Open Innovation

Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015

A glimpse of the future in digital health


Bayer’s Grants4Apps Accelerator helps digital health startups advance their businesses.

Aside from free coworking, mentoring, and financial support the program offers pitch events and networking.

At Investors’ Day and Demo Day 2015 at Bayer in Berlin, the startups presented their innovations in digital health.

A mobile hormone test, an app for organizing the home medicine chest, a smart breathing mask: With their digital health innovations the five startups set out to contribute to and even shape the future in health care. Participating in the Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015, they spent about 100 days on the Bayer campus in Berlin. With free coworking space, funding worth up to EUR 50,000 and free mentoring, the program helped them fast-forward their projects.

As the program came to a close, the Grants4Apps Accelerator Demo Day and Investor’s Day 2015 gave them an opportunity to pitch their innovative business ideas to potential investors as well as representatives of the European startup scene, developers, and Bayer employees. Side by side with the crème de la crème of the digital health scene in Germany, they offered the audience of 500 guests a glimpse of the future in digital health and technology trends.

Finding investors for digital health innovations

The event started with the Investors’ Day: The startups presented their projects to potential sponsors for the time after the Grants4Apps Accelerator. Bayer executive Reinhard Franzen welcomed the investor community. He is one of the program’s sponsors and mentored the startup Serona this year. “What I particularly like is that we travel down the road together with the startups to foster and drive forward innovations for doctors and patients. As a company we benefit greatly from the fresh ideas and new perspectives of the startups,” he says.

Workshop: How to access the digital health market

In the early evening, three workshops highlighted successful strategies for finding investors, accessing the digital health market in Germany and negotiating with payers. Jörg Land (speaking, right), founder of Sonormed (the company behind the internationally awarded Tinnitracks), explained how startups can convey their products’ added value to health insurers.

Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015: These startups stand out

Then it was time for the Demo Day stage program and “graduation ceremony” for the Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015 startups. Jessica Federer, Head of Digital Development at Bayer, said that the five young companies had “really stood out” from among the 215 applications – and she gave them the floor.

Startup Viomedo: Helping patients find clinical trials in their indication

Alexander Puschilov, CEO of viomedo, presented the online platform designed by his company to help patients find clinical trial opportunities in their indication. “The best thing about the Grants4Apps Accelerator is the creative and supportive environment,” he said. During the 100 days his team uploaded their first pilot project and hired their first full time developer. The team’s Bayer mentor was Sebastian Guth, Chief Marketing Officer at the Pharmaceuticals division.

Startup MediKeep: A mobile app to manage the medicine chest

It’s usually the women who take care of the family medicine chest, said MediKeep’s CEO Kerti Alev (2nd from right). The Estonian startup developed an app which creates a digital inventory of medical supplies and helps users keep track of expiry dates, refills, and interactions with other drugs. “During our time in the Grants4Apps Accelerator, we developed a new design and increased our online visibility and social media activities. It’s a work in progress!” On Demo Day, MediKeep received their certificate from their Bayer mentor Mike Devoy, Chief Medical Officer at Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals division (left).

Startup Serona: Innovative hormone test for women

Heather Bowerman, founder of the US startup Serona, presented the company's test and mobile application for hormone insights. Serona helps physicians and patients manage chronic diseases, including endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. “Working in the Grants4Apps Accelerator helped us establish the clinical viability of our product and form distribution channel partnerships.” It provided an opportunity “in a real-world environment to test user insights, and also guided our go-to-market strategy.”

Startup Vitameter: A mobile technology to track various biomarker levels

Vitameter from Canada – with their Bayer mentor Johannes Schubmehl, Chief Information Officer responsible for the Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health divisions (middle) – provide an over-the-counter device to track the vitamin D levels in the blood (ferritin and electrolytes are being integrated currently). Co-founder Robert Green (on the right) loved the vibrant atmosphere in the Grants4Apps Accelerator and spending time with brilliant, energetic people who believe the world can be a better place. “Our most influential insights came from our coach Frank Gessner. We thought we had a mature understanding of our business model – and emerged with a model that is actually viable for a startup company. And we went from having a very ugly not-working box to a stylish, working prototype of the Vitameter.”

Startup Sendinaden: A smart breathing mask helps reduce stress level

David Hartmann, founder of Sendinaden from China, presented the startup’s smart breathing mask that helps users acquire healthy breathing patterns and reduce stress symptoms. Produced with 3D printing technology, the mask can be easily customized for each user. During their time in Berlin, Sendinaden refined their corporate identity and PR campaign before launching a “Kickstarter” for funding. “Getting the feedback from the other startups, the mentors and coaches was priceless,” David says. The team’s Bayer mentor was Julio Triana, Chief Financial Officer at the Pharmaceuticals division.

A perfect pitch – thanks to coaching at the Grants4Apps Accelerator

“You were great, I’m proud of you,” said Program Manager Jesus del Valle after the startups’ presentation. He recalled how 100 days earlier, some of the entrepreneurs had still been reading their pitches from a script, nervously readjusting their glasses or talking too loud. Thanks to intensive coaching in the Grants4Apps Accelerator, they all delivered a perfect pitch.

Looking forward to digital health innovations in 2016

Equipped with their certificates and a wealth of new experiences, strategies and contacts, the five startups from the Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015 left the Bayer campus, ready to take the next step. And Demo Day 2015 created some excited anticipation about the innovations in digital health that the Grants4Apps Accelerator 2016 will bring.

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