Fifteen startups providing solutions to help people with dementia or frailty and to improve the delivery of primary care and outpatient services, as well as prevention and public health, have been selected to take part in a new accelerator supported by the NHS and tech and pharma companies.
Launched by Up Ventures, MediaCityUK, Health Innovation Manchester, the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Novartis and Google, the Greater Manchester Future of Health initiative will see innovators join a 12-week programme providing training, mentoring and support from leaders in the health and tech space.
Novartis said over 100 innovators applied to take part in the programme, which will also offer entrepreneurs the chance to receive further support from Google Cloud for Startups.
WHY IT MATTERS
One of the businesses selected is BuddyHub, which wants to tackle the issue of loneliness among the elderly by connecting people with up to three volunteers that live nearby, based on their interests, to help make friends and encourage an active lifestyle.
It is well-known that loneliness is associated with mental illness, sleep and other health problems. In 2017, a damning report from a commission set up by the late MP Jo Cox cautioned that loneliness was as harmful to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Gendius, maker of a platform that it says uses AI to calculate a person’s risk of developing complications from diabetes, is also joining the accelerator. According to Diabetes UK, over four million people in the UK are estimated to be living with diabetes, and that number is projected to go up to five million within the next six years.
The other ventures selected for the programme are:
- Cievert – web-based platform to tackle issues around routine patient follow-up
- Collabco – solution to enable information sharing between users and providers
- Evergreen Life – personal health record platform
- Flock - startup taking a “unique approach to digital profiling”, according to the accelerator, to identify what would motivate each individual and offer support to those suffering from obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and people with smoking and alcohol addictions
- GiveVision – wearable vision aid
- Healum – solutions using behaviour change interventions to help people manage their conditions
- Holovis – visualisation and software solutions
- Howz – smart home systems to help older people suffering from dementia or frailty
- ImproveWell – quality improvement platform
- Konsie – using AI to support independent living for the elderly
- Mind Moose – early intervention and prevention digital tools for children’s mental health
- My Cognition – platform allowing users to track, change and improve their cognitive health, and strengthen mental resilience
- TriMedika – non-contact infrared thermometer.
THE LARGER TREND
The first edition of this programme was launched in collaboration with PwC in 2017, and saw nine startups secure investment ranging between £500,000 to £17 million through their involvement in the accelerator.
But it is not the only scheme of the kind in the UK. Earlier this week, twenty innovators joined the fourth cohort of the DigitalHealth.London accelerator in a bid to accelerate the spread of innovation across the NHS.
ON THE RECORD
“I have been hugely impressed by the volume and the quality of the businesses that applied for a place on the Greater Manchester Future of Health Challenge,” Danny Meaney, founder and CEO of UP Ventures, said. “I think the response we got bears testimony to Greater Manchester’s fast growing international reputation as a great place to grow early stage tech businesses.”
Emma Hoglund, head of commercial execution and digital strategy at Novartis UK, added: “This programme is part of a wider initiative to collaborate with like-minded organisations to create new ideas, solutions and technologies that can help our NHS to provide better patient care. We are pleased to be able to support this programme and wish the participants every success with their projects.”