20 of Europe’s top health and medtech start-ups

23 Jan 2018

Image: kenary820/Shutterstock

When it comes to health and medtech, Europe is bursting with innovative new ways to help us live longer and healthier lives.

From analytics to apps, wearables to sensors, and headsets to mobile devices, the clever tech revolution reshaping health and medical technologies (medtech) is finding a natural home in Europe.

From Dublin to Zurich, Stockholm to Berlin and elsewhere, the fusion of hardware with software and analytics is creating the perfect storm when it comes to innovations that will help us understand our bodies and hopefully live happier, healthier and longer lives.

This listing is part of our Europe Start-up 100 series for 2018, which also includes fintech, IoT/hardware, consumer/e-commerce and enterprise/SaaS entrepreneurs.

Ada Health (Berlin)

Ada Health was founded by Daniel Nathrath, Dr Claire Novorol and Dr Martin Hirsch in 2011, and has offices in Berlin, London and Munich. Launched in 2016, the Ada app acts as a health companion, using AI to help users understand their symptoms and connect them to a doctor.

Last October, Ada Health raised $47m in a funding round led by Access Industries, bringing its total amount raised to almost $67m. According to TechCrunch, the “Alexa for health” company will use the funding to improve the app, hire new staff and open a US office.

Amra (Linköping)

Swedish start-up Amra has attracted interest from some of the pharma industry’s biggest players for its ability to turn magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into body composition measurements using its cloud-based, computer-aided service.

Amra was founded by Magnus Borga and Olof Dahlqvist in 2010 after being inspired by the documentary Super Size Me. The company started off 2017 with a bang with $9m in funding from pharma giant Pfizer, allowing it to begin establishing a US subsidiary and expand its network among more leading researchers in the field.

Ava (Zurich)

Medtech company Ava specialises in women’s health by way of the Ava bracelet, which uses a patented big-data approach to detect a woman’s fertility window.

Founded in 2014 by Philipp Tholen, Peter Stein, Pascal Koenig and Lea von Bidder, Ava raised $9.7m in a Series A round of funding from seven investors led by Polytech Ecosystem Ventures.

The Zurich-based start-up empowers couples who are trying to get pregnant by giving them precise insights about the menstrual cycle through the Ava bracelet based on 3m data points measured every night.

Babylon Health (London)

London’s Babylon Health aims to give quality healthcare via mobile phones. Founded by Dr Ali Parsa, Babylon Health wants to combine the power of technology with the expertise and knowledge of medical professionals to create a personalised and affordable approach to healthcare.

It also provides a free service with the NHS called GP at Hand to make video consultations more accessible. Investors include Vostok New Ventures and Hoxton Ventures.

BrainWaveBank (Belfast)

Co-founders Brian Murphy, Ronan Cunningham, Siggi Saevarsson and Urs Streidl created BrainWaveBank to transform the monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of cognitive health. It uses a headset to measure brain health for a few minutes every day while playing a series of mobile games. Over time, machine-learning and brain-reading technologies are used to build a detailed record of personal cognitive health, even providing advice to users that could eventually be used in the development of new diagnostics or clinical trials.

The Belfast start-up received £1m in funding from the Angel CoFund in March 2017.

Coroflo (Dublin)

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Coroflo CEO Roseanne Longmore. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Dublin-based Coroflo has developed and patented a revolutionary nipple shield and app that aids mothers in the breastfeeding process. It was founded by Rosanne Longmore, CTO Jamie Travers and chief medical officer Helen Barry.

Coroflo was recently named winner of the Dublin leg of the Virgin Media Business Voom tour. It also won the ESB Spark of Genius competition for 2017.

Cortechs (Dublin)

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Cortechs founder Áine Behan. Image: NDRC

Cortechs, which has developed innovative ways to improve the attention of kids with ADHD, was founded by Áine Behan, who achieved a BSc in neuroscience and a PhD in neuropathology en route to start-up success.

Behan worked as a research lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and has more than 10 years’ postdoctoral experience in mood disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Behan and Cortechs pioneer ‘neurofeedback’, a treatment proven to alleviate the core symptoms of ADHD.

NDRC-based Cortechs uses digital tools such as gameplay to retrain the brain using brainwaves. The beauty of this is that once the brain learns, it doesn’t tend to forget. Learning, memory and attention are just some of the areas that Cortechs can help with.

Doctolib (Paris)

Going by the rate at which Doctolib is attracting interest and funding, your doctor’s appointment in the near future might be booked using its platform.

The France-based company was founded in 2013 and now has one of its co-founders, Stanislas Niox-Chateau, as its CEO. The service has 12m monthly visitors across 30,000 health professionals in France and Germany.

In November of last year, the firm raised a considerable sum of €35m, bringing its total fundraising in 2017 to €61m, making it one of the best-funded health start-ups in Europe.

Doctrin (Stockholm)

Swedish health start-up Doctrin aims to help healthcare providers to digitise patient journeys with the right tools, processes and training.

Founded in May 2016 by Ashkan Labaf and Magnus Liungman, Doctrin’s digital platform allows healthcare providers to prioritise, treat and follow up with patients in a safe and secure way online.

Doctrin has had a total of five funding rounds, the most recent of which yielded €10m in a Series A round led by healthcare provider Capio and life sciences fund HealthCap, with Inbox Capital and Norrsken Foundation as co-investors.

Elvie (London)

Founded in 2013 by Tania Boler and Alexander Asselly, Elvie is located in London. A femtech company, Elvie builds products to improve the lives and health of women.

The Elvie Trainer helps women to strengthen their pelvic floor and is recommended by hundreds of healthcare professionals around the world. The trainer’s biofeedback technology helps motivate users to take care of their intimate health.

It has won 13 design and innovation awards and is registered with the FDA in the US. Octopus Ventures is among Elvie’s investors.

Ieso Digital Health (Cambridge)

UK-based Ieso Digital Health aims to make mental health therapy accessible, affordable and flexible by delivering these services through an AI-assisted online platform. Available through the NHS, a recent report noted that nearly 17,000 people have been treated using Ieso so far, and results show that it is cutting treatment time in half.

Now, on the back of £18m funding led by Draper Esprit and Touchstone Innovations, the company has its sights set on the US market. Founder Barnaby Perks has since handed the reins over to US-based corporate CEO Dan Clark to lead this international expansion.

Ivbar (Stockholm)

Stockholm-based start-up Ivbar has lofty ambitions, hoping to use its data analytics platform, ERA Vision, to revolutionise healthcare and provide what it calls ‘collective care intelligence’.

The firm was founded in 2012 by CEO Jonas Wohlin, who has more than 10 years of experience running healthcare organisations. The tools provided by Ivbar allow medical professionals to easily interpret data in the hopes of providing insights about health outcomes and resource allocation.

The company announced last year that it had drummed up SEK 50M (€5m) in an equity investor round provided by market-focused investor firm Summa Equity.

Nuritas (Dublin)

Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas founder and chief science officer. Image: Nuritas

Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas founder and chief science officer. Image: Nuritas

Founded by Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas uses AI, machine learning and DNA analysis to rapidly predict, and then provide access to, potentially beneficial components hidden within food (peptides). The results could lead to the discovery of new food components to help prevent, manage and even cure deadly diseases.

In December 2017, it emerged that the company secured €16m in Series A funding led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, bringing its total investment to date to approximately €25m. Founded in 2014, Nuritas boasts some pretty well-known funders from previous rounds, including Bono and The Edge from U2, and Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff.

Oviva (Zurich)

Zurich-based start-up Oviva could easily be considered a pioneer of digital dietetics, improving the way we treat health conditions related to diet. Oviva allows patients to self-record eating habits, weight and exercise. It also has a mobile app, which allows dieticians to directly communicate with their patients to provide remote diet and nutrition guidance.

Oviva was founded by Kai Eberhardt, Manuel Baumann and Mark Jenkins in 2014, and its first and only round of funding raised $12m from five investors in November 2017.

Popit (Helsinki)

The cleverly named Popit is a Finland-based start-up offering a smart pill tracker to ensure users never miss another pill.

Founded in 2016 by Janne Sahlman, Marko Nirhola, Teemu Piirainen and Timo Heikkila, Popit consists of both an app and a Bluetooth-connected device with patented pill-extraction detection technology. It also has a cloud service that supports treatment by analysing the efficiency of medication consumption.

Popit had its first round of funding in August 2017, which resulted in $1.2m from three investors: Butterfly Ventures, Amor & Labor Oy and Tekes.

SidekickHealth (Reykjavík)

Hopping on the gamification train, Icelandic start-up SidekickHealth, which also has offices in Palo Alto, provides an evidence-based social health ‘game’ platform. It leverages AI to encourage exercise and lifestyle changes that will stave off chronic disease.

The company is fronted by two doctors, Sæmunder Oddson and Tryggvi Thorgeirsson. The latter authored a paper in conjunction with the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health detailing how behavioural economics can influence lifestyle choices, the theories of which inspire facets of the SidekickHealth app.

As of 2017, the company has raised $3.8m in seed funding over three consecutive annual rounds of fundraising, most recently securing $1.5m from Icelandic VC firm Frumtrak Ventures.

SilverCloud Health (Dublin)

SilverCloud Health began in Dublin in 2011 and was co-founded by Ken Cahill and James Bligh. It is at the forefront of designing a new behavioural healthcare model by providing online therapeutic solutions to improve mental wellness, supporting more than 80,000 patients around the world.

SilverCloud Health is a spin-out company created from a project undertaken by the NDRC, Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, and Parents Plus at the Mater University Hospital in Dublin.

Think Biosolution (Dublin)

Think Biosolution aims to empower fitness enthusiasts to manage their health by exercising in smarter and more efficient ways.

Co-founded by Koushik Kumar Nundy and Shourjya Sanyal in 2016, the company’s QuasaR technology measures fitness metrics such as heart rate and respiratory rate using a camera sensor and plug-and-play performance coaches. The sensor can then be used in fitness and sports apparel, integrating seamlessly into garments.

NDRC is the main investor in the wearables player.

Wellmo (Espoo)

For insurance companies trying to tap into the digital health market, it’s tough to compete with the established device and app-makers in this space. With Wellmo, these firms can create their own branded digital health platform, integrating Garmin, Fitbit, Jawbone, Runkeeper and about 100 more third parties.

Founded by two former Nokia employees – Jaakko Olkkonen and Sampo Niskanen – this Finnish start-up is targeting Germany, the Benelux countries and the broader Nordics for its expansion.

Last April, Wellmo raised €1.3m in Series A funding from institutional and private investors, and Crunchbase puts its total funding to date at more than €3m.

Xeltis (Zurich)

Based in Zurich, medical device start-up Xeltis is “naturally restoring the heart valve” using a therapeutic approach called endogenous tissue restoration.

In November of last year, Xeltis raised €45m in a Series C round, which the company described as “the largest funding round for a European private medical device company in 2017”.

The FDA has granted Xeltis approval for a patient trial and the company was recognised by Siliconrepublic.com in 2017 for its role as a Swiss start-up at the nexus of import innovations in medtech.