Two Irish start-ups selected for global medtech accelerator

8 Jun 2022

Neurovalens co-founder and CEO Dr Jason McKeown. Image: Neurovalens

MedTech Innovator has selected 50 companies from more than 1,000 applicants to take part in its annual showcase, which features some of the most innovative companies from around the world.

Belfast-based Neurovalens and Galway-based SymPhysis Medical have been selected to take part in this year’s MedTech Innovator accelerator.

MedTech Innovator, based in California, is one of the world’s most recognisable competitions and accelerators for start-ups creating new technologies in the medtech and digital health space.

50 companies have been selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants for the MedTech Innovator Showcase programme, which features innovative companies from around the world each year at two leading industry conferences.

The selected start-ups will get access to leading medtech manufacturers, providers, investors and other industry stakeholders. At the conclusion of the programme, MedTech Innovator will award $500,000 in cash and in-kind prizes in a final competition.

Last month, MedTech Innovator CEO Paul Grand told that he’s a “big fan” of the Irish start-up ecosystem and sees Ireland as one of the strongest performing countries in MedTech Innovator every year.

For example, four companies from Galway – Atrian Medical, Lifelet Medical, Neurent Medical and Tympany Medical – landed spots on MedTech Innovator 2021.

SymPhysis Medical

In April, 27 international medtech start-ups pitched their innovations at a MedTech Innovator event in Dublin. Of these start-ups, six were from Ireland – the highest representation from any country.

SymPhysis Medical, which raised €1.9m in funding in March for its palliative care device, went on to win the event.

A previous Start-up of the Week, SymPhysis Medical aims to combine design and digital technology to deliver a high standard of patient care at home.

The Galway-based medtech is working on a minimally invasive technology to treat fluid build-up in the lungs. This condition can be experienced by late-stage breast and lung cancer patients and can cause severe shortness of breath, chest pain and distress.

Following FDA clearance, SymPhysis plans to target the US market and expects sales to reach €1.5m in the first year, commencing at the end of 2023. The company expects its turnover to reach €49m by the end of 2025.


Neurovalens, which shares its headquarters between Belfast and San Diego, was established in 2015 and aims to combine neuroscience and technology to tackle global health challenges such as insomnia, anxiety and diabetes.

The company uses medical devices to deliver low-level electrical stimulation to deep parts of the brain in a non-invasive way, with the aim of curing or treating neurological conditions without the need for implanted electrodes.

“It’s an incredible honour to have been chosen for the MedTech Innovator accelerator as the programme is held in the highest regard by everyone in the medical device industry,” said Neurovalens CEO Dr Jason McKeown. “To be selected in the top 50 companies and picked to showcase how our technology can help treat type 2 diabetes is another significant milestone for our business.”

Neurovalens raised £4.6m in a Series A round in 2019. In 2020, it raised a further £5.1m in funding from UK and Irish investors. This was used to expand existing clinical trials, fund new trials and apply its technology to treat a wider range of conditions.

Last December, Invest NI gave Neurovalens a grant of £225,000 to fund clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of its technology when used as a treatment for generalised anxiety disorder, insomnia and PTSD.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic