Category Archives: Funding health innovations

Top 10 Messages from Silicon Valley Health Tech Investors

Top 10 Messages from Silicon Valley Health Tech Investors

Text and photo: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

Today was the third and last day at the 7th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara. The day was full of demos and developer challenge announcements. Also, the winners of the Nokia X Prize Innovation Challenge were announced and rewarded.

We are truly witnessing amazing progress in the field of combining life science with mobile technology.

My focus today was on investors and their advise to health tech entrepreneurs in the crowded health tech space.

Here is top 10 take home messages straight from Silicon Valley Health Tech investors:

1. Focus on big enough health challenges and address them with new technologies.

2. Help get doctors in proper use – don’t try to replace them.

3. Choose carefully what space you are in. The healthcare market is very segmented and the smaller startup you are the better you must choose your niche.

4. Revenue is the best format of funding. Customer is the best possible investor.

5. Bootstrapping forces your business to discipline.

6. Healthcare convenience is a strong selling point.

7. Consumers will drive medical community to transform.

8. Get proof of concept and evidence with a couple of customers. Without that your idea is not valuable.

9. Accelerators provide great environment, but you should vet them carefully to make sure they offer what you really need (relevant client contacts in your segment, space, mentors, funding).

10. Make sure you help customers to save money or make money. Preferably both. In the US,
improving quality alone does not rank high on the value proposition list.


Introducing New York eHealth Collaborative and Digital Health Accelerator

Introducing New York eHealth Collaborative and Digital Health Accelerator

Text: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

OWI’s US Gateway program is on a mission to find Finnish startups different gateways to the US healthcare market. Part of this mission is to recognize important connection points in the US and make sure our developers in Finland are aware of these possibilities. In this miniseries we interview some interesting people we have met during this fall.

September 26, 2013 I had the possibility to visit New York eHealth Collaborative and their Digital Health Accelerator. I met there VP Anuj Desai and Senior Program Manager Yossi Saadon.

Here’s what we discussed:

Eeva: I’m interviewing Yossi Saadon, Senior Program Manager of the Digital Health Accelerator in New York. Hello Yossi.

Yossi: Hi Eeva, how are you ?

Eeva: Great. Please tell me, what exactly is NY eHealth Collaborative and the Digital Health Accelerator ?

Yossi: NY eHealth Collaborative is a non-profit organization with a mission to bring healthcare to all New York through health IT. We break it out into different initiatives. The main thing is to drive the adoption of health IT and electronic health records across New York state.

We also created a state-wide health IT network to allow large hospitals to exchange clinical data with each other. This is the largest clinical network in the USA. We created an API on top of that network to bring innovation and startups to develop and stimulate this ecosystem.

On top of that we developed a New York Digital Health Accelerator program together with our partners, the partnership fund for New York City. This is a 9 month program for health IT startups, usually at the later stage. We require them have a beta and potentially some customers. The companies receive 300.000 usd investment from a group of investors. They have to have a presence in New York during the program.

Our unique differentiator in the program is that we match each of the companies selected to the program with 2-4 provider mentors, so they work with large hospitals in New York State, such as New York Presbyterian Hospital, North Shore LIJ and Mount Sinai. They work with them and receive their mentorship with the goal to get a pilot launched. We had our first class graduated in May 2013. We got 17 pilots launched with the providers and the companies created over 100 jobs in New York City.

Eeva: Sounds great. Can anyone from anywhere in the world apply to your accelerator ?

Yossi: Yes of course. Actually for the first program we received over 250 applications from different states in the US and also from across the world, from England and Israel for example. There is no problem of being part of the program.

Our only condition is to have a presence during the program in New York state. So we just try to attract companies with a hope that eventually they will have enough customers so that they will stay, because we also have an economic mission to create jobs.

Eeva: Do you give funding for the companies and do you take equity of them?

Yossi: Every company accepted into the program receives up to 300.000 usd from a group of investors in a form of a convertible note. First they receive in the beginning of the program 100.000 usd. We have a mid-program check in. All the companies that meet all the requirements receive the additional 200.000 usd.

Our partners, the Partnership fund for New York City, which is a VC with an economic mission to develop the New York, is responsible to a group of investors and they created the fund and can take the equity of the companies.

Eeva: There is a huge development potential in healthcare. Are there any specific domain areas you are looking for when choosing the startups for your accelerator program ? What kind of healthcare problems are you actually trying to fix ?

Yossi: Together with the healthcare providers who are part of our program we have identified four focus areas where there is a need for improvement in healthcare system. The four focus areas are: care coordination, analytics, patient engagement and message alerts. We are looking for companies in each of those specific focus areas to help improve healthcare delivery and reduce costs in those areas.

Eeva: Those are not any small problems you are solving. What are the biggest challenges for health IT startups ? What are they mostly struggling with ?

Yossi: Startups struggle with a lot of different things. It’s admirable to see entrepreneurs come with ideas and driving them forward. I would say the biggest challenge is all about selling. It’s trying to sell what you have. It’s selling to get investors, selling to get customers.

Also the access to customers is very, very challenging if you are a company developing product for healthcare providers because those hospitals have a very slow procurement process. It takes some time to review and get their approval and push it forward. Sometimes it just gets stuck. And just because it gets stuck doesn’t mean that they don’ t need it. Access to providers is very very challenging for startups.

Eeva: Sounds great that you help exactly in those difficult areas. What about investors, are they now active in health IT ?

Yossi: We have eight different investors as part of the program. Some are classic VC’s and some more strategic. There is a lot of excitement in this field, because it’s a changing industry with the Affordable Care Act.

When industry is changing, there is always opportunities for new innovation to come in. When new innovations are about to grow investors want to be part of it and help companies grow and be part of the business development and push it forward. It’s very exciting. This whole market is being stimulated. It’s a great place to be in.

Eeva: Sounds good. Finally, Yossi, we have a very active health IT developer community in Finland. What would you like to say to our developers ?

Yossi: First of all, I admire your drive to become entrepreneurs and developers in any field. I know it’s very very challenging. Keep up. I know sometimes it looks hard. Just do your things right, push forward and things get in the right place.

I invite all of you to come check our program. We offer a lot of tools and needed resources for developers and access to providers. New York State has a lot of large hospitals and health care providers that are eager also to accept those innovations and open-minded to mentoring. That access I want to provide to you guys.

Eeva: Thank you very much, Yossi.

Show your delta

Show your delta

Text and photo: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

A team of Finnish Health Tech Startups and support organisations are gathering this week in Santa Clara Silicon Valley for the 7th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference.

Special Team Finland program arranged by Tekes and Sitra, kicked off yesterday evening with a team gathering where an experienced group of Silicon Valley Finns (Michel Wendell, Hartti Suomela, Ari Tulla and Nelli Lähteenmäki) shared their insights and secrets to our group.

One thing that grabbed my attention was discussion about delta.

When meeting investors in different matchmaking and pitching sessions, it is important to make a good impression. Who are you ? What are you working on ? What is so special about your new product ? What is your value proposition ? These normal things.

If you are lucky – and if you have done your homework – you may get a chance to continue the talk deeper in your business case.

But according to the Valley Experts, what happens when you meet next time with that same person,  is far more important. What have you done since you last met ? Have you got new clients ? Have you been featured in media ? Have you made improvements to your product ? Have you got funding?

This is delta. This is progress. By showing investors evidence of what you have done since last time you are building trust and far more likely to end up having serious funding discussions.

Health tech accelerators – powerhouses of health innovations

Health tech accelerators – powerhouses of health innovations

Text and photo: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

This blogpost concludes our miniseries of funding advise to health tech innovators. In our previous posts we have collected list  of all active investors in the category of health, wellness and life science in Finland, Scandinavia, Europe and the US. In this final post we wrap up a
collection of interesting accelerator programs within health technology domain.

Who knew 5 years ago what kind of accelerator boom would take place in the startup scene in just a few years time? According to National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) there are now over 1,250 incubators in the United States and about 7,000 business incubators worldwide.

The whole idea of accelerators is to get startup founders exposure to networks with domain expertise and funding in order to get the business faster on the right track. Most of the accelerators are generic with a broad (mobile, web) domain focus.

Life science is a great example of a challenging industry where it makes sense to build industry-specific accelerators to speed up the development. Life science accelerators often have strong connection to medical faculties or medical centers as well as other key stakeholders in the life science industry, such as regulation and reimbursement experts, mentors, investors and networks. Most importantly accelerators have access and connections to early adopting customer prospects.

Accelerator services often include affordable office space, access to laboratory facilities, access to peers, support services, coaching and even seed funding. Other services include for example expert lectures, advisor and faculty office hours, workshops, networking events, and brokered customer meetings.

Many accelerators are non-profits funded by grants from government or they are funded by corporations and vc’s. As a return, accelerators’ funding partners get an early access to pre-screened dealflow, access to bubbling innovations and talent pool. By connecting with the vibrant health startup scene, they also get positive visibility for their corporate brand. Some accelerators take equity in the chosen accelerator startups. In the current accelerator boom
it is important for a startup to screen the track records of the accelerator they plan to apply for.

Here is our selection of interesting incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces for a seed-stage health and life science startup founder:

Alchemist Accelerator (Menlo Park, Calif.) is a venture-backed initiative focused on accelerating technical seed-stage enterprise startups, whose revenue comes from enterprises, not consumers. They select twice a year 10 teams for their 6 month program and $ 28 k funding. Selected startups must locate at the Bay Area but are not required to move in the Alchemist premises. They can locate where they choose in order to create their own company culture. Alchemist is not a pure life science accelerator but an interesting alternative also for a technical health startup with b-to-b focus.

BioCurious (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is a hackerspace for biotech with a mission to make innovations in biology accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. It is a co-working, training and meeting
place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students. It is a complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment and materials.

Blueprint Health (New York City, New York) offers twice a year an intensive three-month accelerator program to help healthcare entrepreneurs find customers and capital. The foundation of the program is a community of over 150 healthcare entrepreneurs, investors and industry executives. Accepted startups receive for example $20,000 in cash and an office space at Blueprint Health SoHo office. In exchange for the funding, support and mentorship, Blueprint Health receives a 6% equity stake in the accelerated company. Blueprint Health has a broad healthcare focus but does not include med tech or drug development.

Digital Health New York’s (New York City, New York) focus areas are care coordination, analytics, message alerts and patient engagement. Selected startups get access to clinical and technology provider organizations including hospitals, long-term care providers, community health centers, and primary care providers. They also get access to interoperability work group and a network of healthcare leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and investors. Each selected company will receive up to $300,000 of capital (convertible note).

Fogarty Institute for Innovation (Mountain View, Calif.) aims to create an environment where one can cost effectively develop technology that directly benefits patients. It is an educational
nonprofit offering three programs for different aspects of medical technology innovation (Innovation/Cultivation, Clinical Research/Validation and Outreach/Education).  Located on the campus of El Camino Hospital, the Fogarty Institute for Innovation includes laboratory and engineering space where physicians and engineers collaborate. Since 2007 four hand-picked applicants have received direct, sustained support in the form of facilities, ongoing mentoring and/or technology development costs.

Healthbox (Boston, Chicago, and London) brings together entrepreneurs, strategic partners, industry experts and investors to tackle real healthcare challenges. They look for healthcare
technology and technology-enabled service startup founders who address a specific and pressing challenge in the healthcare industry. They are interested in for example, improving patient engagement, provider effectiveness or preventative health and wellness. Entrepreneurs selected to participate in the 16-week program receive $ 50.000 seed money and support designed to address the challenges unique to starting a business in healthcare. In exchange for the program benefits, startups provide Healthbox with 7% equity.

Health XL  (Dublin and London) program begins in February of each year and focuses on
startups within digital health technology. The program has over 150 mentors and also works closely with healthcare industry, who sponsors the program. Health XL’s focus is in the following domains: direct medical solutions, personalization, patient compliance, prevention and participatory health solutions, health economics and integrated solutions.

More Disruption Please (MDP) is Athena Health’s innovation and partnership program aimed at entrepreneurs, health care IT companies, investors and thought leaders—anyone who shares their vision of changing the status quo in health care through openness and connectivity of disruptive solutions. With the program, AthenaHealth connects new innovators with their 35.000 health service providers. The company will ask neither for a fee nor equity, only for a discount for its clients. Also, MDP wants to give their partners a “go-to-market in a box” via their cloud-based network and integration into medical providers’ workflow.

RockHealth (San Fransisco, Calif.) was the first seed accelerator exclusively targeted for health startups. RockHealth takes in two classes a year. They provide capital ($100K convertible note), office space, mentorship, and operational support to high-potential, early stage, pre-vc entrepreneurs working on ideas in health. They focus on the disruptive edge of healthcare and look for themes like quantified self, EMR interoperability, provider-patient relationship, home
health, home aging, big data, modern analytics, enhanced care delivery, cost transparency, clinical trial modernization and smart health sensors and gadgets. Ideas should be addressing large problems in the healthcare system, with a business model that is sustainable and scalable.

We hope you found this resource useful. New programs and accelerators are born almost on a weekly basis all over the world so this is not trying to be a comprehensive list. Rather it is a quick look at what kind of alternatives there are available for the early stage health startup wanting to speed up their business.

Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Text by Eeva Kiuru and Veera Virta, Oulu Wellness Institute
Photo by Veera Virta

This is the third blogpost in our series introducing investors in health, wellness and life science. In previous parts we have collected investors in Finland and in Scandinavia. Now it is time to introduce investors in Europe and US. Since corporate venturing has started to play important role is life science investing, we have also included a list of some corporate investors in this domain.


Aberdare Ventures is investing in disruptive digital healthcare companies who aim to cut the unbearable cost of current healthcare. They see new technologies, such as connectivity, analytics, and portability; smart sensors and connected implantables; fast and inexpensive analyses of genes and proteins, the drivers of the change in healthcare. They are located in San Fransisco.

Advent Ventures is a growth and venture capital investor in market-leading tech and life science businesses. Their investments cover a range of sectors within life sciences, including new drug discovery, enabling technologies, med tech and diagnostics. They invest predominantly in early and mid-stage life science companies in Europe and US.

AESCAP is a venture capital company investing in private medical companies in Europe. Their focus is in high-potential companies that work in the fields of diagnosis and treatment of human diseases with realistic product opportunities. The office is in Amsterdam.

Aravis is a Swiss hands-on investor and within life science their focus is on biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and biotechnology companies. They operate in Europe, Asia and North America, with offices in Zurich.

Ariadne Capital is an early-stage investor with a focus on enabling technologies and tools which are transforming established businesses and creating the digital ecosystem of health and lifestyle. They are based in London.

BB Biotech Ventures focuses on emerging companies developing and marketing drugs and medical devices. They primarily focus on product-driven, clinical-stage companies.

Earlybird VC manages over 20 institutional investors’ funds and has invested in over 70
companies. They focus in startups based in Europe and their investment focus areas include medtech. The offices are located in Berlin, Munich and Milano.

Endeavour Vision is a venture and growth capital firm providing expertise and funding to entrepreneurs and companies with global ambitions in life sciences and information technologies. They operate in Europe and US and invest in early to expansion stage companies including spin-offs and restarts.

ED Venture‘s primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a focus on health care, human capital and aerospace. Overall, the chairman of ED Ventures, Esther Dyson, is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets (both economically and politically).

Forbion Capital Partners invests in life science and biomedical technology companies that are developing world-class drugs and technologies. They focus in late stage preclinical and early stage clinical product development programs. They have offices in Naarden, Netherlands and Munich, Germany.

Gimv invests in life science, medtech, health and care services companies operating in European market. Offices are in Antwerpen, Paris, Munich and Hague.

Index Ventures is one of the early venture firms in Europe, and they are dedicated to building world-class information technology and life science companies. They invest globally in companies with European focus, and their offices are located in Geneva and London. The initial investments focus in on series A and B rounds.

Khosla Ventures is a high profile investor interested in sevaral disruptive sectors including consumer health. They focus on early stage crazy ideas, black swans and unusual approaches with an unfair competitive advantage in their early and growth phases.

Life Science Partners, LSP, is one of the largest specialized healthcare and biotechnology investment firms. They operate in Europe and US with offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston. They invest in variety of areas in healthcare and biotechnology, including drug discovery and development, medical devices, diagnostics, IT-based solutions, industrial biotech and bio materials. The focus in on start-up companies in need of first venture funding but they invest also in later-stages.

Merieux Development is a healthcare investment company. Their main objectives are to identify scientific and technological innovations and support entrepreneurs and companies which potentially will contribute to the medicine of the future. Their target is to have 12 SME’s at different stages of development by 2014 in their portfolio. They operate in Europe, North America, India and China, with office in Lyon, France.

MVM Life Science invests in emerging, early and later stage, healthcare companies with focus on venture capital and growth equity investments. Currently portfolio companies are located in Europe, Israel and US. In life sciences they focus on platforms and products, discovery and development and devices and drugs.

NBGI Ventures is a venture capital fund investing in medical technology companies. Primarily, they invest in EU countries and in companies of all stages from seed to development.

NEA is investor focusing on three key domains—information technology, healthcare and energy technology in the early and growth phases. They operate in US, India and China.

Sofinnova Partners is venture capital firm based in Paris. It invests throughout Europe in life science and clean energy start-ups, early stage companies and corporate spin-offs. It is often the first institutional investor in round A financing.

TPG Biotech is the life science venture investment arm of TPGSM (formerly known as Texas Pacific Group), a global private investment firm. TPG Biotech supports physicians, scientists and entrepreneurs who are building innovation-based businesses in the life sciences. TPG Biotech invests across life science sectors, geographies and stages.

Wellington Partners makes early-stage and growth investments in life science and technology companies. Their focus in life science is in medtech, diagnostics, therapeutics and industrial biotechnology.

Vesalius BioCapital offers venture capital to young, innovative European life science companies and invests human health related companies. The focus is on therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and novel food applications and in companies of all stages of development.

Corporate investors

Ascension Health Ventures (AHV) is a strategic healthcare venture fund with $550 million in capital and nearly 300 acute care hospitals and numerous other healthcare related facilities as limited partners. Besides financial return, investment criteria include fit with strategic priorities of AHV’s limited partners’ health systems and potential to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, and/or enhance the experience of patients, families and caregivers. Investment focus is in
healthcare information technology and services, and medical devices and diagnostics.

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners (BCBSVP) is corporate venture fund sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in technologies, products and services in the healthcare industry that promote efficiency, lower costs, and provide more consumer options. Investments are made from seed through growth stages in US based companies. Focus areas are health IT, informatics, administration and back office, health programs, consumer driven solutions and healthcare finance.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund’s objective is to search significant enhancements in patient care through innovative and pioneering science. They look globally for groundbreaking therapeutic approaches and technologies that have the potential to advance patient care and meet unmet medical needs. They make initial investments in seed or series A funding.

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHI) is building a portfolio of investments in six focus areas that are outside of Merck’s core pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer products, and animal health businesses. GHI’s goal is to grow emerging health care solutions into meaningful businesses. Companies they invest in typically have current revenues, a strong business plan and high growth potential. Focus areas include flexible access, health intervention, personalized medicine, health productivity enablers, health infromatics and analytics and heath data liberation.

Qualcomm Ventures (QCV) is investment arm of Qualcomm Inc. They focus on disruptive early stage companies across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare. Their healthcare focused fund is Qualcomm Life. It specifically focuses on investing in venture-backed wireless health start-ups that will help accelerate the Qualcomm 2net Platform commercialization. The areas of specific interest to the fund range from personal wellness to disease management. Investments are made in areas such as body worn or implantable biosensors or devices for vertically focused applications such as chronic disease care, medication adherence, and fitness or wellness; integrated system providers that do remote diagnosis, monitoring or specialize in independent living; mobile software health IT applications; and health informatics/analytics

West Health Innovation Fund’s mission is to lower health care costs. They invest in companies that are developing health care technologies or services that have the potential to substantially lower the cost of health care delivery. The Fund targets early stage opportunities with a strong preference for pre-commercial and early commercial companies. They invest in innovations in the following areas: advancing cost-effective, cost-saving models of care, creation of efficient medical marketplace, promotion of actionable health care policy and health care data liberation.

This was quite a long list of potential investors. Life science and especially it’s new frontier, digital health and health IT is bubbling right now.  We wanted to do our share and make the funding opprtunities better visible for entrepreneurs. We are sure there are plenty of other investors currently active or becoming active in this field since this is a growth area and many traditional investors are already kicking tires of health tech and health IT.

And by the way, may we recommend you also have a look also at AngelList. There you can find  investors with specific keywords that fit exactly your funding needs.


In the next and final blogpost of this series we will focus on collecting the health tech and life science business accelerators. As always, please comment if we missed something you think should be added here. We would love to hear your comment to make sure this a valuable resource for you.

Health, wellness and life science investors in Scandinavia

Health, wellness and life science investors in Scandinavia

In the first part of the series introducing health, wellness and life science investors we introduced Finland-based investors. This second part of the series consists of introductions of investors based and investing in Scandinavia. The information here is gathered from the websites and introduces only the very basics of each investor, so use the links and go find out more!


BirkVenture is a Scandinavian venture company that offers venture capital to companies and entrepreneurs in life sciences. Their office is in Oslo. In their investments, they focus in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices and instruments, and consumer
health, and they look for attractive, long-term business cases and companies in their early stages.

HealthCap is a family of multi stage venture capital funds, investing globally in life sciences, with offices in Stockholm and Lausanne, Switzerland. They invest in the commercialization of innovations in medical science, focusing in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies. The investments are made in early-stage opportunities as well as in
more mature companies.

Incitia Ventures  is an independent Nordic VC fund manager based in Oslo. They invest in technology companies in the start-up and expansion phase within broad range of technology sectors. Incitia Ventures has hands-on involvement in companies so they invest in and nurture only a few investments at a time.

Innovationskapital  is an independent early stage venture capital firm for innovative growth companies in the Nordic region. They focus in early-stage companies in the areas of ICT, healthcare and life sciences.

Innoventus’ mission is to develop novel technology concepts and transform those into objects of visible and measurable commercial value. They invest in biotech and life science companies in the phase where technology ventures are too immature to meet traditional investment criteria. The geographic area of their investments is not defined, the headquarters are in Uppsala, Sweden.

Lundbeckfond Ventures is a venture fund investing in life science companies. It is owned by Lundbeck Foundation. The focus of their investments is in clinical pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, medtech, diagnostics, and healthcare service companies in northern Europe.

Novo Seeds is a life science supporting program that consists of a pre-seed fund and a seed fund. Their aim is to identify and develop into successful businesses the unexplored commercial potential in the academic and early stage applied research projects at universities and biotech companies in Scandinavia. See also other Novo Group investors, Novo Ventures and Novo Growth Equity.

NXT2B is a privately owned venture capital company with offices in Uppsala, Sweden. They invest with long term commitment in healthcare, medical device, and specialty pharmaceutical companies in their early phases. The focus is in projects with high scientific quality with reasonable business opportunities.

SLS Invest is a Scandinavian investor focusing in life science companies in Scandinavia. They invest in small and mid-sized companies in late product development, launch or product line extension phases.

Sunstone Life Science Ventures is a European investor based in Copenhagen. They invest in early-stage life science companies with focus in therapeutics, medtech, and diagnostics. The point of entry of the investment depends on the type of life science opportunity. Their geographic focus is especially in Nordic countries, Germany and Switzerland.

Vanadis Capital combines life science business knowledge, hands-on operational expertise and medical background in providing human and financial resources in acceleration of product validation, end-user alignment, market access and early growth. They focus on biotechnologies,
diagnostics, medical devices and services, and pharmaceuticals in northern Europe.


Hopefully these northern investor links are useful to you. Let us know if we missed someone who should be on the list. In the next blogpost we turn the attention to investors acting in wider
European scale, and finally in the fourth post we will wrap up the different healthtech business accelerators.

Health, wellness and life science investors in Finland

Text by Veera Virta, Oulu Wellness Institute

In this first part of the series introducing health, wellness and life science
investors the focus is in Finland. We have collected here public and private investors who have different funding instruments for companies in this field.

The information here is gathered from websites, and the purpose of these posts is to have an overlook on different investors. We strongly encourage you to find out more about the ones that are of interest to you and reach out to them! We are also more than happy to make introductions for you.

Even though these investors operate mainly in Finland, some of the private investors do invest in larger geographic area, focusing for example in Scandinavia or Europe.

Private equity firms and funds

Biocelex is a private company focusing in international innovation and business development. It is the right hand for the Karolinska Institutet in Finland. They provide early-stage funding solutions and innovation and business development services for research sector and Life Science companies. Their focus is on drug discovery and development, diagnostics, biomaterials, functional foods and life science services.

Innovatum Partners (BioAssetInvest) is a life science and healthcare business accelerator, with objective to help top research in Finland from early stage business to the next level and to success stories. Innovatum Partners is one of the Vigo accelerators.

Inveni Capital is a life science focused venture capital firm that invests in northern and central Europe. They offer venture capital to life science, drug development and healthcare technology companies in their early and growth stages.

Inventure‘s idea is to work actively as lead-investors crafting detailed
growth and value creation strategies in co-operation with the entrepreneurs. The focus is on high-tech, medical equipment, software, electronics, semiconductor, industrial production and material technology, early stage companies in Finland and Scandinavia.

Lifeline Ventures consists of a team of serial entrepreneurs who invest in health, web, and game business companies in their very early stage, often before the launch of the first product. The entrepreneurs can benefit from team’s hands-on industry experience, skills and contacts. They look for disruptive ideas and driven founders who aim to global category leadership. Lifeline Ventures is one of the Vigo accelerators.

Northern Startup Fund is an asymmetric venture capital fund managed by Butterfly Ventures. The focus is on software based businesses which are, or plan to be, located in Northern Ostrobotnia region in Finland. They invest in early stage startups either in seed of pre-seed stage.

Teknoventure Management is a private capital investor with no industry limitations. They offer equity financing and ownership solutions to companies in various sectors by participating in business
reorganizations and growth financing. They invest mainly in western and
northern Finland.

Vision+ is a product investment fund investing in applications, games, and service on all digital platforms. Their focus is only in products which need to be digitally distributed, the monetization has to come from consumers or the demand for the product is consumer driven, and the
product should already be on the market or at least ready to be launched within 1-9 months from the investment.

Public institutions and funds

Even though the Finnish public funding institutions are well-known among health entrepreneurs, at least  according our recent Health, Wellness and Life Science business barometer, we want to recap the most important ones here:

Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
(ELY-keskus) manages regional development funding. There are 15 local
centres and usually the first contact point for the early stage funding

Finnvera is a specialized national financing company. It provides its clients with loans, guarantees, venture capital investments and export credit guarantees by offering financing solutions for start-up, growth, internationalization and export.

The Foundation for Finnish Inventions (Keksintösäätiö), screens and evaluates inventions and innovative business ideas generated by private
persons and start-up enterpreneurs, and helps develop them into businesses. Promising ideas with growth and international business potential are refined into business proposals or licensing projects together with experienced business advisors.

SITRA is the Finnish Innovation Fund, which invests in activities, which promote and stimulate new business models that aim for sustainable well-being. Sitra provides funds for surveys, forward-thinking activities,
experiments, and shared strategy processes that promote well-being and
are ecologically and socially sustainable. Sitra is a public fund, and reports directly to the Finnish parliament.

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovations, finances development of innovations that aim at growth and new business operations. They have a variety of different programmes
and funding instruments for example for R&D projects, young and innovative growth companies, and for internationalization processes.

There is a lot happening right now in the field of health tech funding. We might have missed someone, so if you know of other investors in the field of health, wellness and lifescience, please post a link or contact our team.

In the next posting we will wrap up the Scandinavian and European investors in this field.

Oulu Wellness Institute (OWI) is a non-profit foundation building a entrepreneur community and helping innovative health and wellness entrepreneurs bring their ideas to global marketplace. Our work is funded by Finnish Knowledge Cluster program and City of Oulu.