Berlin — from the startup perspective

In the last blog post Ute Mercker, Investment Director and Head of Life Science at IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, presented the various initiatives of the stakeholders in Berlin´s Digital Health ecosystem. Many of these initiatives focus on offers for start-ups in order to lower the entry barriers into the healthcare market, in part through cooperation. How these offers are accepted by the start-ups is the topic of Ute’s latest blog post.

Kai Bindseil, Cluster Manager HealthCapital at Berlin Partner a unique public-private partnership collaborating with the Berlin State Senate and over 280 companies, states: “To gain direct access to the most important stakeholders in the healthcare market is of particular importance for start-ups in order to successfully place their new products on the market. Our team is in close contact with start-ups and investors and supports them with a wide range of services and helps them to make best use of the ecosystem itself as well as the Berlin lifestyle and the talent pool — key factors for the attractiveness of Berlin for start-ups.”

For instance Innosphere, an Israeli start-up developing a new digital therapy for ADHS has set up their European headquarters in Berlin using the EXIST programme. The programme is directed to young entrepreneurs from universities and research institutes in Israel who are starting up their own business. Both individual entrepreneurs and groups are able to join the existing start-up networks in science that are located in and around Berlin, and will receive the best possible support as they look for suitable German partners and complete their application for the programme.

Ehab Shakour, Founder and CTO of the company has his own view on the Berlin ecosystem and their stakeholders: “ As Europe is our go to market, Germany was a natural place to relocate to. From there, the decision to choose Berlin was a no-brainer. Berlin is uniquely positioned as a multi-cultural city that is attracting top notch global talent, especially in life sciences and neuroscience. When you add to that the multitude of leading universities and the Charité, the decision was clear. Coming to Berlin proved to be the right thing to do. We managed to recruit top-notch talents that perfectly fit our challenging needs, and expect to grow our activity further. As for partnerships, we are now planning our clinical trials with the Charité, and discussing interesting collaborations with Siemens. On the personal level, we felt at home in Berlin from day one. It’s a place that we and our families truly enjoy, and look forward to all the things the city has to offer culturally and otherwise.”

copyright by Selfapy

The company Selfapy, the leading company for online psychotherapy in Germany, has been part of the pilot phase of the Healthy Hub, where, together with the insurance companies, they could sell their digital products under market conditions in the heterogeneous world of the statutory health insurance funds. Selfapy cooperated with SBK, the Siemens health insurance fund, with whom it jointly developed a contract model for the insurance company and tested it on the market. According to Nora Blum, CEO and founder of the company, the project was a great success for both partners: “It was very helpful to work so closely with the SBK, to understand each other’s needs. Already within the first months, hundreds of patients from the SBK used our service with great feedback. As we helped patients get better fast, it was a win-win solution for both.” In the meantime the team was able to close contracts with 16 health insurance companies, offering their psychologically accompanied online programme for mental problems, to more than 15 million insured persons.”

Another digital therapeutic company is Newsenselab, which has been supported by the EXIST programme as well as by the Flying Health Incubator during the establishment of their company. Newsenselab has developed M-sense, the certified medical app against headaches and migraines. Patients can use the app to discover personal trigger factors and learn how to avoid attacks. More than 20.000 people are using the app per month in order to better understand and handle this painful condition. For Markus Dahlem, CSO and founder of the company, joining Flying Health in the early days of the company provided guidance for developing the next generation healthcare. “The first time I heard the term “digital drug” was from Markus Müschenich (Founder of Flying Health). He was clearly excited about a purely software-generated medical stimulus that triggers a direct physiological response — and so was I.”

copyright by Newsenselab

Flying Health´ Managing Partner Markus Müschenich, a board-certified paediatrician, started the incubator in order to foster next generation healthcare. For the start-ups they support, market entry is the main goal. With their network of corporate partners and experts from various backgrounds this works in both ways. The corporate partners are able to leverage the expertise and the network of the Flying Health team to develop and execute new business strategies.

And the next phase on the way to next generation healthcare has already begun for Flying Health and its partner Heartbeat Labs: Heal Capital . How this new digital health fund was launched and how the Berlin VC investors assess the topic of digital health will be the subject of the next blog post.

Originally published at on October 22, 2019.