27th February 2020
Interview with Health Venture Lab – InnoStars Talks
InnoStars Talks is a series of interviews with healthcare innovators. They present inspiring stories of people involved in the EIT Health Community. Meet Daniel Szemerey, founding director of Health Venture Lab, who tells us about accelerating CEE region by the EIT Health and GE Healthcare.
Health Venture Lab Reactor 2020 is an acceleration programme that was created by GE Healthcare with the support of EIT Health in 2018. Over 44 talents from 16 countries have already benefited from it. What is so unique about the programme?
Health Venture Lab’s Reactor programme provides a customized path to the market for early-stage companies with innovative Digital Medical Imaging and Hospital Process Optimization solutions. Four intensive 4-day-long sprints paired with on-site and remote mentorship provide teams with the training and expertise they need to start commercializing their product or service. Our unique sprint framework is designed to create a flexible setup, to accommodate teams from abroad and secure a truly pan-European start-up cohort.
The consortia is uniquely capable of accelerating start-ups in our two focus areas, thanks to the vast experience and resources we’ve secured in these fields: GE Healthcare’s Medical Imaging Engineering centre is located in Budapest, Hungary, the University of Debrecen provides a perfect testing ground with its two million patient encounters a year, the Medical University of Lodz, Poland trains teams with an agile approach, while Europe’s premier Business School, IESE provides a world-class business training framework.
Who can apply for this year’s edition? Are you inviting talents from all over Europe or is there a particular geographical focus?
We accept applications from early and growth-stage teams innovating in the field of life sciences or healthcare with a working MVP of their product. Each Reactor cohort includes 10 teams from EIT Health countries and 10 teams from Regional Integration Scheme countries. These include the EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, as well as H2020 Associated Countries in Europe: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
What does a start-up journey after Health Venture Lab Reactor look like? Being an alumnus of this programme can probably open many doors, but can also help get access to the EIT Health flagship programmes.
The reactor is a key component in the research to the commercialization pipeline. It provides the next step in our transatlantic collaboration with MIT’s Catalyst programme for the needs-based solution development, amplifies the opportunities offered by the Medical University of Lodz E-Lab, and sets start-ups up to be eligible for EIT Health’s Scale-up programmes.
What advice would you give to the undecided applicants who are looking for acceleration but are not sure which programme to choose?
Those start-ups which are evaluating whether they should join an accelerator, and if so, which one to join, should ask themselves these questions: Is my product or service ready for commercialization? Do I have enough bandwidth in my team to productively participate in the programme Who are the mentors in the accelerator programme? Do they represent the expertise and industry knowledge I need to actually advance my products? What are my specific customer acquisition goals in the next four months, and how can the Reactor help me achieve them faster?
How can companies as GE Healthcare accelerate the CEE region together with the support of EIT Health? What does cooperation with EIT Health mean for you?
The representatives from the partner Universities, GE Healthcare’s organisational department and its Research and Development teams, independent experts and business coaches provide teams with holistic advice. Experts from GE Healthcare provide crucial insight, real-world examples and advice on commercializing healthcare products. Their input covers topics like marketing, sales, building distribution networks and supply chains in detail, and with in-depth knowledge of the current trends. The company’s Medical Imaging Engineering centre is located in Budapest, Hungary and Health Venture Lab has previously demonstrated the ability to involve both technical and commercial experts across the organisation. Through HVL’s Reactor, motivated teams can engage industry leaders such as Attila Ferik, GE Healthcare’s Senior Engineering Director. GE Healthcare is also dedicated to integrating its efforts with other EIT projects. This means sharing knowledge, human capital (business and expert coaches and start-ups) and resources to amplify each programme’s value. GE’s experience with market-leading industry practices gives the participating teams a comprehensive exposure to the innovative thinking in corporate environments, market intelligence and state-of-the-art technology development. The prestige and reputation of the corporate’s brand presence have also attracted a higher quality of partners and participants to its accelerator programmes, resulting in a competitive and motivating start-up cohort.