Paul Grand, CEO of MedTech Innovator, tells SiliconRepublic.com why he is a “huge fan” of Ireland’s medical technology space.
Last week, 27 medtech startups from across Europe competed in a room full of investors and industry leaders at the MedTech Innovator international pitching event in Dublin. Of these start-ups, six came from Ireland, the highest representation of any country.
It might make sense that Irish companies were well represented at an event in Ireland’s capital, but the CEO of MedTech Innovator, one of the world’s leading accelerators for medtech companies, thinks it has to do with its undeniable strength. of the country in the sector. Then something else.
A venture capitalist by trade, Paul Grand founded MedTech Innovator in 2013 to close the growing gap between medical device companies and funding sources in the immediate aftermath of the financial crash.
Over the years, the nonprofit, headquartered in California, has funded and mentored hundreds of start-ups in the medtech and health technology sectors, with programs available to companies in the US, Europe and Asia.
Each year, more than 1,000 companies sign up to participate in their accelerator programs, of which only 50 are selected for the opportunity to grow and scale their business ideas.
“Right now, MedTech Innovator is the world’s largest accelerator for medical technology, even including pharmaceuticals, which we don’t include in our program,” Grand told SiliconRepublic.com.
“Last year, 20 percent of all financing that took place in this sector worldwide went to our portfolio. That’s one in five companies, which shows that we have tremendous scale in this area.”
The accelerator has 420 companies in its portfolio, including big names in the global medtech space such as Medable, the decentralized medical research company with its EMEA headquarters in Dublin, and Osso VR, a virtual reality medical training company.
Ireland’s exceptional achievement
Grand is a “huge fan” of the Irish startup ecosystem and sees Ireland as one of the top performers in MedTech Innovator every year.
“The Irish medtech ecosystem, particularly in Galway and Dublin, is amazing. Many MedTech Innovator companies that have made it to the finals over the years are from Ireland,” he said. “Almost every time we have someone from Ireland in the final stage.”
Last year, four companies from Galway – Atrian Medical, Lifelet Medical, Neurent Medical and Tympany Medical – were selected for the international MedTech Innovator 2021 program to showcase their innovations to global investors.
And at last week’s pitching event in Dublin, six of the 27 participating companies were from Ireland: Vertigenius, SymPhysis Medical, InjurySense, Phyxiom, Pumpinheart and Head Diagnostics. Israel followed in second place with five start-ups and France with three.
SymPhysis Medical, which raised €1.9 million in funding for its palliative care device last month, won the event, while Vertigenius and Head Diagnostics were among the top five finalists.
— MedTech innovator (@MedTechAwards) May 4, 2022
Grand said Ireland’s unusually high performance relative to its size could be related to government initiatives through agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and third-level institutions that provide the necessary support for start-ups to thrive.
Alan Hobbs of Enterprise Ireland told SiliconRepublic.com last year that an estimated 180 domestic life sciences companies in Ireland employ more than 25,000 people and generate sales of more than $6 billion a year. These indigenous life sciences companies include pharma, biotech, diagnostics and therapy, but the lion’s share are medical device companies.
“This ecosystem is incredibly purpose-driven, just as it was built by the government that put infrastructure in place so that businesses get all the support they need,” Grand said. “And then we bring expertise outside of the island to the US market to help Irish companies succeed abroad.”
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