Interview with Tjarda Voorneman – EIT Health Validation Lab
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.”
Explore and validate your MedTech ideas
Deadline June 17, 2019
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.”