11. September 2014–
As the American health accelerator RockHealth reports, it is optimistic that this year will be another record year for digital health funding. As MedTech is raising, it was time to take a closer look at the industry and challenges startups in that sector face and how the startup industry is doing in Berlin.
The med- and health care market is tricky in many ways.
Though it’s a niche market, it’s a market with many different segments, e.g. wellness, fitness, medicine, health improvement... This niche market however is highly regulated and, therefore, hard to disrupt and not very open to innovation.
Not only do you have to deal with different legal issues in different areas, but there are also different cultural matters. Simon Bolz, founder of Klara (formerly known as Goderma), a Berlin-based startup that lets you consult a dermatologist via app, mentioned to Fast.Co: "[...] the U.S. is a market where people are willing to pay more than in other markets for health products. Also that market is more advanced than in other parts of the world".
In Germany, where people are used to having most of their medical costs covered, they are more sensitive to paying extra for medical add-ons. “Our U.S. test campaign had just launched two days before and numbers were already beating the German market performance (which had been live for weeks),” Bolz continues in the interview with Fast.Co. “We actually said to each other, ‘Let’s go U.S.A. or go home.’”
"left"]However besides different market structures, the investment structure also differs as it takes far more time to see if a MVP is successful or not. With that comes a high financial demand.
MedTech and HealthCare can be separated into a lot of different areas. Here are a couple of examples to show how far the sector MedTech spreads:
smartreporting (Munich-based) is a software that lets radiologist structure their result and kenhub is an anatomy learning platform for those still in school. Doxter and arzttermine.de let you make appointments, imedo.de is a doctor recommendation website, while medlanes connects patients who have questions to doctors. To get an overview over current diseases, diseasemap came to live.
One of the most known health tech startups from Berlin is probably CLUE, an app that enables women to track their menstrual cycles, which recently raised another $500,000.
New technology also creates new ways of therapy. Caterna is one of them. Caterna is a online vision therapy to treat the eye disorder ambloypia.
While these examples are only cover the software sector, a lot is also going on in the hardware sector. Currently in Bayer's Grants4Apps accelerator is e.g. cortrium, a C3 device designed with sensors that continuously measure electrocardiogram (ECG), body surface temperature, respiratory rate, and body posture/physical activity.
GIMV, XL Health AG, Guano AG and Peppermind VenturePartners are the most known German VCs in this sector. In addition, the insurance company Alliance started an accelerator program as well as Bayer, which VentureVillage reported about after the kickoff event.
To connect the community and startups in these field, more and more events are taking place. M.E.S.H., Medical Entrepreneur Start-up Hospital, is a camp focussing on getting MedTech startups in shape. Workshops will also include topics such as how to succeed in an over-regulated market.
Also the HealthCare Innovation Weeekend is coming up, where startups can present but also work on their ideas. The best will be rewarded with to €5,500. Coaches and mentors will be around to support the groups.
Besides that there are Meetup Groups like Health 2.0 Berlin that keep the community growing.
"Since we moved our entire team to Berlin, we found a great atmosphere for mHealth and medTech startups,” says Diogo Ortega, CEO of PharmAssistant from Lisbon who is part of Bayer’s accelerator Grants4Apps. He continues, “We see a lot of interesting events or meet-ups happening in big companies, and this is a very good symptom: joint-ventures with such players can speed up the go-to-market process, since it's a highly regulated space."
Image: Screenshot Diseasemap