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Roche and EIT Health team up to fast-track the growth of digital health startups in CEE and Southern Europe

HealthCareLab is looking for the next emerging digital health startups
Image credit: metamorworks

The global pharmaceutical and biotechnology leader Roche teams up with EIT Health, Europe’s largest network of health innovators to power the second edition of its HealthCareLab

The startup acceleration program, aimed at early-stage digital companies in CEE and Southern Europe, is widening its geographical scope to expand the international community of creators, researchers, and healthcare providers, and help bring ground-breaking innovations to the market faster. 

As the digital health market is fastly growing in Europe in the last couple of years, partially driven by the pandemic, the CEE region has big potential that is yet to be discovered. 

Launched first in Slovakia in 2020, the 3-month acceleration program covers 16 countries in its second edition – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Slovakia. 

Startups can apply for the HealthCareLab via the registration form on The registration is open until the 30th of November. 

Tech-driven startups from the region who want to address some of the biggest challenges in the healthcare system can use this unique opportunity to gain access to international mentors and business coaches, but also to connect with potential customers and investors. They will be supported to develop their ideas, and the best ventures will be invited to co-develop their business with industry leaders after the program. 

As a global, innovative healthcare company, we at Roche recognize our responsibility to contribute towards bettering healthcare systems and improving patient outcomes. Together with our network of partners and experts, we invite all participants who are eager to co-create solutions putting patients at the center of healthcare”, Hesham Sabry, General Manager of Roche Bulgaria said. 

The international acceleration program, powered by Roche and EIT Health, is run by an Estonian-based top advisory company focused on innovations and startup support – CIVITTA.

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How will the HealthCare Lab accelerator work?

Digital health founders can apply for one of the three categories of challenges in the healthcare industry, identified by the program founding partners: 

  • Healthcare data management. This category is open for startups that want to tackle the issue of fragmented healthcare data and develop digital solutions to collect data from multiple sources and derive valuable insights for evidence-based healthcare decision-making. 
  • Digital solutions for screening and early diagnostics. The challenge here is for solutions that can ensure a common, more precise, and timely diagnosis of chronic diseases to deliver better health outcomes.
  • Digital therapeutics and disease management. The HealthCare Lab aims to find solutions for patients and healthcare providers to better manage chronic diseases and conditions in a transparent and personalized way.

The startup teams that apply for the accelerator program should consist of at least two people, have a functional prototype, and have funding of up to 5M EUR. They will first go through a virtual boot camp at the beginning of December. The HealthCareLab experts will select 9 startups that will participate in the acceleration program, starting in January 2022

The teams will be evaluated based on how innovative their product is, the quality of their team, and existing traction that proves potential for scalability.

The selected early-stage ventures will be able to develop their projects with the support of more than 30 experts and mentors from the international network of Roche and EIT Health. The program will combine workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and dedicated coaching sessions, along with networking and matchmaking events. 

This is a great opportunity to validate ideas and get invaluable feedback from industry experts,” says Tamas Bekasi, EIT Health InnoStars RIS Business Creation Manager.

The program will run on several 3-5 days sprints that focus on the different aspects of running a successful healthcare business. 

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The onboarding process will include defining the program roadmap and strategy and matching with mentors. While later in the program startups will go deeper into the regulatory landscape, approvals, and clinical trials, and the process of customer validation. The final sprint will focus on sales strategy and marketing in healthcare, as the startups will be able to craft their presentation skills and storytelling. 

The HealthCareLab accelerator will conclude with a final Demo Day in April 2022. Winners in each category will be selected and will receive a cash prize.

HealthCareLab Success Stories of digital health startups

The first edition of the HealthCareLab has supported 6 promising digital healthcare startups – Healthclip, Scienticore, S-case, Interestingsamples, Аibrace, and CF Hero. 

The winner of the first wave of the acceleration program was CF Hero, a mobile app that helps young people with the genetic disease of cystic fibrosis to better manage their health. Marek Vosecký, the founder of the CF Hero shared that the HealthCareLab accelerator helped them navigate the e-health environment and regulatory frameworks that fundamentally affect their field. He added that he most appreciated the international network of mentors that provided them with both theoretical and practical knowledge. The startup was also supported with a grant by The Vodafone Foundation in the Czech Republic.

The special “audience favorite” award went to S-case, a Bratislava-based startup, developing a portable medical device for primary care and remote monitoring of patients. Their device connects to a digital platform, which enables two-way communication and visualization of patients’ vital data, that is accessible by doctors, patients, and relatives. In September 2021 the startup received a grant from EIT Health to improve the access to telehealth for patients with cardiovascular diseases and COVID-19. Another key investor in S-case is the supplier of IoT solutions Goldmann Systems. 

More information about HealthCare Lab as well as the registration form are available at

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