5th December 2019
InnoStars Talks is a series of interviews with healthcare innovators. This episode is dedicated to TeiaCare, which raised €1.1 million in funding thanks to support of EIT Health Investor Network.
InnoStars Talks is a series of interviews with healthcare innovators. They present inspiring stories of people involved in the EIT Health Community. As EIT Health InnoStars we look for personal experiences of people engaged in our projects who are willing to share their stories and lesson learnt.
Italian start-up TeiaCare announced that the EIT Health Investor Network helped them raise €1.1 million in funding to accelerate the development of their digital monitoring technology, Ancelia, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision algorithms to assist nurses in the care of elderly patients.
InnoStars: Patient empowerment is becoming a more and more important phenomenon when discussing healthcare innovation. Your solution – Ancelia, is definitely a patient-driven idea. What stands behind this solution? How can Ancelia help patients and caregivers?
Guido Magrin, CEO & founder of TeiaCare: Ancelia is human-cantered. From my personal experience, with my grandfather spending two years in a nursing home back in 2008, I understood that the key to better assistance for residents in nursing homes is the empowerment of their caretakers, nurses and professional care-givers. Behind Ancelia stands the willingness to disrupt traditional care-giving methods in nursing homes – no longer basing them on fixed plans, but rather on an understanding of the precise real-time care needs of the residents, and the subsequent organisation of the workflow. Ancelia is powered by advanced AI and Computer Vision algorithms which allow the care-giver to be always there when needed the most, and for residents to receive the timely care they need.
InnoStars: Your experience with EIT Health started in 2018 when you participated in the Headstart programme, and that continuous to this day, you are already in the finals of the 2019 European Health Catapult project, and you were the first start-up in the history of the EIT Health Investor Network to receive €1.1 M in funding. How can being part of the EIT Health network help start-ups? What does EIT Health mean to you?
Guido Magrin: The EIT Health network has supported us enormously in many aspects. Funding-wise, it enabled the connection with Nina Capital, who led our Seed Round. Also, the grants we received have enabled TeiaCare to finalise critical pilots and trials, which were required to further demonstrate the positive effect generated by Ancelia. It has not only been about funding, however. The EIT Health network has been of great support in several areas, from refining our pitch to studying the economic healthcare implications of Ancelia. Networking with the other founders and entrepreneurs has also been crucial in further increasing our network and awareness of the international markets. Additionally, the press coverage we have been receiving has boosted the awareness of our company beyond the Italian borders, moving us closer to our vision of being first and foremost a European company, but then also a global one. We feel part of a large family, on which we can rely both in the difficult and good times, and one we know is ready to keep on supporting us.
InnoStars: You are an Italian company with a global attitude. Your goal is to enter the international market. You are currently in the process of introducing your product to Spain. What further plans do you have?
Guido Magrin: Ageing is a global issue, and opportunities for Ancelia everywhere. After Spain, we are looking to expand first into the main European countries (Germany, France, the UK). The most promising non-European opportunities seem to be Japan, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. We have already run market research in these countries and have found investors and advisors who are actively helping to shape our future expansion.
TeiaCare is a start-up, founded by three engineers with a business mind-set. Does being a scientist help in running one’s own business successfully? What are the main benefits or disadvantages when science goes hand in hand with a business approach?
Having a tech background surely helps in running your company. It means you are able to understand what’s really possible, and how quickly, when asked by your clients. It also serves well in setting up your initial development team and overseeing product development. It also comes with drawbacks, of course. The risk of shutting yourself in the lab without having properly validated what you are going to build is high, and has happened to us many too many times. We have always been able to recover, however. Additionally, don’t fall in love with your product/tech! Rather, embrace a problem, and come up with many different solutions for it.
InnoStars: As CEO of TeiaCare, you were chosen by Forbes “30 under 30” in the healthcare category. Guido, if you could give one piece of advice to other start- uppers and young entrepreneurs on how to find the proper business idea, and develop it, what would it be?
Guido Magrin: Be persistent, focused, determined, creative, and passionate. Have fun. Live for the journey, not the destination. Listen to all the input you receive along the way. Only in doing so will you be able to make the most of the time you spend being an entrepreneur, which will most likely be the single most formative experience of your life.