Startups selected for UK’s first preventative digital healthcare accelerator programme – Velocity Health

By , 2 December 2015 at 11:56
Startups selected for UK’s first preventative digital healthcare accelerator programme – Velocity Health

Startups selected for UK’s first preventative digital healthcare accelerator programme – Velocity Health

By , 2 December 2015 at 11:56

An inflatable incubator that can save the lives of thousands of premature babies worldwide; a cloud based application which empowers health professionals to provide personalised lifestyle interventions for each patient; a wearable device that generates real-time passive monitoring and the world’s simplest remote care service. These are the innovative ideas that have been selected to join Velocity Health – the first preventative healthcare accelerator programme in the United Kingdom.

Bios of start-up winners:

Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd (MSD), a global healthcare company, and Wayra UK, part of Telefonica OpenFuture_, a global innovation network, announced the first start-up cohort to join Velocity Health at Wayra UK’s Demo Day, an annual event welcoming new digital ventures into the Wayra Academy based at its headquarters.

In September 2015, Velocity Health challenged the digital start-up community to create solutions that reimagined how healthcare could be delivered and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

Up to a total of £68K in investment will now be given to each startup as well as dedicated acceleration services and office space within Wayra UK’s academy in Central London. If applicable, start-up businesses will also be given an opportunity of communicating with Telefonica’s customer base (more than 300 million) as well as leveraging MSD’s presence in over 140 countries.

The winning submissions were announced during Wayra UK’s Demo Day – an annual event featuring influencers from the start-up ecosystem which welcomes the newest start-ups to the Wayra cohort.

Mike Nally, Managing Director of MSD UK, congratulated the winners saying: “What we’re seeing is the future of healthcare delivery in the UK – innovative products and services that will not only test the capabilities of what’s possible and put the patient at the heart of everything we do, but hopefully help society to become as good at ‘recognising and preventing’ disease as we are at ‘diagnosing and treating’. As a healthcare company with a proud legacy of investing in innovation and R&D, we are delighted to be able to help harness and nurture this amazing talent.”

From February 2016, the startup cohort will begin a 10-month accelerator programme where a network of mentors, coaches and investors will nurture the entrepreneurial talent and technological expertise of each business to enable them to scale.

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK, believes this to be a defining moment in the impact accelerators can have on the healthcare industry:

“Wayra UK has been investing in social ventures since its inauguration three years ago. But Velocity Health represents a major step up in the disruptive influence accelerators are having in providing solutions to some of the country’s biggest issues.”

The preventable health sector has been selected as the initial focus for the programme. At present, only 4 percent1 of the NHS budget is spent on prevention programmes. With the NHS facing a funding gap estimated at £30bn2 by 2020/21, both MSD and Wayra Open Future believe that by taking full ownership of managing our health and engaging in prevention activities, not only can we expect better patient outcomes but a healthcare system that is future-proof, cost-effective and better fit for the future.

The startups selected for Velocity Health are as follows:

Mom incubator 1 in 10 Babies are born premature worldwide according to the World Health Organisation. 75% of those that die could be saved with inexpensive treatment like MOM. MOM is an inexpensive, electronically controlled, inflatable incubator constructed to decrease the number of premature child deaths within refugee camps. MOM was awarded the 2014 International James Dyson Award.

Aparito Aparito combines disease specific mobile apps and wearable technology to empower patients and make sure their doctors get the information they need when they need it. The app and ”wearable” generates real-time and real-world passive monitoring, reducing the need for repetitive tests and ensures more meaningful routine clinic visits.

Speakset SpeakSet is the world’s simplest remote care service. They provide a video connection from a health professional to a patient’s TV in their own home. SpeakSet saves at least £2500 per patient per year

Long term conditions, which Speakset can help to monitor, put huge strains on our healthcare systems. An estimated 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and as many as 90% of the deaths from asthma are preventable (ref:

Tickerfit TickerFit is a unique cloud based application which empowers health professionals, enabling them to provide personalised lifestyle interventions for each patient based on their current health status. Tickerfit recently won the ‘Innovation Award’ at the 2015 National Healthcare Conference as well as the ‘Best Abstract for Oral Presentation’ at the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation (BACPR).




Bios of start-up winners:


At MSD we believe the most important thing we make is a difference. We operate in more than 140 countries and through our prescription medicines, including biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers to bring innovative healthcare solutions to those who need them the most. Through a joint venture, we are also collaborating to develop future vaccines. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programmes and partnerships. For more information visit MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, NJ, USA.

Wayra UK

WAYRA gives direct funding to the selected start-ups and acceleration services (such as co-working space for the start-up team, connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra’s network and knowhow, training in entrepreneurship and business skills, etc). We give about US$50.000 as financial investment and another US$50.000 in acceleration services, or an equivalent amount in local currency determined by Wayra, in exchange for a small equity stake in the companies.

At about four years from its launch, Wayra already owns a portfolio comprised of over 400 operating companies, grouped in more than 20 digital industries. The funds compromised by Telefonica in the accelerated start-ups by Wayra surpass €18M, while third parties (public and private funds and angel investors) have granted additional funding to the companies of over $60M. The estimated valuation of all the companies in the portfolio is already over €500M. Wayra is part of Telefonica Open Future, the open programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefonica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation. It includes , alliances with external partners to enhance the impact and scope of these initiatives at a global scale. |

Telefonica OpenFuture_

Telefónica OpenFuture is Telefónica’s global commitment to develop talent and entrepreneurship, and since 2014 it has coordinated all the groups of Telefónica’s open innovation initiatives, projects and activities (Think Big, Talentum, crowdworking spaces, Wayra, Telefónica Ventures, Amerigo and CIP´s open innovation factory fund).

Telefónica OpenFuture empowers, and invests in, technology-based people, projects and companies, in any stage of the lifecycle, in an open fashion and in connection with private and public organizations. With an investment portfolio of more than 600 startups and offices in 17 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia, Telefónica OpenFuture helps turn innovative ideas into successful businesses. @OpenFuture

Sources Monitor: A call to action: Commission for Prevention (October, 2013) NHS: Closing the NHS fundings gap: how to get better value health care for patients (November, 2013)

To contact the press team or to arrange interviews with either Mike Nally, MD at MSD, Gary Stewart, MD at Wayra or selected candidates, please contact:

Danny Bartlett, Head of Communications and Marketing, Wayra Open Future, UK e: m: +44 (0) 7860 760 841

Meral Nugent, Associate Director, MSD, UK e: t: +44 (0) 1992 452358; m: +44 (0) 7884 232042

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19 new digital start-ups selected for Wayra UK & Velocity Health, UK’s first preventative healthcare accelerator

19 new digital start-ups selected for Wayra UK & Velocity Health, UK’s first preventative healthcare accelerator
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