FinNode USA - Living in the Future Easily (LIFE)
Is the present a true indication of the future? Will we live healthier based on what we now know or on what we will learn? Accurate and intelligent self and remote monitoring of health, activities and physical location will enhance quality of life and care, but what is the next generation of lifestyle, health and wellness monitors, services, and applications? Lifestyle products may include unique and effective exercise equipment; Healthcare products may include pain relief, insomnia relief, or allergy relief products; Wellness products may include detoxification or general diet support. Ideal products will have data demonstrating improved performance, but not necessarily require clinical studies, a historical barrier for Finnish companies. Finnish technology has traditionally been ahead of US consumption patterns, but has not been able to break down barriers or fully meet market needs. LIFE will teach us how to close the gap between today’s technologies and tomorrow’s needs. LIFE will better inform and prepare Finnish companies, labs and universities to compete globally and profitably. LIFE will better position Finnish companies and technologies so that those who commercialize them will get to market faster.
OSKEs, SHOKS, Tekes and Tekes funded companies and VTT all require focus, direction, partners and funding to succeed. LIFE is designed to reframe market entry using new knowledge, networks and business models that will enhance the ability of the Finnish wellbeing and life science ecosystem to gain new traction and presence in the US arena.
1. Developed and begin a follow up project, Business Models for Health IT Companies,
which will focus upon business models for mobile health companies
2. Define and secure working relationships with the top US mobile health ecosystems: San Francisco,
Philadelphia, Boston, San Diego that were initiated during LIFE
3. Follow up leads from the LIFE Seminar and move companies forward in US business opportunities
4. Identify the next guest speaker for a fall/winter 1 day workshop on mobile health
What was learned in the projects, major findings of the project?
1. There is a new breed of Finnish startups that are are demonstrating a new sense of drive and
"aggression" towards success. While their technologies are still not market ready, they are ready to change and meet market needs. They are more market aware yet need training and coaching to take them to market. They are receptive to the right kind of training by the right people.
2. The gap between what is designed in the US and what is designed in Finland has lessened. However, we are now seeing a need for a different type of market intelligence and entry strategies along with the need for a new style of coaching for Finnish startups. Finpro has launched its mentoring program and this appears to be on target.
3. The increase in US based mobile health ecosystem support and commercialization is reaching a new level of sophistication and quality. The Y Combinator (www.ycombinator.com) model of accelerated incubation has lead to 3-4 comparable accelerators for mHealth startups in the US: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. This appears to be the new and more accepted model and is attracting significant attention and venture money. Finpro now has working relationships with three of them with agreements to review Finnish companies. LIFE has made this possible.
4. The relationship with Cleveland Clinic continues and is becoming more defined reflecting Finpro's10+ years of on-going cooperation with several of its senior staff from their pre-Cleveland Clinic days. The addition of new VC staff with existing Finnish investment experience (almost USD 100 million) is a plus. Four companies introduced to the Clinic during the LIFE seminar are now in various stages of cooperation and business development.
5. To summarize that last two bullets: LIFE has enabled new and strong cooperative relationships with key US players in healthcare and mobile health. This is proof that Finnish companies can work with the best in the US. It is also an indication that Finnish companies still need coaching and have to work hard to succeed in the US.
6. The value of "interactivity" with the market and key players at the Finnode project level cannot be understated. However, there is also a new and higher level of expectations by the US network and contacts that must be acknowledged, managed, and honored. The competition for access to these players is fierce. There is no room for what Tekes calls Technology Tourism (a marvelous expression) or presenting less than ready companies. The rules of the game and expectations have been set higher.
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