West Midlands companies secure £50,000 funding from SME Innovation Fund


Posted on 21 October 2016 (Permalink)

Three companies in the West Midlands have successfully secured a £50,000 investment from the SME Innovation Fund to market test, refine and deliver their healthcare innovations. 

The SME Innovation Fund is a joint initiative set up by Mercia Fund Management, leading investment business in UK innovation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC and the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN), to help build and support healthcare start-ups across the West Midlands.

The WMAHSN brings together investment, energy and expertise from across the health science community. In collaborating with Mercia, it provides repayable grants of up to £50,000 for up to ten new innovations each year to support innovations that have the potential to deliver a high impact for society, grow the reputation of healthcare delivery within the West Midlands, both in the UK and abroad, and support the spread and adoption of patient-focused innovation across the region.

One of the successful bidders was digital health business Kaido, which is based in the Serendip Digital Health Quarter of Innovation Birmingham. Kaido uses smart technology and access to world-leading expertise to help individuals get more from their health applications, wearable devices and smartphones in line with their health goals and are one of 24 start-ups currently on Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip Smart City Incubator. They were awarded the funding following a competitive application and interview process.

Richard Westman, Founder of Kaido, said: “The SME Innovation Fund has come at a really important time for Kaido as we look to grow the team and accelerate development. It was critical that our world-leading sports science expertise was matched by the same level of technology infrastructure to deliver on our vision. Working alongside renowned artificial intelligence developer, Jeremy Walker, and his team, demonstrates this commitment. I am looking forward to learning from the teams at Mercia and WMAHSN over coming months and excited by the potential opportunities this unique collaboration may bring in the future.”

Peter Dines, Head of Life Sciences at Mercia, said: “The WMAHSN SME Innovation Fund is designed to support early stage innovative companies based in the West Midlands. We are impressed by the Kaido team led by Richard Westman and their collective vision to exploit what is a very interesting innovation in a fast-moving sector set to continue to grow. We look forward to providing support to the Kaido team as they continue on their journey.”

Birmingham-based Digital Life Sciences also secured a loan to trial their DLS Supported Self Management tool, which has two modules available through the web or smartphone apps. The lifestyle plan module is designed to promote patient self-management, leading to less dependency on the health system as a result of pro-actively improving lifestyle factors that reduce the re-occurrence of acute episodes for patients with a long-term condition. This promotes improved health outcomes for the patient and decreased cost to the health system as a whole.  puts patients in control of their own health; connecting lifestyle goals to health benefits, sharing data with health professionals and making virtual clinics a reality. The second module will bridge the gap between the patient and clinical worlds, integrating directly into primary care clinical systems and providing a seamless workflow. 

OrthOracle, a multidisciplinary online orthopaedic educational resource for clinicians, industry, academia and patients, was also successful in securing a loan from the fund. OrthOracle is an interactive web-based resource, written by practising clinicians and bringing together the best in clinical practice and orthopaedic technologies. The platform covers the entire treatment pathway and facilitates collaboration between clinical, academic and industry sectors leading to improved patient outcomes.

Dr Christopher Parker CBE, Managing Director at WMAHSN, said: “We are delighted that these three companies have been successful in securing investment from the SME Innovation Fund. The fund is a further sign of our commitment to SMEs in the West Midlands’ life sciences sector, helping to create wealth in the local economy through industry collaboration and attracting inward investment, as well as delivering improvements in healthcare by aiding the spread of innovative diagnostics, devices and services at scale and pace.”