The Get Started in Health Innovation program has concluded its first phase with an Internal Demo Day featuring the participation of 10 teams. Teams showcased their progress through pitches before a jury and coaches, focusing on the validation of problems and solutions. The expert jury, comprised of professionals and healthcare specialists, selected 7 teams based on key criteria such as a clearly defined and substantiated problem or user needs, along with the identification of potential users. Additionally, teams were required to highlight their high-quality, innovative, and potentially effective solutions for the specified problem, define the size of the target market, and articulate strategies for market competition and the envisioned concept.
The program is conducted by the Center for Research, Development, and Technology Transfer of the University of Zagreb, acting as the EIT Health Hub for Croatia, in collaboration with Lean Startup Croatia. It is essential to highlight the proud partnership of companies Selvita, AstraZeneca, and the British Embassy in Zagreb throughout the program.
Teams advancing to the second phase of the program shared their experiences and impressions.
Adaptation and Flexibility as Crucial Insights During the First Phase of the Program
Did you know that almost one-sixth of the global population suffers from neurological disorders? This fact served as the focus for the team EMHANCE, dedicated to developing a non-invasive and portable device for treating brain diseases.
Led by Dr. Jasmina Isaković, the team emphasized the importance of incorporating customer and user feedback into startup operations, demonstrating the need for rapid and effective adaptation crucial for success in the dynamic healthcare industry.
“Adaptation involves openness to feedback, accepting changes, and the readiness to redirect our strategies or ideas based on new information or market insights. This adaptability allows us to proactively and agilely respond to market changes and customer needs,” stated the EMHANCE team. They emphasized that adaptability is not only essential for product development but also for personal development as entrepreneurs. The startup ecosystem is full of uncertainty, and adaptability enables continuous learning from failures to improve skills and knowledge.
In addition to valuable knowledge and new skills gained in the first phase, EMHANCE successfully established new connections within the startup ecosystem and with targeted users, thanks to the organizers’ support. Regular workshops, presentations, and networking events provided opportunities to meet inspiring individuals from the healthcare and innovation fields. The organizers facilitated access to targeted users, allowing them to gather valuable insights and feedback, enhancing their ability to tailor their idea to better address user challenges.
Among the teams that successfully presented their pitch is MedQual Analytic, which focused on improving the quality of healthcare through data analysis. Leveraging advanced analytics, their solutions enable hospitals and clinics to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions for optimizing healthcare delivery.
One of the founders of the team is Armin Atić, who also plays a crucial role as the idea creator and healthcare advisor. He additionally serves as the project manager, overseeing project leadership, team management, and ensuring the successful implementation of developed solutions. Also part of the team is Amer Mujčinović, a technical expert holding the role of CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Amer is an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) developer with a deep understanding of technological tools and platforms.
After the first phase of the program, they have already implemented lessons learned from market research. Their next steps involve the development of existing ideas, confirmation of current solutions, and the expansion of new users and markets. They emphasized that flexibility and proactivity in every stage of development were among the most crucial insights gained, helping to overcome fears associated with overcoming obstacles.
“The program’s concept, especially the mentoring sessions, greatly contributed to customizing the lean startup model to address the specific challenges our team is solving,” they highlighted.
Quality Market Research as the Solid Foundation of Every Startup
“Challenging, thorough, and educational!” These three words describe Michi Community‘s journey in the program. Michi Community is developing a platform and resources that provide support, information, empowerment, and connections for individuals facing mental health challenges, aiming to reduce stigma and enhance mental health care.
Antonia Kurtović, a team member, oversees the financial sustainability of the project and promotes the application on the market, taking responsibility for finances, marketing, and partnerships. Bringing expertise in graphic design, Ani Einwalter is responsible for creating the visual identity of the Michi Community application, including designing the logo, visuals, and prototyping the application.
This innovative application has the potential to transform the way young people approach their mental health. The Michi Community team firmly believes that connection, support, and education are crucial for strengthening the mental well-being of young individuals.
“The most valuable lesson we learned in the Get Started in Health Innovation program is that development should be gradual, and it is much better, easier, smarter, and cheaper to first test and explore the market than to simply start developing a product without validating the problems of future users,” emphasized Antonia and Ani. They added that Get Started in Health Innovation has instilled a certain discipline in them, enabling them to develop their startup daily, primarily through the support received from the startup community despite their age. “And that is definitely one of the things that propels us forward!” they mentioned.
The lack of an effective software solution for pharmacists providing medication therapy management services is one of the key problems that the Morbus team is addressing. The web application “Morbus” enables pharmacists to input patient data based on predefined models, ensuring consistency and transparency of information.
Heading the team is the outstanding Professor Dr. Iva Mucalo, a specialist in clinical pharmacy who plays a crucial role in leading the team and guiding the development of this innovative solution for medication therapy management. Dr. Andrea Brajković, Helena Orehovački, and Lucija Ana Bićanić are pharmacy graduates and members of the team responsible for research and development. Armis Ališić, B.Sc. in Technical Informatics, takes on the role of technical/software developer and leads technical operations. Their software solution will enable pharmacists to better organize, precisely monitor, and provide personalized support to patients, ensuring optimal therapy results.
During the pitch, the Novela Medica team presented their idea, dedicated to the development of an innovative device for measuring breathing frequency. Their mission is to solve the problem of the lack of devices for accurately measuring breathing frequency, which poses a challenge for healthcare systems.
Jakov Lonić in the team is responsible for medical research, market analysis, networking, and public presentation, while Petar Lonić and Dominik Vitez are responsible for the technical implementation of the device. These entrepreneurial students use their technical knowledge and skills to design and develop the breathing frequency measurement device. Their expertise and previous experience ensure the device operates precisely and reliably. The team also collaborates with two mentors, Doc. Mario Hrgetić and Prof. Mario Cifrek, who provide support in the development of the device.
After advancing to the second phase of the program, they concluded the importance of understanding the market they are entering and plan to dedicate upcoming time to relearning about the medical device market to deeply understand all the invisible connections that intertwine it. Additionally, they plan to further engage in conversations with users, recognizing the importance for their project.
The MaMiNi Community Midwives team recognized the lack of availability of midwives for women preparing for motherhood. The team consists of expert midwives, including Marijana Ivančić, a master of midwifery and the founder, along with Mirjana Mate Ello and Nikolina Vrbanec as team members. Their main goal is to ensure safe and quality midwifery care for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period by providing support and care through the creation of a specialized Center for Pregnant Women. They aim to offer quality care and assistance to women, making their pregnancy and childbirth experience positive and fulfilling.
The MaMiNi Community Midwives team also identified market research as one of the most crucial aspects of startup development. The most valuable lessons they learned during the program include discipline in meeting deadlines, stepping out of their comfort zone in every sense, and particularly gaining a broader perspective on entrepreneurship.
“We learned that the market needs to be respected and constantly questioned. It is necessary to take care of the team and work on strengthening it because the team is the one carrying the whole story,” they mentioned.
During Demo Day, Nume Health presented, consisting of experts with nearly 20 years of experience in diagnostics and pharmaceutical business. Nume Health aims to become a “cost leader” in the field of diagnostics, addressing the lack of affordable solutions that save time, money, and energy when purchasing and using laboratory tests.
In the team, Tomasz Bienkowski, a chemistry doctor and the founder of the laboratory, is responsible for laboratory management and operations. Konrad Kowalski, a doctor of biochemistry, leads the development of new diagnostic methods. Ozan Möller contributes to the marketing and business aspects of the team, while Petar Bilosnic specializes in the development of information systems, software, and digital products, enhancing technological solutions to improve diagnostic processes.
The Nume Health team combines diverse skills and knowledge to achieve early diagnosis of various diseases, relieve the healthcare system, and promote disease prevention. Their dedication and experience are key factors in the success of achieving their goals.
The Get Started in Health Innovation program, which started on May 13, lasts for 6 months and supports interdisciplinary start-up teams developing innovations in healthcare. The program, as mentioned, is divided into two parts, guiding teams through an intensive period of education and mentoring to acquire the knowledge and skills for market research.
During the second part of the program, teams receive education needed for product development and support in seeking the necessary funding to bring the product to the market. The program is conducted by the Center for Research, Development, and Technology Transfer of the University of Zagreb as the EIT Health Hub for Croatia and Lean Startup Croatia.