Tech fairs as a springboard for start-ups in their search for new markets

Trade missions to technology fairs are very useful for start-ups. This became clear, for example, during the Finnish Slush trade fair, where 4TU.IMPACT held the final of the last Impact Challenge. Several start-ups then traveled to Finland from the four participating technical universities (4TU). Participants expanded their network and got in touch with investors.

Therefore, 4TU now also joins two missions to Viva Technology in Paris and Collision in Toronto, Canada, organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

A combination of factors

Moovd is one of the startups coming to Collision. Co-founder Menno Kamphuis has a dream: In five years, he will help with the digitalisation of healthcare worldwide with his company Moovd. He’s well on his way. In two and a half years, the company grew from two to sixteen employees, applied therapies to about six thousand people and has customers in America, Australia, Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Kamphuis will now explore the Canadian market.

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Kamphuis cannot explain with one answer why the start-up is growing so much. “It’s a combination of factors: being able to gather the right people around them, hiring the right people, entering into good partnerships, important customers being connected, being able to gather success stories.”

Kamphuis has a business background. After graduating from Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede, he wanted to do something about the problem that many people around the world have poor access to mental health care. Together with his brother Sander, also a business administrator, he got an idea to integrate digitalisation into the healthcare system. After a successful pilot with a number of large trauma clinics in the Netherlands, the two decided to start a company. In early 2020, they registered Moovd with the Chamber of Commerce.

The real problem

Moovd digitizes therapies such as exposuretherapy and Eye movement desensitization Retreatmentalso EMDR-therapy, as Kamphuis puts it. How does it work? In a therapy like EMDR, it is about people processing a shocking event. In this therapy, a therapist must boost a client’s working memory so that the memory of a shocking event crumbles into the long-term memory. †

That process takes a lot of time and is difficult for Kamphuis, says Kamphuis. “A therapist always moves or snaps his fingers. He also gives orders to the customer. This whole process is contained in a protocol. We have digitized that protocol. “

An application that gives the commands can be followed from a laptop or smartphone. “Like a kind of game.” Moovd’s algorithm measures the reaction times and the optimal working memory load for a person and adjusts the tasks accordingly. As it was, the program takes over the management of the protocol. This allows the therapist to focus on the other parts of the process. “It can focus on the real problem, the memory, which the client finds annoying.”

Traditional market

Exposure therapy confronts people with their fear, trauma or phobia, Kamphuis continues. “We also do this digitally. People can tackle their fears with their own laptop or smartphone. Or, if they have one with VR glasses. ”

Moovd developed the therapies together with therapists from practice. But according to Kamphuis, healthcare is a fairly traditional market. Kamphuis notes a market where not everyone is eager to take the step towards digitization. The contractor says to them: “The methods do not change, they are scientifically substantiated. You just implement them in a slightly different way. That’s all we want to make clear to people. “

“We get a lot of positive reactions. People really see that this is the future. “According to Kamphuis, digital therapies are not the solution to the problems in the health care system.” There is a lot of pressure on the health care system. There are long waiting lists, there is that pressure on the therapists themselves. dropouts among these professionals and clients do not receive the right treatment.Our solution tackles part of the problem. “

The Canadian healthcare system

Through the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Kamphuis came into contact with Novel T, which is also affiliated with the University of Twente. “Novel T has a large network. If you have a question, they will help you or refer you. For example, with contracts. There are also trade missions with the Dutch Business Agency (RVO). We went to Slush in Finland in December. It was really cool. You get in touch with people who are in the same phase as you. Everyone with their own business, and they are all there with the same goal: to see if there are international customers and if you can get in touch with investors. ”

Last week, the start-up traveled to Collision in Toronto as part of the trade mission. There, Kamphuis would investigate whether the Canadian market is interesting for the startup. “Our goal was to understand how the Canadian healthcare system works,” Kamphuis said afterwards. And that goal has been abundantly achieved. “We knew exactly who we wanted to talk to in advance. RVO and 4TU helped us establish contacts. During the mission, networking came almost naturally. ”

Select moment

Kamphuis spoke with health insurers, hospitals, nursing homes and national and local governments. “It is a very interesting market where health insurance does not play as big a role as in the Netherlands.” The entrepreneur received positive reactions to the digital therapies. “Also from American visitors. They really see this as next generation to the health service. ”

Whether and when Moovd will make the transition to the Canadian market remains to be seen. Kamphuis will continue discussions with the contacts made. “The question is whether the Canadian healthcare market is ready for this way of providing therapy. In Canada, they are a few years behind us.”

Choosing that moment is important, he learned from start-ups that are already entering the Canadian market. “And if you succeed in conquering the Canadian market, it’s a springboard to the American market.”

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