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Matakia wins EIT Health Digital Innovation Award

2nd July 2024

Following their win in November at the EIT Health i-Day Nicosia, organised by Junior Achievement Cyprus, Cypriot-based start-up Matakia has been announced as one of the first winners in the 2024 EIT Health Digital Health Innovation Award.

This is a new award, in collaboration with JA Europe, Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. As one of the winners out of 1272 applicants, Matakia gain access to our mentors and coaching network to help evolve their idea.

About Matakia Cyprus

Retinoblastoma is the most common childhood eye cancer, and an early diagnosis has a 95% survival rate.[1]  However, if left untreated, and the cancer spreads beyond the eye through the optic nerve, the likelihood of a cure is lower, and blindness could also be a possible complication.[2]

In Greek, matakia means ‘tiny eyes’, and co-founders Linn Persson, and Maria Witkowiak’s proposed, low-cost, solution is a children’s picture book that uses a flashlight and integrates interactive elements with informative content to simplify eye health assessments and empower parents to easily perform eye exams at home and identify potential issues sooner.

Matakia’s solution aims to raise awareness of eye cancer and encourage early eye exams in children and serves as an educational tool for parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, enabling the early detection of childhood eye diseases.

What the Judges said

In terms of innovation, introducing digital health in the form of reading and writing, which is something that children often do at home, is a disruptive solution, and this very early-stage prototype could contribute to the high rate of retinoblastoma survival and decrease the possibility of blindness.

The impact, if the technology proves successful, is that it can viably be used to explore other eye-related abnormalities that affect childhood. Prevention and early diagnosis of which can have an important impact on children’s lives and on systems that often can only implement reactive treatments.

What does winning mean for Matakia?

On their win, the Matakia team said: “Receiving the Digital Health Award from EIT Health is a significant milestone for Matakia. It serves as a validation of our mission to raise awareness about paediatric eye disease among parents. The award not only brings prestige but also reinforces the credibility of our efforts within the healthcare and start-up communities. It acknowledges the innovative potential of our approach to early detect and manage eye conditions in children. This recognition will help us gain visibility, attract further investment, and build trust with potential users and partners.

“With the support from EIT Health and the momentum from receiving their award, our immediate focus is on finalising and launching our first product by further developing our minimum viable product and the companion application as well as conducting market research through focus groups. This will help us refine our tool based on customer needs. Post-launch, we plan to expand our market presence and form strategic partnerships with healthcare providers.

“The Matakia Team would also like to thank the jury for recognition of our hard work and appreciation of our innovative idea. We are looking forward to going to Italy to present our start-up to a larger audience and further promote eye screening in children!”

Congratulations to Matakia on their win and we look forward to seeing them grow.

Learn more about the Digital Innovation Award.

  1. AP, S. (2020) Retinoblastoma: Early diagnosis is crucial, Journal of pediatric health care: official publication of National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates & Practitioners. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32855014/ (Accessed: 20 November 2023).

  2. Mount Sinai Health Library: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/retinoblastoma

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