Thinking about the current state of the British healthcare sector brings some issues to mind; overworked staff, budget cuts, obsolete treatment and severe waiting times. These issues have caused the NHS to become deeply accustomed to being scorned by the media and exploited as a scapegoat or bargaining chip in political clashes. It has been at crisis point for the last year but as any entrepreneur would tell you; behind any problem is an opportunity for innovation.
Once again startups are turning to digitisation to help solve our shortcomings. Digitisation has been the key driver in accelerating the transformation of almost all industries into areas once deemed unattainable. What this means to the industrial players is automation and subsequently dramatically reducing diminishing returns to scale (to almost zero).
One entrepreneur is convinced digitisation is also a judicious answer to our healthcare woes, in the same way it has been for so many other sectors.
Luke Heron, an entrepreneur and member of Launch22, has spotted opportunities in many different themes, from children’s book illustrations, rare wines and whisky to South African mineral exploration. He believes his experience in the digital landscape and direct to consumer supply provide him with the connections and skills required to drive healthcare into our homes with TestCard Diagnostics.
TestCard is a seriously smart UK based medical technology company that has been set up to relieve some of the pressure on the NHS by providing medical grade testing in the privacy of your own home. They have embedded a urine test kit into a postcard which is designed to be used alongside their mobile application which turns the phone’s camera into a clinical grade scanner. This enables users to read the UTI and pregnancy results instantly, and thus dramatically reducing the need to send off samples, consult doctors and fill up waiting rooms.
The startup has just formed a partnership agreement with the NHS that will see their mobile app technology trialled in hospitals. Having recently opened an EIS-qualifying £1.5m funding round at a pre-money valuation of £3.5m, TestCard is expecting to expand this partnership in scope and geography with prostate health, STI and ovulation optimisation test cards in the pipeline.
This growing battle with the NHS has started to create a trend in industry behaviour and government policy to shift the responsibility of healthcare back onto the individual. Testcard is a startup that epitomises this trend, and champions it.
However, the revolution in healthcare is still not complete, far from it in fact. Over the next few years it is clear that we will begin to see a complete overhaul of the way that we approach the healthcare system, with startups like TestCard seizing the opportunities in areas of insufficiency and strain.
So if you have a pioneering technology or approach in line with the changing trend of healthcare responsibility, right now might be your time to get in touch with Launch22 to see how we can help you follow in Luke’s footsteps and develop an inspiring startup.
During the summer after university I decided to focus my applications within the startup ecosystem, incubators in particular. Intuiting that the upsides of a networking-friendly environment would outweigh the downsides of living in London income free. I wasn’t wrong. However, I didn’t foresee just how well I would settle into an environment like the one at Launch22 (Launch).
Before Launch I didn’t think I had ‘a thing’ which I was deeply interested in. Convention says being interested is the feeling of wanting to know or learn about something or someone. Whether it be music, sport or a social cause, people always have ‘their thing’. Yet, for a while anyway, I didn’t think I did.
Well that’s not entirely true. I’ve always had, as I see it, an almost compulsive disorder to identify with everything from the perceptive of the entrepreneur, at awe with how the laws of economics and business define the way we live. I get carried away with sharing business ideas, concepts and case studies and the only books I’ve ever been able to finish were business related. Its clear as day now that this is ‘my thing’ but until Launch it never struck me.
Launch22 was a place where I could nerd out with like-minded people. Which helped me appreciate that entrepreneurship really was ‘my thing’.
So this is a brief story of my internship at launch22.
Day one. After the notorious grand tour of the new space, I got the impression the team was immensely proud of their architectural and handyman achievements, and rightly so I might add. Yet inopportunely I missed the move and renovations, and thus it was my turn to be the Mr Fix-it and it would be for the remainder of my time at launch22 as the team were a bit fed up of playing builders.
Hey, at least I can say I have left my mark at Launch22, even if that is just a mounted bicycle, a kitchenette counter, the pin board, a coffee table, a foosball table and the projector, I could go on… but we’re on a word limit here.
After the grand tour, I was ushered to have a look at what would be my core responsibility over the three months, marketing communications. Championing the use of Mailchimp, Buffer, Google Analytics, Adwords and Linkedin (the list could go on) occupied most of my first month. It was a case of learning what worked best for Launch22 in their new location and new direction. Sounds a little tedious right? Yet, it was the community of businesses around me and the nature of working in a startup which kept no two days the same. The shared learning via the projects the team, members and myself were working on really opened my eyes to the real sense of the word ‘incubation’ and its effect on innovation.
One project which felt like the whole of Launch was working on was the design sprint. Having never had the chance of completing a design sprint I was a little sceptical of its effectiveness in solving a problem within a company. I like to think I was proven wrong by this as it created a bunch of really creative improvements to increase the conversion rate of pre-sales signups. Although, some admittedly were a little too creative — cardboard cut-outs of our coolest mentor, Tim.
I mean come to think of it, WE NEED THIS.
Coming back from Christmas there was a different ambience in the building. The team had a fresh energy to help make the space come alive again, just like the good old [street] days. Taking full advantage of the startup culture I expanded my role, taking on business development, cash flow and helping with the incubation program. Subsequently, I lost focus on my core responsibilities and I was to blame for the diminishing ad analytics.
With no time to waste I renewed my love for Buffer as Fede, our community manager, and I scheduled a rehabilitated digital marketing scope. The analytics were back up, there were heaps of new faces in the office and we were back to hitting out targets and more. Striding into a revitalised Launch filled the team with a combined sense of triumph.
Over this process I had learnt what made working in a startup so great. Not only during my role was Launch growing through a transition period, gearing up to gain a wider impact within the startup ecosystem, I was too. Being able to talk to the mentors, the members and Launch22’s wider network I was able to gain a tonne of insight, motivation and a solid foundation for the next step in my professional development. So, despite not being remunerated I have come away richer than I was when I started and in a position to be excited about the future.
Thank you Launch!
Apply now for a role at Launch22 here: http://workinstartups.com/companyjobs/view/id/47610
Struck by a comment in a conversation sparked whilst in Metro Bank’s waiting area, “the estate agents don’t know what’s about to hit them”, led me to explore the industry a little deeper by talking with the cluster of ‘PropTech’ startups which seems to be forming here at Launch22.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term PropTech, in its most fundamental form it is the utilisation of technology in the property industry. A new wave of companies are harnessing advances in technology to reinvent and refine the current practices, and they are building momentum.
Here is one of the most exciting players disrupting the long-standing propriety of high fees, low tech and face-to-face communication. Not too unlike the rest of the digital world.
Viewing unembellished properties and 2D images are dinosaur-like-traits to the innovative Matterport. Through the use of virtual and augmented reality, they are building a copy of the inside world (the places you always wished you could peek inside with Google Earth). This enables consumers to view prospect homes and investments with their own furniture projected inside — exactly how the human eye would see it.
Since founding, the company has scanned more than 550,000 properties, increasing the amount of time spent on viewing properties by three to six times. That’s Graff Pink grade value for the property market and is the reason why big hitters such as Rothenberg Ventures and Ericsson Ventures are betting this innovation won’t just be a fad.
Metterport is proof that the property industry is ready to go digital. Yet, where does that leave the rest of the industry giants?
Drop by to have a chat with our PropTech members; Hyre — the UK’s only PropTech recruiter and UK PropTech Association (UKPA), to gain the insiders perspective of where this industry is heading and what is in store for our estate agents.
Market drivers like our newly-found busy 21st-century lifestyles, more women in the workforce, greater innovation in travel and communication and more awareness of healthy eating habits are well understood by the entrepreneurs and marketers. The average person’s time allocated to preparing and sourcing food has reduced dramatically and the market has responded with an upsurge in using digital platforms to improve the ease and availability of food - Foodtech.
One of Launch22’s members finds himself riding this foodtech trend;
Founder - Vikesh Kotecha, believes a healthy and world-friendly diet can be accessible in our busy new lifestyles. Vikesh and his award-winning nutritionist have built a smoothie delivery service which does all the thinking for you, so you can keep a healthy and active regime without having to spend time sourcing and testing the plentifully trendy new ingredients.
Their philosophy; What you put in, is what you get out, goes beyond a healthy lifestyle.
"We source 100% organic produce, our packaging is 100% recyclable and reusable and we donate 2 meals to those in need for every box sent out."
Honestly, how good can this company get?
Food-on-demand startups don’t just stop here, we now have access to startups who delivery Michelin-star restaurant food, weekly meal kits, groceries and even a smart-oven which cooks for you, June. (I mean what do you expect when you ask Google, GoPro and Apple employees to design an oven).
Another startup which has hit the scene at Launch22 is Mealpal. The city-worker-friendly subscription service for restaurant take-out lunches near the office. Forget the £3.50 meal deal, the workforce can now get a wide selection of affordable lunches every day.
Recently they secured £14 million series B funding to expand their domain beyond their UK, US, Canadian and Australian branches.
With so many foodtech companies starting up it’s natural to wonder how much more room there is for the industry to innovate. Comment, share, post - to give your feedback on where you think this industry is heading or do you think this is a foodtech-mania that is ready to burst?
(Thinking of building a foodtech business, arrange a visit here and swing by for a chat)