Now in its 7th year, the launchpad for high-performance European biotech, medtech, and digital health start-ups promises to nurture applicants from business plan to investor-ready, and of course, provide them with the opportunity to win sponsors' prizes.
With a pot of €1 million and the chance to collaborate with some of Europe’s leading healthcare companies up for grabs, it’s well worth entering this competition, if only for the networking opportunities. The latest edition of Catapult saw sponsor prizes from leading healthcare innovators including AstraZeneca, Lusíadas Saúde, and Merck and business services via Amazon Web Services, eg technology, McDermott Will & Emery, and Nasdaq.
Candidates are invited to apply for the EIT Health Catapult Competition where two winners per category (biotech, medtech, and digital health) will be selected from each of the seven EIT Health regions.
The 42 selected start-ups will be provided with training from leaders in their industry and will prepare to pitch at the semi-final events to a jury of healthcare experts who will select the best 21 start-ups to go through to the final.
The final pitch event will be hosted by one of the 2023 major healthtech events in Europe, where the finalists will get the opportunity to pitch their projects in front of industry leaders and investors and the final winners will be selected.
EIT Health Catapult has a history of launching start-ups into the arms of investors, and recently, also of pharmaceutical companies. In 2020, anti-bacterials developer PhagoMed finished 2nd place and was acquired by BioNTech just 11 months after the final pitch session.
Having the opportunity to receive mentorship and learn from his peers was one of the advantages of the programme according to co-founder and CEO Alexander Belcredi. He also credits exposure to EIT Health’s international network as a key factor to PhagoMed's success.
“As a small company, gaining international visibility and exposure to the international networks was equally crucial, as generating this kind of exposure is time-consuming and costly. Our pitch during the Catapult 2020 finals was a very successful day that led us on a path to continue fundraising, which culminated in an acquisition by BioNTech,” says Belcredi.
Participants can win cash prizes of up to €40,000, and the chance of having their company displayed on the Nasdaq Tower in New York’s famous Times Square courtesy of programme partner Nasdaq. How’s that for a bit of ‘exposure’?
“The eg technology award fit perfectly with our project stage. Having the opportunity to work with a top global company like eg reduced the technical risk associated with the transfer to the manufacturing process of the Fine Birth device,” he explained.
One thing that’s been made clear by past graduates of Catapult is, given the course’s reputation in the health tech sector, even those who don’t win cash prizes during the programme win by having future doors opened for them and important introductions to investors.
The benefits of the programme are something participants will carry with them to improve their journey throughout the lifespan of their business. Luc Henry, co-founder and CEO of Limula, was a finalist in the Biotech category 2021.
“EIT Health Catapult is the best opportunity I was ever given to improve my pitch. It looks like a competition, but in fact, it is an incredible mentoring program providing value across all aspects of company building,” he says.
If you would like to be one of the successful start-ups launching their business in front of healthcare investors, then you can start your application here.
The Catapult team is holding an informal webinar on 2nd March at 11 am CET for participants to learn more about the programme and how they can benefit from it. You can register for the webinar here.