UP Ventures opens applications for second Greater Manchester Future of Health Challenge

Solutions selected will need to focus on dementia, prevention and public health, among others.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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The Landing tech incubator, MediaCity UK

After a new Innovate UK and EUREKA competition aiming to support medtech projects and a programme supporting women-led healthtech startups in Europe, another accelerator in the space is returning to Salford in England later this year.

Fifteen health and medical startups will be chosen to participate in the second edition of the Greater Manchester Future of Health Challenge programme, organised by UP Ventures in partnership with Swiss pharma giant Novartis, digital health startup Push Doctor, Google, tech firm Apadmi, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Digital, Health Innovation Manchester, an academic health science and innovation system in the area, and The Landing tech incubator.

The first edition of the programme was run in collaboration with PwC in 2017. According to UP Ventures, the nine startups selected to participate all secured investment and found new business opportunities through it, with the amount raised varying between £500k to £17m. These were: 11 Health, Aerobit, Altogame, Cera, HiMOTIV, Kafoodle, propeller, Uniquedoc, and WellCare.

This year, the 12-week accelerator will provide a suite of coaching and mentoring activities, as well as masterclasses, and will offer one startup the opportunity to win $100,000 (€87,000 approx.) in Google cloud credit, provided by Google Cloud for Startups.

The three areas of focus for solutions are:

  • Dementia/ frailty
  • Prevention and public health
  • Delivering primary care and outpatient services in or near the home of the patient.

ON THE RECORD

“Unlike other accelerators, our programme is free for participants. We’re not looking for cash or equity – just highly committed teams with the potential to really make an impact,” said Danny Meaney, UP Ventures chief executive.

Paul Bilington, managing director of The Landing, welcomed applications from startups beyond Greater Manchester. In 2017, the businesses selected came from London, Cambridge and Sydney.

“The Landing has developed a specialism in digital health and we are fully geared up to help drive this programme,” Bilington added.

THE LARGER TREND

In England, the NHS is known for being a tough market to break for digital health innovators, given its complexity and “disparate infrastructure”, as outlined by NHS director of digital development Sam Shah recently.

“The UK is a complex place. England is difficult at times. But we are willing, we are here to listen, and our door is open, and we certainly want to benefit from some of the most amazing technology solutions that you’ve come up with, that we haven’t yet even thought of, that will benefit us for many years to come,” Shah told delegates at an event in Tel Aviv, Israel at the beginning of the year.