Mar 06, 2018

Philips focuses its start-up program on four key areas

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Benno Tieke

Benno Tieke

Director, Portfolio and CTO

Benno manages Philips Venture’s extensive portfolio and focuses on open innovation. He’s passionate about developing new partnerships with external start-ups.

As patient numbers and the complexity of care rise, healthcare systems around the world face major challenges. Global health leaders, together with health technology companies like Philips and dynamic entrepreneurs, all recognize how our reactive and fragmented systems are full of missed opportunities to improve lives and reduce waste.


Philips is building solutions that make powerful connections between people, data and technology, from the hospital to the home, creating truly life-changing opportunities. At Philips HealthWorks, they've tailored an intensive 12-week Start-up Program, where they help you to build, test and de-risk your innovation and look for collaboration opportunities. They truly believe that we can change the future of healthcare by working together with these incredible entrepreneurs.


Philips programs are themed around domains where your solutions can make a huge impact on the world


For their 2018 programs, Philips identified four major themes that will change the future of healthcare tremendously: cardiology, oncology diagnostics, personal health and AI for radiology. These are areas in healthcare where they believe start-ups can make a huge impact on the world. They are also designed to ensure that entrepreneurs leverage the expertise and business strengths of Philips. Working in themed cohorts means that you can challenge and learn from one another. For each program, Philips groups between 6 and 10 exceptional start-ups in one of these fields. They take a careful portfolio approach when selecting the start-ups, so that start-ups inspire each other without ever being in direct competition.

Two men sitting in a conference room have a discussion as they look at a laptop.

1. Cardiology — a new approach across the health continuum
The first cohort of the year tackles one of the biggest challenges of all: cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, killing 17.7 million people each year, equal to an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide. At Philips, they're working with customers to combine multiple technologies — including patient monitoring, informatics and image-guided therapy — to connect care across the cardiology care continuum, from the hospital to home.


Entrepreneurs joining this themed program, which started in February, share Philips mission to enable a new approach to cardiovascular care: one that delivers proactive and personalized care to patients while at the same time reducing healthcare costs. The cohort includes outstanding start-ups developing new treatment options for minimally invasive procedures, groundbreaking uses for 3D printing for cardiologists, applications of artificial intelligence in various cardiology use cases and solutions that involve patients and informal caregivers in treatment decisions. The cardiology cohort is based at the Health Innovation Port. The Port was founded by Philips and brings together partners from the healthcare ecosystem.


2. Oncology diagnostics — enabling earlier, more precise and personalized care
With the number of new cancer cases expected to rise by 70% over the next two decades, we see earlier and more precise diagnostics playing a huge role in improving survival rates. New insights into cancer pathways, enabled by analyzing huge amounts of data from a wide range of sources, will deliver more precise prognoses and support tailored therapies to individual patients.


One of the ways Philips is exploring the theme of oncology diagnostics is through their HealthWorks innovation hub in Cambridge, MA. They've chosen nine teams to join their start-up program this February. Most of the start-ups address specific aspects in cancer diagnosis or care with potential links to the platforms of Philips Oncology Informatics. They also included entrepreneurs working in the fields of radiation oncology and digital pathology to create a comprehensive and exciting cohort. Start-ups in this cohort will get the opportunity to team up with a unique blend of leaders and innovators from academia, medicine, venture capital and private and public sector institutions in order to solve one of the world’s toughest healthcare challenges.

A medical professional in scrubs smiles at a patient lying on a table

3. Personal health — inspiring healthy behavior
The third theme addresses the very start of the health continuum: healthy living. Improving what we eat, how active we are and how much quality sleep we get can have an enormous impact on our own lives. Our behavior is the most important factor, and we all know that change is hard. Maintaining healthy habits over the long term is even harder. So Philips is looking for innovative start-ups to join them in their mission to crack this conundrum.

This cohort, running in the second half of the year, gives start-ups the opportunity to de-risk, scale and learn with some of the best innovators in personal health solutions. Teams will work from High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Europe’s leading tech hub for 160 innovative companies and 40 start-ups.

A father sprays a hose on a sunny day while his children run through the water and his wife smiles.

4. AI for radiology — adapting to the needs of radiologists and their patients
The biggest healthcare related buzzword in 2018 is AI — artificial intelligence. Beyond its disrupting promise, the key question is how to make it work for health systems, health professionals and patients. Philips believes this final theme is so vital to current healthcare challenges, they're running three cohorts around the implementation of AI in radiology throughout the year in Bangalore, Cambridge MA and Shanghai.


Radiologists worldwide face increasing pressure due to increased workload, changing patient populations and challenging reimbursement conditions. To meet these needs, Philips is building AI solutions that adapt to each radiologist’s individual workflow, support disease diagnosis and optimize resources to improve productivity and patient outcomes.

Two medical professionals look at diagnostic results on a series of monitors

The HealthWorks programs will look at addressing some of the barriers to wide-scale adoption, such as the availability of reliably curated data, the implementation in a regulated environment and the transparency of clinical decisions for individual patients whose lives depend on the decisions. Start-ups can join the HealthWorks program that suits best by time or location. In China, the market is poised to emerge as a global leader in radiology AI, both in terms of market demand and breakthrough technology.


They'll be running the Shanghai cohort to also cover the sub topic of AI in oncology diagnostics. In India, start-ups will get the chance to work at Philips largest IT site in Bangalore, where experts from a multitude of disciplines and perspectives can help you build, scale and deploy your AI assets quickly and securely. As most AI start-ups are US-based or target the US Healthcare market, they see huge potential to disrupt healthcare with their final program of the year in Cambridge, MA. They will include the sub-topic of ultrasound in this cohort as it will be fascinating to see the combination of AI with this real time imaging modality. 

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