Terkko Health X pre-incubator in health tech and life sciences closes out successful 2022 programme with pitching event

The programme closed out its 2 months of activities with a well-attended pitching contest at the Terkko Health Hub.

The 4th Terkko Health X programme wrapped up on Friday November 4th when the participating teams got up on stage to pitch their solutions to a panel of judges at the programme’s final showcase event. The event was held in conjunction with Terkko Health Hub’s 5th anniversary celebrations. The jury consisted of three experts from the start-up world: Lauri Kuronen of Health Incubator Helsinki, Jessica Blechingberg of Maria01, and Tuomas Harju of Business Finland.

Before the start of the pitching, programme manager Liina Laukkanen had some heartfelt words to all who were involved in this year’s programme, thanking all the teams, fellow organisers, and experts who were all integral parts of this year’s journey.

As the teams got up on stage one after the other, each used their three minutes of pitching time to present convincing, sometimes moving, cases for why the ideas they’d spent the last two months developing had real potential for impact and growth. Each pitch was followed by pertinent clarifying questions from the jury who asked teams about market size, competition, future steps, and more.

Having performed well on stage in front of the assembled crowd and having wowed the panel with their solutions and pitches, the whole cohort received praise from the jury: “While they’re all still in the early stages, the teams displayed a lot of potential and enthusiasm for their ideas,” explained Lauri Kuronen, with Tuomas Harju continuing “We believe that with a little bit more work, these all have the potential to turn into promising start-ups.”

Top performing teams awarded

After careful deliberation, considering the problem, solution, validation, pitch, team competence, business model, and market for each team, the jury announced the selection of the top 3 best pitches: teams Gencyst, DentAI, and Urisens. Owing to past years’ traditions for the venerable programme, yet exceptionally for the Helsinki Incubators, Terkko Health X included prizes for the top 3 teams. These consisted of start-up tickets to Slush, as well as 6 months of membership in the Terkko Health Hub.

In addition to the top 3, a fourth team, Hammtek, was also recognised for the quality and potential of their solution by the City of Helsinki’s Business Helsinki department some days prior to the showcase. Business Helsinki, in its role as central co-ordinator of the Campus Incubators network, a network of incubators in 7 different higher education institutions in Helsinki, awarded 10 teams taking part in Campus Incubators programmes start-up tickets to Slush, with Hammtek being one of them.

Introducing the top teams

Team Gencyst, consisting of Dr. Nadeem Hafeez, Saima Hafeez, and Wajid Hafiz Ali, presented a novel solution to nail fungal infections, offering a patch combining microneedle technology with a proprietary compound discovered by Dr. Hafeez, CEO of Gencyst. According to their data, the patch is over 95% effective, which is a marked improvement on current solutions which have a success rate of less than 50%. The team hopes to be able to provide those suffering from the disease, numbering over a billion globally, an easy to use, rapid solution to their woes.

Team DentAI, consisting of Märt Vesinurm, Daniel Prisching, and Antti Lankinen pitched a no-nonsense solution to a very real problem in the dental care system: during routine dental check-ups, dentists observe their patient’s teeth, and call out their findings in very simple language. Dental nurses, who are already both overworked and in short supply, are needlessly tied up to a data entry task where they sit and wait to manually enter dentists’ comments into the system. As the team's presenter Märt Vesinurm explains, this process could easily be automated with a simple device which uses voice recognition and AI to automatically fill in the patient’s file based on what it hears. And that’s exactly what DentAI plans on doing.

Urisens, represented at Terkko Health X by Öguz and Özge Tanzer, is based on a Business Finland funded research-to-business project which is working on developing and deploying sensors which can provide early warnings of renal health issues for elderly and disabled patients. The sensors, which are inserted into adult diapers, analyse the urine of incontinent patients to alert caretakers as soon as issues arise. This, team lead Öguz Tanzer assured, would improve not only the quality of life of both patient and carer, but help save unnecessary ER visits caused by allowing the treating of ailments which often remain untreated in the current sensor-less reality.

HammTek, another dental solution, offers a professional-grade home-use device which helps all users better track dental health, and a smartphone app to analyse data as well as suggest and keep track of dental appointments. The intuitive device uses a camera paired with the app to determine if any dental carries are present, with the app suggesting local dental care providers when any are detected. As CEO Javad Maleki describes it, this solution would be especially interesting to parents with small children who understand the importance of keeping track of their children’s dental health during their formative years. In addition to Maleki, the team was represented at Terkko Health X by Sanaz Naderi.

The 4 awarded teams all were united by the fact that they came into the programme with promising, well-defined ideas, and although all are in the early phases of their journey, all are expected to continue onwards towards entrepreneurship in whatever way they choose.