Upgraded Life Festival presents the hottest health startups.


Health goes digital

Collaboration a driving force for startups

Information and communication technologies have established a visible presence in the healthcare and wellness sector. New business accelerators specialising in innovation in the digital healthcare sector are popping up all over Europe. Their programmes are designed to offer training and coaching support for startups. For startups, success always relies on collaboration.

“What we need to be able to do is connect all the dots. At the moment, all the different actors in the sector are working in relative isolation. What we should be doing is working together to unlock maximum benefits for all. In the near future, we need to be able to set up a data depository that can be used to create something truly life changing.We just need to be willing to share our health data and have the right processes in place to do that”, Rocco van den Berg, Digital Accelerator Innovation Lead at Philips, says.

New technological advances and digitalization are delivering a seismic shift in the healthcare sector. Much of what doctors used to do can now be done by nurses.

“Thanks to smart materials and wearable technologies, the hospital will be coming to you via your phone,” van den Berg adds, by way of a forecast.

Partners working together on development projects

“Digital healthcare sector accelerators are seeing steady growth in Europe, and there are several good example of this happening. We should really be making more noise about their success Jarmo Ruohonen, Director, MR Therapy at Philips, point out.

Startups are forging closer links with big, established businesses in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. Collaboration works.


“You no longer need to set up a big team around you. There are plenty of service providers that help startups focus on their own strengths and let them get on with solving their clients’ problems,” van den Berg explains.

What does it take to deliver innovation in the healthcare innovation sector?

“It takes both co-creation and collaboration. People shouldn’t fear data sharing and there is no point in re-inventing the wheel for the seventh time. Joint working brings benefits for everyone.”

Innovation will not happen if you never venture beyond your own four walls and none of us can change the world single-handedly. And therein lies the brilliance of the business accelerators; they are an opportunity for collaboration.

Big hype around health technology

There is a real buzz surrounding startups of all kinds in Finland at the moment, but by far and away the biggest chatter is happening around the healthcare and wellbeing sector. The Finnish health tech sector is currently enjoying a very bright outlook indeed – so much so that it currently ranks as the country’s best performing high-tech export sector. For its success, it relies on an active research community, a sophisticated technological skill set, a strong mobile gaming and gamification network and the fact that, in a small country, the right experts are always easy to find.

In Espoo there's many success stories going on in the health startup scene, among them NetMedi and Heimo. Read their stories: