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September 7, 2017

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Feeding the fires of innovation by mentoring young startups

For German drug and agriculture group Bayer, innovation is at the heart of its passion in finding new ways to fight the diseases of this world. Bayer Grants4Apps Shanghai Incubator Program represents one of the firm’s efforts to sustain this passion.

The program, launched in 2013 on the back of crowdsourcing, is a global open innovation initiative. It provides financial support to developers and startups for their software, hardware and technology projects, which is expected to contribute to improving health outcomes or pharmaceutical processes.

The Bayer Grants4Apps came to Shanghai in 2016 after it was expanded with an accelerator as a new model of open innovation in the digital health field. The event was a huge success in Shanghai last year, bringing the best of China’s powerful innovation capabilities together with Bayer’s global reach.

So this year, the program continued in the city. Kicked off in July, it attracted more than 130 startups from China whose products and services have the potential for creating value for physicians, patients and consumers.

Drawing on the resources of Bayer global operations and the powerful innovative capabilities of Chinese entrepreneurs, the selection process finally narrowed down the applicants for the Chinese young startups in healthcare field.

“I am delighted to see again the wonderful innovation spirit of China-based startups,” said Celina Chew, president of Bayer Group China. “Since its launch in China last year, the Grants4Apps Shanghai Program has focused on nurturing start-ups with digital solutions that tackle a wide range of healthcare issues in China.”

Chew said working with these intrepid innovators, Bayer looks forward to helping the startups make progress on their ideas and go-to-market strategies.

“We believe such collaborations in this vibrant sector will help to contribute solutions for a better life for people in China,” Chew said.

The startups have been selected mainly in consideration of their structural attractiveness, performance, overall vision and development ambitions. The working environment provided by Bayer is expected to support the startups, helping them effectively and efficiently launch their products into the marketplace.

After fierce competition, four startups were picked up for Incubator Plan. They were ChildCare, SmartCloud, Hinounou and Drop Technology.

ChildCare is a firm developing a home intelligent stethoscope and fetal heart movement monitoring device. It can get a professional physician judgment through software and hardware technology based on an artificial intelligence heart and lung sound-aided diagnosis system. As a team of five members from Shanghai, ChildCare started the business in 2015. For now, their home intelligent stethoscope has been launched for sale, while the fetal heart movement monitoring device is in the stage of sample development.

SmartCloud focuses on a non-invasive coronary artery occlusion functional diagnostic cloud platform, which is for accurate digital analysis of coronary heart disease caused by coronary artery disease stenosis. The three members of the team are Chinese overseas students graduated from Johns Hopkins University who started the project research in school and have focused on it for more than 10 years.

Hinounou aims to develop an intelligent healthcare companion robot for the elderly. As an artificial intelligence ecosystem, the product could solve common problems for the elderly such as loneliness, insurance and health issues, and help them enjoy a better and healthier life. The team of four from France and Canada started the business four years ago. The product is in the research stage, and Hinounou aims to launch it into the market soon.

Drop Technology developed an electronic anti-perspirant patch. It’s a wearable skin patch that controls and reduces a user’s sweating using a non-invasive electrical stimulation and a tracking system controlled by an App. The team of three from Peru started the business in China in 2015, headquartered in Chengdu. For now, the product is in the stage of development and validating the concept’s feasibility in the Chinese market.

As part of their reward, these four startups began an 88-day training program in Bayer’s office in Lujiazui from August 28. There, Bayer offers experienced managers as coaches to the startups, in addition to intensive mentoring by external entrepreneurs.

Innovation was the driving force behind Bayer inventing Aspirin 120 years ago, which laid the spiritual foundation for the firm. Now, the power of innovation is valued more than ever before to sustain Bayer’s good performance in the Chinese market.


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