HeadCheck Health, Navigate Surgical Technologies (NST), and ViewsIQ have been selected by Genome British Columbia and the BC Tech Association to take part in the first-ever HyperGrowth: Life accelerator program cohort. “The selection process was not easy, but the quality of the applications and the strength of the cohort exemplify the future of B.C.’s bioeconomy,” said Dr. Pascal Spothelfer, president and CEO of Genome BC.
“The situation is changing because health organizations here are becoming more proactive in using these early-stage companies’ technologies in pilot programs, which can lead to bigger things.”
The healthtech finalists were chosen at a live pitch event at the BC Tech Innovation Hub. Going forward, these startups will be part of a 12-month program including workshops, mentorship, and support from organizations like Accel-Rx, the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), entrepreneurship@UBC, InterfaceHealth, SFU Innovates, TELUS Health, and Wavefront. Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, suggested that the extra support could help the selected tech companies grow four times faster than they could outside the Hypergrowth program.
The finalists represented a cross-section of the life sciences tech field. HeadCheck Health has a mobile concussion assessment tool; NST has developed a software driven image guided surgical navigation system for dental implant surgery; and ViewsIQ has developed a personalized imaging solution; Panoptiq, that digitizes pathology samples to help medical experts offer diagnostic care to patients from anywhere.
“HyperGrowth: Life couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Kerry Costello, co-founder and COO of HeadCheck Health. “We have a product that our customers tell us they love and we are now setting the company up for growth.”
The healthtech sector is getting new traction thanks to increased willingness from large health institutions to try to innovate in how they deliver services, said Dylan Freeze, a program manager with the BC Tech Association. Historically, when it comes to medtech, healthtech, and life sciences, it can require more of an upfront investment and a much longer time frame to get to commercialization. That’s why people have been less inclined to invest in that sector than in a simple SaaS-based application, for instance. That said, some local companies in the healthtech sector have been very successful in raising capital. It flies under the radar quite a bit because software companies get more profile.
“The situation is changing because health organizations here are becoming more proactive in using these early-stage companies’ technologies in pilot programs, which can lead to bigger things,” Freeze explained.
Genome BC provides funding for the program: they invest in research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in life sciences to address challenges in a wide range of market sectors, while the BC Tech Association is providing the mentorship and contacts for finalists. They represent the provincial tech sector, which includes more than 9,700 companies.