Highlights from the Berlin Inaugural Event
Back in June, HTF held its inaugural event in Berlin — a panel on Berlin’s digital health scene, featuring speakers like Dr. Jan-Niklas Keltsch of XL Health, Bernhard Mikoleit of MassineBoecker, Anette Stroh of IXDS, Dr. Gerrit Brand of BionCR and Dr. Nana Bit-Avragim of the Charite Foundation. All experts in their respective fields, the panelists discussed how best to apply for grants and funding; market entry; new software hitting the global market.
“The event was put together to bring different people from the healthcare industry to discuss what kind of innovation is going on in Berlin,” Pronoy Saha, founder of HTF and moderator of the panel, said. “Panelists discussed what kind of barriers they’ve experienced to market entry, who’s funding what and technological trends. They came together with the attendees of the event to talk about the industry from different angles, tell each other about what they’re doing and ask about what others are doing.”
The event — just one of HTF’s latest meetups worldwide — was a success, according to Saha.
“We’ve been so proud to launch our Berlin chapter,” Saha said. “After just two and a half weeks of planning, our Berlin team was able to bring together more than 40 health and technology enthusiasts for the inauguration, despite a major soccer game that same evening.”
While not all of the attendees were based in Germany — the US Embassy sent a representative, as did Microsoft, Bayer and GSK — they all agreed on a few things: there’s not enough funding in the health technology industry, and it’s a very difficult market to enter, because the medical industry seems to fear change.
“So the community came together to discuss innovation, to start to move the needle,” Saha said. “We discussed mental health, which is a desperately underserved area. We talked about the need to make user experience more accommodating and friendly — a lot of technology needs to be tailored to certain countries, certain markets, and be more user-friendly.”
Dr. Bit-Avragim, MD/PhD and Program Director Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Charite Foundation, discussed the top-notch Charite research hospital community at the panel.
“The healthcare digitalization is not anymore a weird vision,” Dr. Bit-Avragim said, when asked about her experience at the conference. “It reflects the current needs and reality of the global health and life sciences industry. At the [HTF] meetup this June in Berlin, we tried to unveil some aspects influencing and challenging the German healthcare ecosystem, such as mental health and design thinking, healthy aging and technology, investment and funding opportunities for the startups. We had a great time to come together, exchange and share expertise.”
Dr. Brand, MD, Founder of BionCR and practicing physician, found the conference similarly engaging.
“[HTF] Berlin offers an outstanding opportunity to connect health entrepreneurs both locally and internationally,” Dr. Brand said. “Innovation thrives best in networked communities, around shared goals. HTF brings together innovators, technologists, business leaders and clinicians to build such communities in the leading global life science clusters.”
Anette Stroh, Design Lead Participatory Health of IXDS — a service design study that focuses on user experience and lowering technological costs — said the panel and discussion were a great way to meet interesting people.
“Keep on connecting people in this country where so many medical technologies and devices are actually developed and produced,” Stroh said, when asked to comment on the event. “[We must] make healthcare more accessible worldwide.”
Saha said he is excited to continue having events like this in Berlin.
“The digital health panel was a great introduction,” Saha said. “There are more to come.”