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05 October 2022·5 min read

Martyna Konys

Program Manager, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Health Founders

Health Founders is an Estonian accelerator that supports ambitious founders from the health tech sector, improving human healthspan through their innovative solutions. Its mission is to help create 100 new health technology companies over the next 10 years. It is the first vertical health technology accelerator in the Baltics, offering its startups a specialized development program, support from experienced mentors, access to a living-lab for product testing, a community hub, IT, finance, legal support and much more! 

Accelerator Strategy Overview

Geography: Tallinn, Estonia
Preferred industries: Healthcare technology
Company stage: Pre-seed
Product stage: Pre-MVP / MVP
Product type: Accelerator

 

PROGRAM DETAILS

Duration: 8 months
Participation fee: 0 
Equity Investment: -
Grant: -
No. of batches per year (+ months when you collect applications): 1-2
No. of startups in a cohort: 5-10 startups

Q&A with Siim Saare, Founding Partner of Health Founders

What are the 5 most important things you look for in a startup applying to your acceleration program? 

-Ambitious and capable founders, who know and understand what they are building and why
-Breakthrough ideas addressing an unmet need
-Clear roadmap for clinical, regulatory, technological, and business product validation
-At least 2 members in the founding team
-Coachability 

What startups should take into account before applying to your acceleration program?

Startups should take into account that being part of an accelerator program takes continuous time, effort, and dedication. We want our startups to grow and we provide them with all the possible help - in return we want to see them push their solutions forward and create positive momentum for their business.

Can you share some of the red flags that can disqualify a startup from joining your accelerator?

A single founder without a team always raises questions. If there is a founding team, it can often be very unbalanced, for example, very tech-focused but lacking clinical, regulatory and go-to-market competencies. Also, lack of basic idea validation before applying for the program.

What are the most valuable skills that selected startups can develop thanks to your program?

By participating in Health Founders accelerator program, founders will:

  • learn how to build and commercialize healthtech solutions
  • gain an understanding of regulatory frameworks
  • learn how to fundraise;
  • improve pitching and communication skills;
  • improve business operations skills
  • develop leadership skills on how to set goals, motivate the team and build resilience  

How does your accelerator support portfolio companies during and after the program?

We immerse startups in our unique healthtech-focused development program and give them full access to our global network of experienced mentors, experts, partners, and investors.

Startups and alumni can test and validate their products in real-life settings in our living-lab at Ülemiste Smart City, which is also where our community hub and co-working space is located.  Although our program is fully online, we organize monthly community events to bring our teams together and facilitate sharing and learning from one another. We continue to support our startups and have them access our ecosystem even after the program's graduation. Our growing mentor and investor network will always be open for alumni.

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio?


Migrevention (digital headache clinic)
Nanordica Medical (innovative wound-care solution)
SpeakTX (speech therapy platform)
Activate (digital therapeutics for preventing heart disease)
Dermtest (digital therapeutics for psoriasis)

What key lessons have you learned from projects that didn’t work out the way you expected?

The key reason for projects failing tends to be the founding team’s lack of commitment and ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. While adaptability and coachability can be developed, the commitment needs to be there from the start. Everything else we can help our teams learn during the program.

Why, in your opinion, accelerators are becoming more popular nowadays?

The world is full of ideas that never become a business. The only thing that really matters is the quality of execution. Accelerators provide a unique platform for validating your product and helping turn it into a viable business model.

Healthcare is a highly complex industry where product development cycles are very different from consumer products. That’s why we have taken a vertically integrated approach and built our program ground-up to give our teams the best possible know-how and tools for building future healthtech unicorns.

What are the hottest markets you currently look at as an accelerator and where do you see the biggest hype?

We are increasingly looking at the digital therapeutics (DTx) sector. With the surging prevalence of chronic diseases, the need to control healthcare costs and supportive regulatory initiatives, we believe the next billion-dollar companies are already being built in this space.

Of course, with every new innovation, there is a fair amount of hype and growth challenges as well. It will be very hard for young DTx startups to navigate these waters without experienced mentors and support systems and that’s where we can help.

Do you have any predictions about the key trends that will shape the European accelerator scene in the near future?

We believe verticalization will continue and there will be more specialized accelerator programs that have deep domain knowledge and are able to provide industry-specific expertise, mentors, partners, and investor networks. 

As the first healthtech-focused accelerator in the Baltics, we are proud to drive this agenda forward and hopefully scale our platform across more countries in the future.

 Related Posts: 

Startup Accelerator Of The Month -  SpinLab (by Martyna Konys, Program Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - The Alpha Accelerator (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

Accelerator Of The Month - Demium (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)



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