According to EASME, the widest funded Phase 2 projects under the SME Instrument in 2018 were those related to “health”. However, based on our wide experience with EU-funded projects, we can certainly tell that raising EU funds for a health-related startup is not exactly as “easy” as it might seem. Yet, here at Typewiser, we can suggest you how to improve your chances of getting your health-related Company funded by the EC. Consider that EASME does its best to assign your proposal to reviewers that are experts in your specific field, and they will judge your application from a scientific and business point of view. Even if you are applying for a non-diluting fund, think of reviewers as if they were your potential investors, focusing on what an investor might want to hear (or not to hear) about your business project.
Express as soon as possible the pain you are addressing. Which unmet medical need are you targeting? Health-related businesses can take long time to reach commercialization. Investors will accept to risk their money only if you present them a business project that will have an actual impact on the market and society, generating revenues, saving millions of lives and shifting clinical practice. In other words, present to the reviewers products and/or services for which actual customers will be interested in, and will pay for. Also, remember that the H2020 framework has specific priorities: which societal challenge or challenges are you addressing? Give evidence of your excellence. Bring reviewers on your side by sharing with them what makes you confident in your approach, and why it is a game-changer or, even better, it represents a disruption. Show your added value. If you previously conducted laboratory, animal and/or human studies, support the viability of your solution with scientific data – don’t stop to a text description of it. Compare your product/ service with competitors and quantify how it is better than alternatives and existing solutions. If you already have a patent granted, then it’s awesome, report it! It means your technology is truly innovative and non-obvious. And even if you have just filed the patent application, but the patent is still pending (i.e. it has not been granted), mentioning it it’s a great point – it says you are doing it for real, you are seriously investing resources in your endeavor.
Tell why you will rock the project implementation. Build investors’ trust by getting them to know you. In a few sentences, convey how your team is organized, from a scientific and business point of view. Mention the clinical partners and Key Opinion Leaders (KoL) in your medical field you have already contacted and/or engaged into a direct involvement in the clinical study proposed. Describe your plans to reach the market and an early commercialization plan, even if your product may fall into a very “conventional” already established and proven marketing strategy (e.g. a novel drug). This information is even more important in case you are proposing a completely novel service or product, as in the (winning) case of a wearable neuro-stimulation device to treat depression. Will the doctors (and patients) be open to this innovation? Are you envisaging reimbursement from the National Health Systems? Assess the risks: describe their likelihood and how they will impact the business project. Show that you are full of resources, and that you already have a back-up plan. Remember to depict a realistic timeline and a roadmap from the current stage of development, up to the commercialization.