This project has received funding from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 611709
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GET @ eHealth Forum – boosting SME growth & competitiveness
GetGlobal · GetFunded
‘GET Funded & International’ @ eHealth Forum was a focused and lively session, providing a unique opportunity for SMEs to present their investment and internationalisation plans to an international panel of investors, purchasers and industry leaders. This stimulated a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights into what investors and purchasers are looking for.
SMEs benefitted from personalized feedback on their plans and heard about support available to access the US market through the SelectUSA program. The session also provided SMEs with unparalleled networking opportunities to create contacts and secure links for follow-up after the session.
Click here to read the conclusions and lessons learned from this session.
More sessions from the GET project will be offered in Finland (June) and The Netherlands (September). Follow @get_ehealth on Twitter get the latest updates.
Highlights from GET @ eHealth Forum
May 12, 2014 - Athens
Over the next 18 months, the GET project will deliver four high-impact services to eHealth SMEs and entrepreneurs in order to boost their growth and move them to the next level of competitiveness. The support will come as training, mentoring, market intelligence, speaking and exhibition opportunities, and above all quality contacts and networking.
The session at eHealth Forum in Athens marked the kick-off of two of the project’s services: GET Funded and GET Global. GET Funded is designed for SMEs looking for a second round of funding. It provides training, resources and networking opportunities with investors at European level. GET Global helps mature SMEs to access international markets by putting them in contact with foreign commercialization partners and potential customers.
7 SMEs presented their solution and their plan for funding and/or internalization in front of an international panel of investors, purchasers and industry leaders:
The SMEs included:
This post summarizes the conclusions and lessons learned from this session.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM INVESTORS
Digital health is young
And the gap is wide between a fast moving startup scene and the slow adopting health systems facing them. Health systems are often missing an updated framework for the adoption of grass-root innovations. Investors are also still shy and only considering companies at revenue level. The case for B2C solutions is slightly different if they can show very strong momentum in consumer engagement. Things are starting to move, but this is the very beginning. Click here to see the list of our participating investors’ criteria.
No single recipe.
Pantelis Angelidis, CEO of the successful Vidavo, started his presentation by saying he could share their story and how they got funded and then entered the Alternative Market of Athens Stock Exchange, but if you asked him ‘How does a digital health company get funded’, his answer would be ‘I have no idea’. Maybe because there is more than one path and a combination of successful elements. However the basics were clear from the panelists’ comments.
Fine-tuning your pitch.
Many SMEs find themselves in a vicious circle: they need the validation and clinical evidence of large scale implementations to get the financing, but at the same time they need the financing to get these large implementations up and running. What is the right approach? At some point, an investor or a buyer needs to trust your team. So the first step is to get your pitch right. One of the lessons learned, from our side as organizers, is that SMEs need help with structuring their content. And the GET Project was created exactly for that.
Know your value proposition.
SMEs are often asked ‘what makes your solution unique and better’? And their answers are often vague and ignore competition. Is it a new and better technology running in the background? Is it the integration and support system already in place? Is it the ease of implementation? Is it the team behind it and their networks? The chance that you’re the only digital solution addressing a health care challenge is very slim nowadays, so spend some time thinking about your competitive advantage and value proposition.
VCs invest in teams, not in ideas.
Even in a 4 minute elevator pitch, you should not fail to mention the people behind your solution. So be prepared to answer the question: Why are you the best team? What proof do you have of your expertise and credibility? At the end of the day, VCs invest in people not ideas. So no matter how short your presentation is, you need to convince them that they should spend some time getting to know you.
Where is the money?
Your reasons to build a digital health solution may be very noble, but for investors the good that can come out of it is only secondary to a more down to earth question: where is the money? If there is no right answer to this question, then look for other ways to fund your business. It may be grants, it may be advertising. It won’t be VCs.
Allow yourself to take a turn.
Entrepreneurs are often very attached to their ‘babies’. It’s even truer in the digital health industry where there are often some very personal stories behind the entrepreneurs’ drive and determination. But you have to let people use their imagination and if they see opportunities in your solution that you don’t see – let them! Very often in the digital world, the idea you start with is not the solutions that people will adopt in the end.
LESSONS FROM BUYERS
Don’t try to rock their world.
The strategy should be to integrate with existing systems rather than reinventing a whole new one. Health professionals don’t necessarily want their whole world to be completely transformed but they are ready to adopt new tools that will integrate with their processes and improve their practice and the level of care for patients.
Quality comes first.
When presenting to a medical director, the price is important but quality will always come first. It’s about improving clinical outcomes. Highlight the positive impact of your solution on patient care e.g. reduced admissions, shorter hospital stays, more complete patient records, improved patient safety, and better home monitoring.
Patient-centered is the word.
Don’t forget the patient! What do patients think of your solution? How has it impacted the self-management of their condition? How has it improved their patient experience? Patient/ user stories can be powerful in communicating the value of your solution.
Scale of adoption elsewhere.
Buyers want to know about clinical trials, which markets have already adopted the solution, how many patients/ hospitals/ healthcare providers/ insurance companies are currently buying your solution and the impact of this on patient care and clinical outcomes. Testimonials from existing buyers can be powerful in communicating the value of your solution to healthcare providers.
Know your market.
All healthcare markets are not the same so do your homework on specific market challenges – whether they relate to data ownership, sharing or legal constraints. Your solution must be transferable and scalable - show buyers how you have adapted your solution/ product to meet their specific market requirements.