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Best of | HealthTech & BioTech

X-Europe startups are central to everything we do. Experts in their field, with motivated teams and serial achievers, members of our community whom we want to highlight while sharing insights to help other founders grow. We asked our Healthtech startups, - who are working on diverse solutions such as the next generation of hospital beds, drug discovery, medicine adherence, skincare, and more - how they manage their milestones, what wins they have under their belt, how they would advise other startups and provide some tips to other founders.

Success in the Healthtech domain is a tougher ask than in many others. With long development times, higher costs, regulatory hurdles, and a great deal of expertise required, running a healthtech startup is tough. With so many years from idea to market its important to celebrate milestones. We asked our startups what some of their key milestones have been and many are in that pre-market phase:

Our biggest milestones so far are the clinical validation of our CineECG technology both for the detection of Brugada Syndrome and the validation of identifying abnormal ECG patterns with COVID19 patients. ECG Excellence

Ably has hit a number of milestones, securing multiple rounds of funding, completed studies with international clinical partners, and built a strong and diverse team. We are closing in on commercial launch in Europe, and the main challenge is (as it probably is for most startups) finalising the product and shifting the company from an R&D-based company to a fully commercial enterprise. Ably Medical

We could evaluate our approach together with the University of Latvia and could show the real impact that our solution can have on vaccine production scaling. The success of this pilot project allowed us to start a project together with a vaccine development company. RT Safe

On Milestones

We see that early milestones are important signposts on the road to a successful product. When working in an industry with slow development it's important to celebrate every win, build momentum and inspire the team and future partners about your potential. It can all pay off in the end:

The first big milestone has been the distribution of our first product, TOMMI, dedicated to pediatric patients in hospitals in Italy. It was the first time our vision became real and able to change the life of patients in hospitals. Softcare Studios

[Getting] the world's largest pharmaceutical company as our customer, launch a 3-part product, get medical certification. Popit

[Working] with largest FMCG companies and providing skin diagnostics for several skin care and skin health brands worldwide. Triumf Health

Our solutions now manage 25% of the UK's cancer patients receiving radiotherapy, which is a milestone of which we are very proud. More recently, we were selected as one of the companies supporting the rollout of the Covid vaccine in the UK. We have since taken thousands of bookings from patients, which is really exciting. Cievert

Seeing the fruits of long labours highlights the importance of perseverance and dedication. Take your time to celebrate the journey as well as the destination.

On Impact

Healthcare innovation, like in so many other industries has accelerated in recent years, seeing massive growth in technical capability, understanding of the challenges, and new opportunities provided by technologies we use every day. New therapeutic areas, support solutions, and possibilities are opened up every year with startups and established players quickly rushing in to address the opportunities. Startups however can move faster and can focus in on particular issues. We asked our community what kind of impact they are having so far with their solutions:

Data in healthcare exists in vast quantities, but unfortunately, it is of poor quality for any use other than delivering treatment directly to a patient. What we've done is developed digital solutions that are used by clinicians and happen to capture data in a rich, structured way. Cievert

Frequent and continuous usage of medical devices (MD) attached to the skin often causes severe skin injuries to the patient known as MARSI (Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries) due to the aggressive peeling of the current medical adhesives that are vicious, chemical, and glue-based materials. As a solution, BestHealth4U developed its first product, Bio2Skin, a bio-based medical adhesive that disrupts the current concept of adhesives as it is glue-less and doesn't "stick" to the skin. BestHealth4U

Popit improves medication adherence, a major problem that costs lives and needlessly increases healthcare expenditure. Patients' medication taking data is also accessible to healthcare professionals in real time. Popit

By reducing the time and costs for the development and scaling of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals xT smart_DoE has a huge impact on the health sector and could be crucial to react fast to the next viral outbreak or health emergency. Exponential Technologies Ltd.

A vibrant and rich landscape of solutions is emerging in the industry tackling significant issues for patients, pharmaceuticals, doctors, and administrators in the healthcare domain.

Programs like X-Europe in many cases offer more than just services. They offer advice, expertise, and exposure to new ideas that can drive developments and changes within businesses. The story of a startup is rarely a linear straight line - with lots of pivots, adjustments and focusing until a final market fit is found. After all one of the largest companies coming out of the Netherlands in recent years - Adyen - went through several iterations before focusing on digital payments and cementing their position as the first Dutch tech Unicorn. X-Europe participants have seen changes as well:

Before joining X-Europe we did not have a clear vision regarding the product definitions and the priorities in launching at different user groups. We have now chosen to have two main product lines with each distinct targeted user groups. ECG Excellence

The product is evolving all the time to keep it fun and engaging for children, so it also happened during the programme. But our story evolved the most during the programme and our marketing efforts are now much more meaningful. Triumf Health

When we enrolled in the program, our greatest focus was on skincare, now we actively expand in skin health and medical dermatology.

Prior to X-Europe, we were focused on the UK, and in particular the NHS. Since joining X-Europe, we have started to work across Europe, securing contracts with multinationals looking to implement our solutions outside of the UK. Cievert

Accelerator programs like X-Europe (and indeed, the intensive acceleration week that X-Europe provides with Design Terminal in Budapest) can also help startups understand the next steps and potential new challenges ahead:

BestHealth4U envisions to continue developing its first product Bio2Skin, and reach the market in 2021, and develop strategic partnerships for the development of its follow-up projects that are in the company's pipeline, namely the digital application of Bio2skin for the remote monitoring of wounds. BestHealth4U

We matured our plan to differentiate our portfolio of solutions, addressing new target patients in a variety of clinical settings, also thanks to X-Europe's mentors and workshop sessions. Softcare studios

We have to further improve the UX/UI of the product, start heavily with corporate pilots and consulting jobs and then boost our product sales. RT SAFE

Finally, startups sharing experiences and growing together is one of the highlights of accelerators and close tech communities all over the world. We asked our startups what tips and advice they would have for healthcare founders looking to grow their venture:

Being persistent is a winning superpower in the very traditional healthcare ecosystem. Do not give up! Triumf Health.

It is extremely important to work closely with the people who will be using your product. We make a point of engaging the clinicians and patients who will be the end-users, and we often find that they become champions of our products. This helps not only to ensure our products work for their intended purpose, but also helps us grow our business through word-of-mouth. Cievert.

You have to combine patience with focus. New solutions are not easily accepted in the B2B market. Often a new technology opens the door to a range of applications or product/market combinations. You have to select your targets and keep focus to build the required credibility. ECG Excellence

Anticipate the challenges of the go-to market, know your customers and start building meaningful relationships as soon as possible. That is the longer phase of a health-related business project. Softcare studios

Secure the right time at the right time. A sense of team spirit and unity goes a long way to help get through the tumultuous journey that is trying to bring a healthcare product to market. Ably Medical

Supporting startups in their growth and providing them the insight and inspiration needed to take the next steps is a rewarding and valuable outcome of the X-Europe programme. With 5 more cohorts of startups, X-Europe will be sharing the thoughts and experiences of more startups like our healthtech cohort. To showcase their journey and to inspire future entrepreneurs. Stay tuned!


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