Europe is known for its excellent startup ecosystem. Moreover, the medtech industry in Europe is made up of 95% SMEs. If we want the innovation successes of past and present to continue well into the future, it is critical that the bigger medtech players, and the financial and investment ecosystem keep taking the pulse of European medtech startups.
The medtech industry is a diverse industry, encompassing companies active in the cardiovascular, ophthalmic, orthopaedic or diabetic sector to name but a few. And within these sectors, there is even more diversity with global and pan-European companies, as well as small, national startups often employing 50 people or less making up our industry.
While there is a broad awareness in Europe of the big players in our industry, I feel that many startups which are creating amazing innovations are little known. As a result, these small but nimble “makers” often see resources dry up due to lack of backing by a bigger player from the industry, and from the financial and investment world who can support them logistically, legally, financially, … And when these startups vanish, so do their ideas, creativity and innovations. The medtech, financial and investment industry must keep taking the pulse of the SMEs that enrich the medtech landscape in Europe. And they must do so as often as possible.
Luckily, I am not the only one feeling this way. Throughout Europe events are being organised where medtech startups can showcase their ideas, in-development or finished products. And contrary to popular belief, these events are not only set up by venture capitalists or angel investors. What these small companies come up with, is so valuable that medical professionals themselves also organise these kinds of events where one can meet, learn from and help out small enterprises.
From theory to practice
One such an event is the EuroPCR Innovators Day, taking place on 18 May 2015 in Paris and focussing on innovation in the cardiovascular sector. The 2nd edition of this event will see companies working on wearables, big data, and sensors to name but a few, meet with medtech companies, venture capitalists, heads of R&D and physicians for a day of meet-and-greets, presentations and discussions. For our industry, this event will again be an excellent opportunity to listen to physicians, regulators and payers and their needs, and see how collaboration between startups and our industry can meet these needs.
Another event, the Innovation in MedTech 2015 conference, will be taking place from 14-16 April in Dublin. This investment and partnering event will feature presentations from over 40 emerging medtech companies, mixed with dedicated sessions on collaborative innovation, medtech funding and digital strategy to name a few.
There has never been a more pertinent time for the medtech, financial and investment industry to strengthen its ties with the startup community in Europe. Bigger players are expanding their traditional business models into adjacent or novel areas. The vibrant startups and SMEs that are characteristic for Europe are playing an essential role in making sure our industry can continue to stay at the forefront of innovation in Europe, from diagnosis to cure.