A new business development program launching in Winston-Salem will bring the most promising healthcare IT and digital health companies from Sweden, Iceland, and Finland to the Triad to plan their US market entry strategies. The program, called Nordic AMPlify, has selected 12 growth-phase companies from more than 100 companies who expressed interest. The program will run twice per year and the top 3 companies from each session will come to Winston-Salem for an intensive US emersion experience.
The multi-year program was organized by local venture fund, FCA Health Innovations. Nordic AMPlify is supported by Nordic Innovation and the official trade organizations of Finland (Business Finland), Sweden (Business Sweden), and Iceland (Promote Iceland) as a mechanism to accelerate Nordic healthcare companies’ US market entry.
The selected companies will take part in a three-day virtual immersion tour November 16-18 to learn about doing business in the US and attracting investors. A kick-off event on October 15 will introduce them to the Triad entrepreneurial ecosystem and regional health systems. All sessions will be virtual due to the limitations of international travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. On-site programming will begin once international travel resumes.
“It is difficult for any early stage company, especially foreign companies, to get noticed in large American markets like New York, Boston, and Silicon Valley. Winston-Salem offers access to world-class healthcare and innovation systems combined with a startup-friendly atmosphere that increases the odds of success,” says Laura Johnson Lee, Senior Vice President of Economic Development for Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.
According to Val Kratzman, Director of Healthcare Americas for Business Finland, “there is a bilateral lack of awareness by Nordic companies on how to enter the US healthcare market paralleled by a lack of US awareness as to the value, benefits, and solutions that Nordic healthcare companies can deliver. We have run a version of AMPlify in Finland since 2009. This is the only program we know of that effectively bridges those market gaps and brings solutions to market rapidly and with US clinical validation.”
Winston-Salem and the Greater Triad’s healthcare, bioscience, and research industries, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the ease of market entry compared to major metros, made it attractive to the Nordic countries.
“Part of our mission is to grow the healthcare ecosystem in the Triad and Western North Carolina,” said Tom Hearn, Partner with FCA Health Innovations, formerly Dióko Ventures. “We were extremely impressed with the quality of companies from the Nordics who want to explore Winston-Salem as their US base of operations. The opportunity to bring 25-30 high quality healthcare companies to the area every year is extremely exciting and can create significant, long term opportunities for the region.”
Jeff Lindsay, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Novant Health says “the ultimate goal is to improve patient care and experiences – and we have to innovate to do that. The best avenue to achieve innovation is through collaboration, and this program is an ideal way to bring together new ideas and partners that will represent the next breakthroughs in healthcare and tech-enabled care.”
An expert panel of venture funds and healthcare experts reviewed the companies’ readiness to enter the US market and those with the highest combined scores were invited to take part in the program. They will receive a customized curriculum with modules on US regulations, product-market fit, communications and pitching to investors, and more. The companies will then be paired with mentors from area health systems and other experts to continue to facilitate their progress.
One company that will be joining the 2020 cohort is Quinematic AB, a digital health startup that is bringing to market their cloud-based software, Moovement, which scans and tracks human movement and provides 3D digital recordings to assist healthcare practitioners in caring for patients. It can also be used in sports medicine, physical therapy, and more. The company’s CEO, Glenn Bilby says “healthcare is complex and requires local collaboration to succeed. We trust that Nordic AMPlify will fast track adoption of our award-winning innovation in the USA by providing experience, expertise, and connections to the American marketplace.”
In Winston-Salem, partners including Greater Winston-Salem, Inc., Winston Starts, the Innovation Quarter, Flywheel, and FCA Health Innovations are working with the Nordic team to plan and facilitate the Nordic AMPlify program.
2020 Nordic AMPlify Cohort
Aiforia Technologies Oy
Buddy Healthcare Ltd Oy
KAMU Health Ltd
Oy Raisoft LTD