29th October 2020
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EIT Health InnoStars announced the winners of its flagship healthcare competition, InnoStars Awards, held virtually this year. Ligence, FaceRehab and PhoenixOrthosis share the podium!
Ligence, a Lithuanian start-up, which is working on software innovations to reduce the workload on medical teams, has won the EIT Health InnoStars Awards 2020 competition. This one of the most important healthtech programmes in Europe was held virtually on 26 October during the ongoing Bio-Europe event. FaceRehab, a Slovakian start-up focusing on innovative face palsy treatment, received the second prize, while PhoenixOrthosis, a Hungarian team that supports stroke survivors to make their lives easier and rehabilitation more effective, was placed third in the prestigious competition.
Ligence has already attracted a round of pre-seed funding this year. The start-up participated in EIT Jumpstarter in 2019. During the last 6 months, Ligence has received €25 000 smart funding, knowledge boost, focused on business planning, development, pitching, regulatory and media relations through bootcamps and individual mentoring, and an opportunity to take part in networking events of EIT Health InnoStars. The team uses a deep learning technology and developed a software which is capable of automatic segmentation of the heart’s anatomical features, functional assessment and the production of a structured report for a physician. Faster, more cost-efficient and accurate cardiovascular diseases diagnosis and management become a reality with the start-up’s development. Ligence promises to bring more standardisation, consistency and support for imaging-based diagnosis of heart diseases. The development is particularly important in the COVID-era: the tool is intended to be able to evaluate ultrasound images of the heart of patients with COVID‑19 and clinical signs of cardiovascular disease.
“Thanks to the received funding, our company can solve the problems of assessing the heart damage of COVID-19 patients more quickly and allocate more human resources to this project. The funding will allow the costs associated with the development of R&D to be paid for. Winning the InnoStars Awards in 2020 is a great opportunity and we had a chance to meet and work with mentors and advisors thanks to EIT Health InnoStars,” said Justin Balčiūnas, Operations Manager at Ligence.
Ligence was one of the teams that applied for the fourth EIT Health InnoStars Awards, which aims to help start-ups developing healthcare solutions from Central, Eastern and Southern European countries with a moderate innovation level (according to the European Innovation Scoreboard) validate their healthcare innovations, attract investors and ultimately shorten the time to introduce their business ideas to the market. In this year’s competition, the semi-finalists were chosen from 96 high-quality applicants based in 13 EIT Health Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT Health RIS) countries.
Each selected team received €25 000 with mentoring and an opportunity to participate in two European bootcamps. After a six-month programme, ten finalists were selected to participate in the InnoStars Awards final pitch to compete for three top prizes: additional €25 000, €15 000 or €10 000 in funding. Moreover, the winners will have access to the support and potential investor connections available from EIT Health’s Investor Network and EIT Health’s Living Labs and Test Beds network.
“Our mission in InnoStars Awards is to search and find emerging talents from emerging regions of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, which is considered “innovation gold mine” by investors and other ecosystem players. We are really proud to announce that the Ligence, FaceRehab and PhoenixOrthosis teams won the final competition of our programme and it is a great pleasure for us to contribute to the market entry of these innovations created by the top young health tech innovators of this region,” says Tamas Bekasi, RIS Business Creation Project Manager at EIT Health InnoStars.
The InnoStars Awards programme will be back in 2021 and it is open for micro and small enterprises, spin-offs and start-ups that already have a prototype or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).