEDICA App COMPETITION of the potential of its technology. I talked with Dalit Milo and Ilan Landesman, the two founders of the team that became runners-up at #5MAC16.

Dalit, can you describe in a few sentences what Biop Medical is about?

Dalit: Our team at Bio Medical has developed an innovative technology for identifying cancerous cells in epithelial tissue. We combine hardware and software: our real-time screening tool offers standard colposcope capabilities with state-of-the-art, enhanced features. It combines advanced, high-resolution optics with integrated micro and macro cameras and other optical elements to produce highly sensitive optical signatures for automatic identification of suspicious areas and quantification of the pre-cancer and cancer stages. Then our software comes in: the collected data is combined and analyzed using our proprietary algorithm. We are convinced that our transducer will supplement — or replace — current colposcopy technologies for cervical cancer screening.

When did you start?

Ilan: We started to think about optical signatures of cancer tissues a few years back. In 2012, we finally started to test its proof of concept. And we came a long way: In 2016, we finished safety trials, we educated our machine learning algorithm using 80 patients, and we designed our first commercial product.

“Next year, we will submit our device for FDA & CE clearance.”

How did you come up with the idea?

Dalit: We had a close friend who got misdiagnosed for cervical cancer. She passed away a couple of years ago. She is the inspiration behind Biop Medical.

MedTech is a very special field. What advice can you give other startups in MedTech?

Ilan: It’s very hard; prepare yourself for ups and downs — as in every startup and even more! Do not stop believing if you get feedback from investors like we did: Some tell you, “you are too early”. Others say, “you are too late for us”.

It looks like you are up for that challenge!?

“The people behind Biop Medical are awesome! Biop Medical is a 24/7 project. Our team is truly multidisciplinary, strongly bonded, highly motivated and fully dedicated. We have known each other for many years before Biop Medical was established. We are family!”

At the end of the year we have to look back at 2016, what numbers have been significant for Biop Medical last year? Any major investments or milestones?

Dalit: 83 has been one of the magic numbers for us in 2016! We reached 83 percent accuracy and this only by using part of our optical features. In 2017, we plan to increase accuracy to 90 percent. MEDICA was another milestone. We are getting ready to distribute our solution in Western Europe and especially Germany. Usually, we do not travel that much, since we have to be involved with the R&D work in our lab, which is located in Ramat-Gan, Israel. However, especially in future we do need to spend more time to do our clinical study in Europe and focus on fund-raising in international conferences like MEDICA. So I guess there are more milestones coming in 2017! Dalit, Ilan, thanks for the interview and CU next year at the conferences worldwide!