Corporate Innovation

“Disease Sees No Borders” – Crossing The Atlantic To Become A Global Player In Medical With The Philips Innovation Challenge

Sophia Kirova
July 18, 2018

While “corporate launchpad” tops the list of clichés in startup parlance, it’s no secret that pioneering companies stay ahead of the game only because they remain true to their core: Innovation first. That’s why Philips Research, HighTechXL, and Get in the Ring joined forces to connect the most impactful innovators in medical technology with Philips. The result was a day-long battle where the selected startups got the opportunity to discuss their innovation and proposal in-depth with experts from Philips Research and other Philips Innovation Leaders. At the end of the day, the top 10 startup founders “got in the ring” to battle it out for a pilot contract with Philips. The undisputed champion of the Philips Innovation Challenge was CureMetrix.

While “corporate launchpad” tops the list of clichés in startup parlance, it’s no secret that pioneering companies stay ahead of the game only because they remain true to their core: Innovation first. That’s why Philips Research, HighTechXL, and Get in the Ring joined forces to connect the most impactful innovators in medical technology with Philips. The result was a day-long battle where the selected startups got the opportunity to discuss their innovation and proposal in-depth with experts from Philips Research and other Philips Innovation Leaders. At the end of the day, the top 10 startup founders “got in the ring” to battle it out for a pilot contract with Philips. The undisputed champion of the Philips Innovation Challenge was CureMetrix.

 

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Kevin Harris swore off all pitch competitions at the end of 2015. He took part in many and felt they were too much of an entertainment game that did little to nothing to support entrepreneurs like him.

In the midst of a business trip to Mexico, much to his surprise, Kevin received an invitation from Get in the Ring and HighTechXL to participate in the Philips Innovation Challenge. Something about that email made him think twice before purging it into the trash, and go back on his firm pledge to never pitch at a startup competition again.

 

 

“The reason why I said yes to this one was because we were going to come here, to the home of Philips, and were going to spend a day with the Philips executives. Had it not been for the day-long integration with the Philips executives, I would not have come.”

 

There was more to that, we’d like to believe. The winner of the Philips Innovation Challenge would take home a pilot contract with the medical giant. For the runner-up, there was a more-than-a-comforting award – a wild card admission ticket to HighTechXL’s next acceleration program, starting in the Spring of 2017.

 

The Many Oceans Between

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Kevin is the CEO of CureMetrix – a medical startup based in San Diego, California focused on the early and accurate detection of breast cancer in mammograms. For the three years that he has been running the company, he’s faced the many difficulties the medical industry poses to young companies. Attracting a strategic partner is one of them:

“Oftentimes I would get an introduction to a strategic partner, but that’s usually an email introduction. In fact I did get an email introduction to Philips about eight months ago, and I’ve been chasing back and forth via email this person. It’s not the lack of respect or the lack of trying, but it’s business and an ocean between.” Kevin admits.

Another challenge he faces is regulatory clearance. Kevin sadly recognizes that to become medically certified in the United States would take him much longer than in any other continent. Therefore, he has chosen Latin America as his beachhead market.

 

“In order to be wildly successful, we need to look at this as a global problem. I have to become global in my perspective when it comes to breast cancer. Interestingly enough, all diseases don’t see borders. We are crossing all the borders that we can to try to bring our products to market.”

 

And quite literally, Kevin did cross yet another border. He jumped onto the plane to Eindhoven to pitch at the Philips Innovation Challenge.

 

Battling in the Ring to Battle Cancer – One Against Many

Eventually, Kevin’s sober and well-balanced pitch earned him the unanimous support of the jury. Not without forgoing the “entertainment” element.

He had to put on the figurative boxing gloves and stand up against nine worthy opponents who were just as determined to win as he was. The finalists – 10 founders of medical companies selected from over 100 applications – battled in five rounds. Get in the Ring’s Master of Ceremonies asked each pair to answer questions about their team, customer traction, achievements, leadership, and most importantly – their bid to Philips.

 

Ultimately, the teams had to and convince the jury why their innovation would be of value to Philips. In the jury was Benno Tieke (Director New Business Creation at Philips Research), Lara Koole (Senior Manager Philips Ventures), Alberto Prado (Head of HealthTech Accelerator), Janke Dittmer (Partner at Gilde Healthcare) and Guus Frericks (HighTechXL’s founder and CEO).

 

CureMetrix’s technology focus on precise image analysis proved of undisputed value for Philips. The health giant is a market leader in ultrasound devices and imaging software. Of the five finalists who had remained in the ring, Kevin triumphed and was awarded the champion of the Philips Innovation Challenge.

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