Digital health startups call for more public and private funding to boost innovation

As part of the BNEW technology congress, organised by the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona, Barcelona Health Hub has organized the panel “Startup Sccess Stories in Digital Health” in which the main challenges and obstacles faced by startups in the sector and their proposals to improve the implementation of their technological solutions have been addressed.

Frederic Llordachs of Doctomatic, Xavier Oleart of Edryx Healthcare, Jordi Serrano from Universal Doctor, Javier de Oca from IOMED and Helena Torras, entrepreneur and moderator of the session, took part in the round table.

The participants agreed that in recent years, hospitals and other organisations in the sector have accelerated their pace of operation in order to adapt the technological solutions proposed by start-ups. Despite this, there is still a certain lag that delays the adoption of these solutions.

They also agreed that this sector is highly regulated and “sometimes there is a confusion between being a guarantor and startups being the only ones to innovate in the sector.”

More investment

The key issue is how to obtain funding and the relationship with investors. In this regard, the speakers stressed that investing in digital health requires a specific investor profile that understands the sector and the particular casuistry of a startup and, consequently, that is patient in the early stages of operation because these are key to the growth and consolidation of the project. They also recalled the need for greater investment in the early stages of a startup (pre-seed and seed phases).

Opportunity to test technological solutions

Another request from the entrepreneurs present was to facilitate the testing of the technological solutions they have developed in hospitals, mutual insurance companies or organisations that manage patients’ health: “to give us the opportunity to test our inventions.”

Institutional support for start-ups

The participating ceos also called for more institutional support so that local entrepreneurial companies have the same opportunities as American or German startups.

Collaboration between the different regional bodies and the sharing of information on projects that work in one place so that they can be applied in other cities and so that more citizens can benefit from them is another of the demands that were raised in the debate.