Support for start-ups in digital health care

Antwerp hosts Tech Tour on May 17 and 18. This network event unites innovative tech start-ups and investors around a spefic theme. That theme this year is ‘Data for Health’. One of the speakers is Katrin Geyskens, partner at Capricorn Venture Partners, where she looks at digital health care and big data on a daily base.

“Capricorn is an independent administrator of venture capital for more than twenty years. We focus on different themes. Since 2013 we also focus on digital health care and big data”, clarifies Katrin Geyskens. “We keep our eyes open for young, innovative enterprises that focus on big data and e-health applications. By investing in them and by providing the needed guidance, they can grow and hopefully generate a return on investment. I hope that I can find a new and promising initiative at Data for Health that we can support.”

How do you decide in which start-up to invest?
“That depends on a few parameters. We have a list with criteria off course. That’s how we approach a big market, or at least a market with potential. And we also focus on the strengths of the management team and if they allow coaching. None the less, this check list is not all-encompassing. It’s also about a certain connection. There will be a close cooperation: we will meet each other on a regular base to exchange ideas and to decide on strategic issues together. So it is important to be on the same page from the beginning.”

What investment makes you proud?
“All of them, really. A beautiful example with an Antverpian touch is Icometrix. This spin off from University of Antwerp and the University of Leuven aids doctors to get relevant information out of medical images. More precise than was possible until now. This is, for example, very useful for MS-patients who need a yearly brain scan. The precise brain volume will be much clearer on their images. What makes Icometrix such a good example is the added value of the project. Patients benefit from it, but also the pharmaceutical sector can rely on it for the development of new medication.”

What is the biggest challenge in the field of digital health care?
“Technologically everything is present to make digital health care a success. But the surrounding ecosystem is evolving to slow. New applications demand new methods. And financing. For exemple: who pays for a new tool in oncology? The oncologists, the hospital, the gouvernment or the patient? To clarify this takes a lot of time. And in the meanwhile the questions that rise around privacy and data security need to be answered as well. In time, even our legislation needs to be updated. So it is extremely important that all stakeholders on different levels look into this.”