Insights from the Bootcamp
Nicolas Vachicouras, Co-Founder at Neurosoft Bioelectronics, regularly reports on his key learnings and gives us valuable insights into the experiences he gains during the virtual bootcamp organized by our network partner swissnex San Francisco. Have a read!
At Neurosoft Bioelectronics, we were extremely excited about starting this 2-week bootcamp enabled by Swiss Healthcare Startups and organized by swissnex in San Francisco. As the USA offers a faster time to market for our first product it was critical for us to properly understand the US market and how to network and communicate there. We are also looking for US investors, and therefore learning how to reach out to them is critical. Here are a two remarkable and valuable lessons from the first week of the program:
1. « You are not a real founder until you get a “Cease and Desist”. »
While the US is known to be a litigious country, it is still surprising to see how openly CEOs share their numerous experiences with lawsuits. Apparently when you are in a successful startup the question is not if, but rather when will you first be sued. We were warned to lawyer up very quickly and to expect lawsuits, especially when developing medical devices.
2. The maturity of the VC ecosystem in USA vs.Europe/Switzerland
We already knew about major differences between the EU/Switzerland and the USA Venture Capital landscape, but were still surprised by some pieces of advice. We were told to be careful that getting European/Swiss VCs onboard could be a barrier to raising funds later in the USA. Apparently, the biggest turn-offs for American VCs are some unreasonable clauses in shareholder agreements, messy capitalization tables with dozens of small investors, and finally, and surprisingly, largely diluted co-founders. US investors apparently seem to understand the value of not diluting co-founders too much, to keep them incentivized. They are indeed afraid that largely diluted co-founders might lose their motivation on the long-term.
The second week of the Swissnex San Francisco virtual bootcamp was centered around the Demo Day held on October 22nd. It was an excellent opportunity for us to get exposure, pitching for 3 minutes in front of a wide audience which included VCs and investors.
We were given insightful feedback on our pitch both before and after the event and it also gave us the chance to learn more about existing digital tools, such as the platform Loom, which are needed to interact remotely with investors now more than ever.
The Reimbursement and Pricing session of the bootcamp also provided us with some valuable lessons, applicable not only in the US but in all markets. “Marketing and pricing activities should drive innovation”. It is important to conduct a proper market research early on, before developing the actual product. You need to find out what people want, how much they are willing to pay and then develop the features they actually need. We, especially engineers, tend to do the opposite.
Overall, while this year’s bootcamp unfortunately could not be held in person, the organizers Linda and Franziska did an incredible job to keep us engaged, and also made sure we experienced a little bit of California even here in Switzerland!
A big thank you to them, to Swissnex San Francisco and Swiss Healthcare Startups for this great opportunity!
Thank you Nicolas, for sharing your impressions. Cheers!
SHS Booster Program 2020
So far 2020 has been a challenging and special year for all of us. A time to be creative, agile and train new skills. At the beginning of this year and as part of Smarter Healthcare – a project with the support of Engagement Migros, the development fund of the Migros Group – we were looking for Switzerland's most exciting Healthcare Startups to send to Silicon Valley in 2020 for the SHS Smarter Healthcare Booster Program. Due to the coronavirus we had to adapt our original plans for the program: Instead of two dedicated events this spring we took the public voting for the final winners to our engaged online community and pivoted the immersion program for the winners into an impactful virtual program.
Our network partner swissnex San Francisco has developed an excellent virtual program that allows the startups to derive maximum benefit in the current context. The program offers the desired networking effect, access to the ecosystem and even more reach and visibility to the startups. The digitization of this program will improve the digital skills of all participants which are crucial in this time. On top of this, we offer our winning startups to use their stipend either for travel at a later point in time or to use it for attendance of a relevant industry event.
This year's virtual bootcamp program includes exciting topics such as US style business development, fireside chats, peer learning, pitch training, expert sessions on law and pricing, fundraising strategies, office hours and many more. The bootcamp will take place from October 12 - October 23, 2020. This year’s winners of the SHS Smarter Healthcare Booster Program will also provide us with some impressions – you will find some of their key learnings on our social media channels from October 12 - 23. Unfortunately, one of our two winners Altoida Inc. had to resign from the SHS Booster Program at short-notice due to unforeseen events. Therefore we will choose 3 winners in next year's edition of the SHS Booster Program. We are happy to present our winner from the SHS Booster Program 2020 once again in detail:
Neural implants are medical devices made of electrodes that can record or stimulate the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves to monitor or treat patients suffering from neurological disorders. However, current clinical devices are too stiff compared to the soft tissues of the body, which limits benefits for patients. At Neurosoft Bioelectronics, they have developed a new generation of soft and conformable implantable electrodes that seamlessly interface with the nervous tissues and can improve clinical outcomes for patients.
We wish Neurosoft Bioelectronics lots of success in the virtual bootcamp and are looking forward to read more about their key learnings.
More about the Swiss Healthcare Startups Booster Program 2021 will be announced soon on our website. Stay tuned!
And the winners were...
We are excited to announce the two winners of the SHS Smarter Healthcare Booster Program 2020:
The two final winners made it through a rigorous application process that started October 2019 and included: a jury selection for the top 10, a public voting for the top 6 and a final SHS Board selection of the two winners. Neurosoft Bioelectronics and Altoida, Inc. will join an exceptional Booster program organized by our network partner swissnex San Francisco, which we’ll accompany and share stories und impressions of. The program is anticipated to take place in San Francisco in October 2020. We’re closely monitoring the current situation and will provide updates on potential adjustments in place or time.
Details about the Booster Program can be found at the bottom of this page.
Thank you to all participating startups, to all the 900+ voters, to all jury members and all supporters during this first iteration of the SHS Smarter Healthcare Booster Program. And a big round of applaus for all our finalists who didn’t make it to the top 2:
We thank you for your valuable contribution and are happy to see such exciting ideas vitalizing the Swiss healthcare ecosystem.
Applications for the 2021 SHS Smarter Healthcare Booster Program will open in October 2020.
The startups we have been looking for have a bold and compelling vision for the future of healthcare and they are providing a basis to turn todays ‘sickcare’ into actual healthcare – connected and smart. The applying startups had to be based in Switzerland, had at least an MVP and were post seed stage.
Applications were open until 31 December 2019. A handpicked jury of industry experts has then selected a first round of eleven finalists in February 2020.
The selected panel of experts:
- Antoine Hubert, Swiss Medical Network
- Adrian Auderset, Switzerland Innovation Park Biel
- Philipp Stauffer, FYRFLY Venture Partners
- Josephine Ritzel, Kickstart Innovation
- Lukas Weder, Wingman
- Lukas Zimmerli & Matthias Herrmann, USZ
- Michael Sidler, Redalpine Venture Partners AG
- Michael Willer & Rolf Epp, Sympany
- Philipp Ege, Sanitas
- Sascha Horrig, EquityPitcher
- Thomas Zaugg, Roche Diagnostics
- Urs Stender, Bluelion
These finalists were be invited to a pitch event. One pitch event was scheduled to take place March 10, 2020 at Biopole in Epalinges, one pitch event was scheduled to take place March 30, 2020 at Technopark Winterthur. BOTH EVENTS HAVE GONE DIGITAL DUE TO COVID-19. The audience has then selected the top 3 finalists from each group by a public voting. The SHS Board has then selected one winner from each group that will get to go to Silicon Valley in October 2020.
We received more than 900 votes by the public voting and we were overwhelmed! You can watch all final pitch videos at the bottom of this page.