REDI: Mastering commercial success for digital health start ups

In 2020, MTPConnect launched the Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative: a four-year, $32 million project funded through the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). Its overarching goal is to leverage the expertise of research, training and industry partners to address skills gaps and enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem within the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector.

The initiative supports a series of workshops coordinated by REDI partner ANDHealth, which are designed to enhance digital health companies’ end-to-end  commercialisation and product development strategies.

The line-up includes ANDHealth’s Masterclass: ACCELERATE program. This intensive accelerator course helps start-ups – specifically those working with evidence-based digital health products – to overcome some of the common pitfalls and challenges encountered along the commercialisation pathway.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Masterclass was delivered virtually, reaching 47 attendees from 27 digital health companies and five industry participants. The virtual delivery enabled access to senior experts from around Australia and 10 international experts and keynotes. Forty-nine topics were covered over six days, spread across more than 40 small group and one-on-one sessions. Key themes were tailored to suit attendees’ interests and goals, such as raising capital, growing partnerships, expanding into international markets, developing networks and attracting investment.

Sessions were led by national and international subject matter experts, and participants were given ample opportunities to network with fellow attendees and speakers. Participants could also practice pitching; receive feedback from experienced institutional and angel investors; and meet with paying customers for insights specific to their product.

Technology platform uPaged attended the 2020 event, hoping to resolve several challenges relating to capital raising, compliance and business development/implementation strategies. As a national practitioner database that hospitals can tap into when seeking on-demand and permanent nursing staff, uPaged found the Masterclass invaluable.

The company had never before accessed such scope of mentors, speakers, presenters and facilitators, as well as introductions to key decision-makers, entrepreneurs and investors from within the healthcare industry.

For the uPaged team, the most valuable knowledge was gained through sessions covering industry insights into public sector procurement; the nationalisation of the healthcare system over the next 10 years; and the need for innovation to provide a ‘big win’ for government in non-financial ways.

In the context of uPaged’s business, this validated and cemented the team’s strategic plan to nationalise healthcare staffing compliance and to create verified workforce mobility nationwide. Off the back of the Masterclass, these learnings have pushed the team to revisit its strategy, by not only changing its management approach, but also restructuring pilot programs to better understand what success looks like for its customers.

Notably, ANDHealth’s Masterclass facilitated introductions between uPaged and key industry stakeholders, including an investment firm, which continues to support the platform as it refines its implementation strategy.

As uPaged founder Zara Lord explained: “The Masterclass program was incredible, because it is healthcare-specific with mentors who have real-world experience. The discussions are frank and direct around the very challenges of innovating in healthcare and strategies for success. The team are very well connected in the healthcare sector and went out of their way to make valuable introductions for us, as well as to ensure the discussion was relevant to our needs.”

Ms Lord added: “We can't recommend Masterclass enough. While we have a product in the market serving hospitals and nursing agencies, Masterclass gave us both broad oversight and incredible focus that is helping drive us in 2021 and beyond.”

The Masterclass: ACCELERATE program for 2021 is complete, and will run in 2022 and 2023, with past attendees continuing to benefit from ongoing ANDHealth alumni events and programs.

Read more information about ANDHealth's REDI initiatives. 

ANDHealth is Australia’s leading provider of accelerator, incubator and commercialisation programs for digital health technology companies.