After a gruelling 54 hours of formulating ideas, developing products, and pitching those ideas in front of hundreds of people, health tech startup Solus Health has won Creative Enterprise Australia’s creative tech startup weekend with an idea that could improve the lives of countless people.
Brought together earlier this month, project lead and co-founder Eduardo Jorgensen and a team of designers, software developers, and financial advisors formulated the concept of an inner sole that sits in a user’s shoe to detect irregular gait patterns that may indicate early-onset Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
The startup team, now formed as Solus Health, took the $30,000 worth of prizes home against a field of 46 pitches, armed with a rudimentary hardware prototype and a powerpoint presentation.
“It’s a stressful day because you have to present what each team member did, and there can be some high-stress moments as you run out of time,” Jorgensen tells StartupSmart.
“But it teaches you how to do teamwork, and its fun to have the thing you built validated to see if it makes sense or not, and if it’s something you can build into a real company.”
And that’s exactly what the Solus Health team is hoping to now do, armed with the mentoring provided as part of their prize and some services from Pitcher Partners. Jorgensen says he’s focused on working out what he needs to do and what steps need to be taken to make Solus Health into a real company, with investment being one of those goals.
“We’re going to begin marketing at a B2B level to hospitals, private clinics, and pharmaceutical companies, but we do eventually see a consumer market for this,” he says.
This was Jorgensen’s first startup weekend, but not his first startup, having previously run MedicSen, a company that creates artificial pancreas, for three years. He also won MIT’s 2017 Spanish Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been nominated for the university’s global award.
“It’s all been really exciting, and now I’m in Australia trying to build a bit of a name around e-health and the digital health environment, and all these things are helping with that a lot,” he says.
In a statement, CEA’s acting chief executive Mark Gustowski said Solus Health’s product stood out because the team was looking to solve a real-world problem.
“The team had an incredible vision to better our community and demonstrated that they were able to validate their market opportunity not just nationally but internationally,” he said.
“They formed a well-rounded team with deep domain knowledge spanning hipsters, hackers and hustlers, and showcased a standup pitch that received an almost unanimous vote from our judging panel.”
Australia one of the better startup environments
Jorgensen has been in Australia since October, after entering into the Queensland Government’s Hot DesQ program. While his visa runs out next month, he’s looking into ways to stay in Australia, saying its one of the better startup environments he’s worked in.
“I’ve been in startup communities in Spain, United Arab Emirates, and the United States, and while nothing can really compare to the States, Australia is definitely one of the better ones,” he says.
“Startups here can grow equally with resources from government and private entities, and that’s the sweet spot most countries don’t have. Startups are well covered here in terms of having a lot of important actors and stakeholders.”