The MEDICA start-up COMPETITION, the Healthcare Innovation World Cup, the MEDICA START-UP PARK and more than 100 start-ups with pitches in the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM show that the world’s leading medical trade fair MEDICA in Düsseldorf has also established itself as the international platform for start-ups. Currently, preparations for holding this year’s MEDICA as a hybrid event are in a crucial phase (the event will be held from 15 - 18 November 2021), and the in-person event at the Düsseldorf exhibition halls will be combined with many digital programme points that can be called up from anywhere via the MEDICA.de industry portal using a ticket at the same time. Due to the pandemic, a purely virtual MEDICA reached decision makers from 169 nations and from all sectors of the healthcare industry last year (a total of 45,000 unique users).
As the pandemic has relentlessly revealed deficits in patient care, as well as giving a strong impetus to the digitalisation of healthcare processes, participants can once again look forward to the many ideas and developments of the creative start-up scene at MEDICA.
Particularly outstanding solutions will be selected, for example, as part of the 10th MEDICA start-up COMPETITION (on 16 November/ hall 12 + online), covering the topics of health apps, diagnostics, artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare and robotics. Conformity with the “Medical Device Directive” is not required.
Good arguments for convincing investors
When the start-up Radiobotics ApS applied to the competition in 2020, it had no such certificate. Despite this, it was one of the winners, and today, its product RBknee is a certified Class I medical device in accordance with the Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC. “We are one of the few companies to have already achieved this,” says Stine Mølgaard Sørensen, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the start-up. Radiobotics’ AI-based solution automatically generates findings that are relevant for the radiological diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee. These are reproduced as a text report including conclusions and act as important diagnostic support for attending physicians. Sørensen reports on the positive experiences that the company gained during its participation in the MEDICA start-up COMPETITION 2020: “It’s an excellent opportunity to advertise for your company and product worldwide.” According to Sørensen, all that every young business needs is a competition like this to prove its quality. Scoring in the competition is also a good argument to convince investors in later rounds of funding.
All start-ups that want to participate in this year’s 10th MEDICA start-up COMPETITION by submitting innovations can send in their application free of charge until 22 September 2021.
Healthcare Innovation World Cup for solutions regarding the “Internet of Medical Things”
Start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs also have the option of submitting their Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) solutions free of charge to the 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup. The best 12 selected finalists are invited to present their products as part of MEDICA 2021 (on 15 November/ also in hall 12 + online), which can range from wearable technologies to digital biomarkers, intelligent plasters and smart implants. inContAlert was one of the winners of the previous year. Its system of the same name measures bladder fullness non-invasively. This can be important for patients who can no longer feel their bladder, for example in the case of paraplegia or multiple sclerosis. With this information, they can, on the one hand, avoid uncontrolled bladder secretions and, on the other hand, prevent bladder cramping and its harmful consequences for the kidneys. Today, inContAlert has four full-time and eight part-time employees. While MEDICA 2020 was taking place, the company and its team were financed by the Medical Valley Award. Shortly after MEDICA, the new round of funding began under very auspicious circumstances.
“We use accelerator programmes and competitions,” says Dr Jannik Lockl, co-founder of inContAlert. The company founders actually met for the first time at one such event when they participated in the International Business Plan Competition in Hong Kong that high potentials with a background in engineering from all over the world can apply to. There, top physicians described challenges waiting for a solution, which inspired the co-founders to come up with the idea for inContAlert.
Good organisation and a great deal of attention
Nowadays, Locki can compare his experiences from multiple competitions as follows: “I was surprised by the excellent organisation of and the positive media reaction to the Healthcare Innovation World Cup. It raised awareness of our company with potential partners.” Locki sums up: “We profited a great deal from our presentation at MEDICA.” Today, inContAlert is is well on the way to accessing the market. However, as a Class 1m medical device, economic effects must first be proven. These could be, for example, reducing diaper use or improving patients’ quality of life. In addition, the decreased use of catheters is likely to reduce the probability of urinary tract infections or kidney damage. However, it will be a matter of years before this medical benefit can be scientifically proven. For now, the company is focusing on launching its product on the market.
The submission phase for this year’s 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup also ends on 22 September 2021. A prestigious jury will select the 12 finalists from all applications, and the finalists will present their companies and newly developed products to an international professional audience at MEDICA in November. All the information on the competition and possible prizes can be found online at: https://www.medica-tradefair.com/HIWC2.
Further MEDICA highlights for start-ups
The MEDICA start-up COMPETITION and the Healthcare Innovation World Cup are fixed programme items of the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM (programme stage in hall 12), which also has many more highlights on its start-up agenda. More than 100 participating speakers and start-ups will tackle topics such as AI and data analysis, digital prevention, treatment of chronic illnesses, diagnostics and health monitoring on all days of MEDICA 2021. For example, the latest developments in the field of women’s and babies' health will be covered under the umbrella term “FemTech”. “WellTech” is the keyword for forum posts regarding healthier lifestyle and “BrainTech” features ideas and solutions for cognitive and mental health. New developments for practical everyday use in clinics and care centres complete the range of information on offer.
MEDICA START-UP PARK (in hall 12), which has established itself as a central venue for young companies, also prioritises networking. Here, they can present their innovations and come into contact with top international players in the healthcare industry and, above all, with investors from healthcare accelerator programmes, asset managers on assignment from large private estates or well-known venture capital funds.