The EIT Health Pitch Day marked the end of this year’s EIT Health Validation Lab, and sent 17 early-stage MedTech startups into the market. The event was held entirely online on October 27 and gave teams a chance to pitch their innovation to our network. Lifelet Medical took the coveted first prize.
“The Validation Lab was a great experience for Lifelet Medical, where we received excellent domain-specific mentorship and coaching. It was an honor to work with all of the startups, and we are delighted for the opportunity to advance to the central pitch competition and to accelerate our technology further”, says Elle Sander, co-founder of Lifelet Medical.
A partnership between EIT Health & YES!Delft
EIT Health Validation Lab is a partnership between YES!Delft and EIT Health. The two organizations join forces to offer early-stage companies an opportunity to validate their technology as best as possible, and combine YES!Delft’s startup expertise with the extensive knowledge and network of EIT Health.
Over the course of eight weeks, the two parties provided the right tooling and coaching to startups to develop their skills to validate their riskiest business assumptions, to sharpen their problem-solution-fit, and find their product-market-fit. The Validation Lab is designed to help promising MedTech teams get in touch with mentors and industry specialists already early on.
Solving a severe and relevant problem
Lifelet Medical, the winner of this edition, is on an ambitious yet very important mission. The team aims to improve the lives of patients with heart valve disease by developing fully synthetic durable and sustainable heart valve leaflets for life.
“Lifelet is solving a severe problem that is very relevant worldwide, they have a unique innovation and an excellent team,” said Evert Jaap Lugt, Managing Director of YES!Delft, when he announced the startup as the winner.
“We would like to thank all the startups and ecosystem partners for their ongoing enthusiasm throughout the program. I’m very curious to see what the future holds for these game-changers, I have very high expectations after everything we’ve seen so far”, says MedTech Program Manager, Claire Visser.
SLAM Orthopedic is developing a technology for orthopedic surgery, specifically fracture care using metal screws and plates. Our goal is to help surgeons operate more effectively and efficiently. To do this we have created a sensor that gathers data during drilling and shows the required screw length immediately. This eliminates the need for manual measurement of the bore depth which is imprecise and error-prone, improving the lives of the surgeons and the patients.
Tjarda Voorneman – the Project Manager of EIT Health Validation Lab that takes place in Delft for more than four years – talks about the successes of the collaboration between EIT Health and YES!Delft in this period.
This year we are again proud to organize the EIT Health Validation Lab in our incubator in Delft! The unique two-month pressure cooker program allows aspiring entrepreneurs from all over Europe all the way to Delft in The Netherlands to discover the business potential of their MedTech ideas. Tjarda Voorneman, the project manager of EIT Health Validation Lab looks back ahead of the 5th edition.
After 4 successful editions EIT Health Validation Lab, what has changed?
“One of the amazing things that have happened over the course of the last four editions, is the steady growth of the European network. This results in new and powerful partnerships from which everyone benefits. We have many great partners in this program, such as TU Delft, LUMC, UMCG, Biocat, Copenhagen University, and FAU Erlangen- Nurnberg. In turn, this also attracts startups of course, not only in the Netherlands but from the whole of Europe. Since the start four years ago, the majority of European countries have been represented in the program.”
“We have many great partners in this program, such as TU Delft, LUMC, UMCG, Biocat, Copenhagen University, and FAU Erlangen- Nurnberg. ”
Tjarda Voorneman, Project Manager EIT Health Validation Lab
What is it that makes the program so successful?
“The power of the program is the process of validation. EIT has ideation events, such as the Innovation Days and Summer Schools. Validation Lab is a very logical next step from that. We have a strong core program here in Delft that yields results. This is why Validation Lab is one of the Bootcamps offered now in the EIT innovation funnel. The teams get the chance to travel through Europe to validate their business assumptions further, which is an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. The extensive EIT network is highly beneficial for this.”
There have been many excellent entries in the EIT Health Validation Lab, what are the criteria for winning?
“Winning is not just about having an amazing product, but it’s mostly about how the team has gone through the process of validation. The main goal is finding a product-market fit, and it’s amazing to see how the teams manage to make such massive strides on a European level in such a relatively short time.
Last year’s winners, Smart Medical Optics, are a prime example of this. Through the course of the validation program, they realized they needed to pivot in terms of their beachhead market. They started to focus on research institutions in Europe, which really helped them take off. Participation in EIT Health Validation Lab can help you grow really rapidly. When you go through the process of validation well, you could be pitching before an audience of a thousand peers from the medical sector.”
“The most valuable lesson for us was market-fit: we found potential launching customers not only in Africa, but also in Europe. The Validation Lab really challenged us to think critically about our ambitions and business plan and identify our a beachhead market – Europe. Our ultimate ambition is still to make an accurate and fast malaria diagnosis available in remote parts of the African continent. But the European market is also interesting for our technology – research institutes working with malaria benefit from the fast and accurate reading of blood samples.”
Mirthe Vendel , co-founder Smart Medical Optics
EIT Health Validation Lab draws an international selection of startups, but also from different backgrounds. How important is this diversity?
“During Validation Lab the teams learn a lot from each other. Not only about their countries and the medical fields there but also about the different backgrounds. Some teams are already fully fledged companies. Others are working on projects within major European universities and then some are fresh graduates. They all have different experiences, different perspectives and that enriches the Validation Lab environment. For example, pitching is a skill very central to Validation Lab, and the levels of experience can vary incredibly. To me, it’s amazing to see the journey of all the participants.”