Baze Takes Health.Pioneers Glory

Events
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Richard Asher Writer at Pioneers.io

Personalized nutrients startup Baze was crowned winner today at Health.Pioneers, the ultimate meeting point for innovators advancing digital healthcare across Europe and beyond. 205 health industry attendees including corporate executives, investors and 100 health industry startups took part in 226 one-to-one meetings, with startup pitches and keynotes completing a packed programme in Amsterdam.

Baze emerged as the winner from a day’s worth of competitive startup pitching at the event. In total 15 hand-picked startups pitched in three different categories, with the Berlin-based startup the finalist in the Personalized Medicine & Health Management category. Startups were judged on the quality of their team, their potential impact on society, their initial traction, the size of their potential market and finally their technology and IP protection.

Today wasn’t the first time Baze took part in a Pioneers event, having also pitched at Pioneers’17. They’ll get another chance next year, as their prize for winning Health.Pioneers is to be fast-tracked into the Pioneers Challenge Top 50 for the next edition of the flagship event in Vienna.

“We’ve not had a success like this before,” said delighted Baze CEO Philipp Schulte. “I think the judges saw the huge unmet need in the space of using nutrition to keep us healthy, make us fitter and drive our well-being. And I think they saw that we offer an integrated solution to that need, and one with huge business potential. It would be great to be up on that big stage at the Hofburg Palace in May!”

In the meantime Baze hopes to use this boost to drive their investment round and kick-start the sales launch with which they’re currently busy. While their sampling kits (the first step towards the individual nutrient doses they then make using the blood sample) aren’t available in the shops just yet, they can already be ordered on Baze.com.

“I would definitely think this will open doors for us,” continued Schulte. “Publicity is always good! We’re currently doing a funding round for our launch into the US market, and also looking for partnerships to help us drive that launch, including concrete sales partnerships.

“We’re definitely open to working with big corporates: we all know that a great product is wonderful and a great team is even better, but obviously sales are just as important. So we would love to have strong partners on that.”

“We had a difficult decision to take,” said Pioneers Ventures Managing Director Philipp Stangl, who sat on the judging panel during Baze’s pitching session. “All the startups who presented in our session were of high quality and delivered very appealing pitches. Baze impressed us with their bottom-up approach to putting the tools to improve nutritional status in a patient’s own hands, thereby disrupting this huge industry with a data-driven approach.”

The other two startup finalists were DNA and microbiome testing and analysis company Atlas Biomed in the Transformative Medical Technologies category, and ‘digital health gym’ app hiMoment in the Preventive Medicine & Digital Health Pathways stream. In addition to those startups selected for the pitching contest, another 15 chosen innovators showcased their technology as exhibitors.

Apart from the startup contest and all those meetings engineered by the automated Pioneers Match & Meet service, the Health.Pioneers attendees enjoyed a full day’s action on the stage.

Johannes Schildt co-founder of market-leading Swedish video doctor platform KRY, opened the morning session on the main Theatre Stage with his Shifting the Healthcare Paradigm keynote, during which he underlined just how big a digital revolution is hitting the health industry.

“90% of primary healthcare will be moving online,” he said. “There’s just so much volume we can take into digital, and the lion’s share of it is definitely going to be there. By moving that volume mobile we can create a system that’s easier and more convenient, while saving the people paying for health care a lot of money. Most importantly, we can save patients a lot of time and effort.”

Then attention turned specifically to data, in the subsequent the Patient Empowerment and Data-Driven Innovation in Healthcare session.

“Data is going to be the foundation of the transformation in health care,” said panellist Bart de Witte, Director of Digital Health in the DACH region for IBM Germany. “Because in 10 years 80% of diagnosis will be performed by algorithms. And bear in mind that even something like voice can be a perfect dataset for something like diagnosing mental diseases.

“The terms and conditions we’re seeing in healthcare exits and takeovers are increasingly showing the importance of data acquisition. Going forward we need to start thinking in terms of a platform economy, stop using data protection as an excuse to block innovation and put more money into the market. And there’s going to be a huge battle to become the platform that’s a kind of Google for health data.”

After that Vishaal Gulati, Healthtech VC with London-based investment company Draper Esprit, took to the stage to deliver a confident presentation in Healthcare Rebooted. He gave a few telling hints to startups looking for ways in which they can bring real value.

“There are a few things we need to focus on to change the health system in a dramatic way,” said Vishaal, who is also a qualified physician and Chairman of the Digital Health Forum. “Genomics is a key area: we are actually capable of sequencing everybody on the planet by 2020, and using that to transform healthcare. We need to work on growing telecare and connectivity: virtual medical appointments will surpass physical ones by 2025. We also need to address the inequalities in the healthcare system.

“But the biggest thing we need is data we can learn from. The most powerful thing about digital platforms is you can learn from every encounter - and this is something that old-fashioned companies don’t do. We should be using data obsessively to learn to serve the patient better in the next encounter.”

Later in the day, during the Health Startups & Corporations - Models of Collaboration session, which explored the concept of open innovation, Rocco van den Berg, Innovation Lead at Philips HealthWorks, summed up the importance of such collaborations.

“Big companies like us need small companies that can take big risks, try big ideas and very often move quicker than us because they have no legacy. Corporates on their side can help with access to internal networks of experts, exposure to their own collaborations and perhaps funding and IP sharing.

“No single company can face today’s challenges in healthcare on its own. We need to do it through this kind of collaboration.”

“Events like Health.Pioneers are a great platform for startups to meet ‘slow’ corporates like us!” added Rocco’s fellow panellist Min-Sung Sean Kim, VC for Allianz Ventures in response to a question from the audience.

The final session of the day focused on the huge potential brought by gene editing. CRISPR/Cas9 Co-Inventor Krzysztof Chylinski on delivered the keynote, which outlined on the exciting possibilities for this ‘cut and paste’ gene-editing technology.

Pioneers’18, our flagship annual event in which 2,500 tech innovators from around the world gather at the Hofburg in Vienna, takes place on May 24-25 next year. Meanwhile the next event in the Pioneers calendar is Mobility.Pioneers, which takes place in Munich on February 8. For more information click here.

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