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‘Working with us is like a marriage commitment’
The fourth edition of Healthy Funding on Thursday 4 February, is co-hosted by Healthy.Capital. This investment fund invests in young, promising Dutch companies that focus on digital health with innovative solutions. ‘We are only at the beginning of a digital transformation in healthcare,’ says co-founder and managing partner Douwe Jippes.
During Healthy Funding IV, organised by the municipality of Rotterdam, young, ambitious companies are matched with relevant investors and funds. Healthy.Capital is one such fund. What advise does Douwe Jippes give to entrepreneurs? ‘Keep your independence for as long as possible. That’s my message,’ says Jippes. ‘Strange advice for someone who invests in start-ups and scale-ups. But I honestly believe that the more value you can build yourself, the better your negotiating position will become. Raising investments should not be the goal in itself. In addition, you need to look carefully at whether an investor and an entrepreneur fit together. Both parties must really believe in each other, otherwise it won’t be a success.’
Healthy.Capital has a clear focus. The three-year-old fund uses the Seed Capital scheme of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). ‘That’s why we can only invest in companies younger than seven years old,’ says Jippes. ‘What suits us best, are companies that are not older than four years. Companies that have a good problem-solution fit and with a product-market fit that can be approved by a good team. We dare to step in earlier than many other investment funds. But of course we must be sufficiently convinced that the team can make a difference and that the solution will be successful.’
Healthy.Capital aims specifically on companies that focus on healthcare. Better still: digital health, including eHealth applications. Up to now, the company has invested in seven enterprises, including a company that makes digital biomarkers based on artificial intelligence and a platform for people who are looking for private informal care. ‘We are only at the beginning of a digital transformation in healthcare,’ Jippes believes. ‘What will our healthcare look like in ten years? Who would have thought that we have worked so long in healthcare without using data? And the consumer will also have more direct access to healthcare solutions.’
‘That’s why we are so interested in data-driven consumer-oriented propositions,’ Jippes continues. ‘We don’t just help them with money, but also with knowledge, advice and project-based support. We have engaged investors, who, like us, are happy to deploy their network. We initiate discussions with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. We create introductions to healthcare insurers. So, we do everything we can to help entrepreneurs, and thus healthcare, to move forward. We accelerate together, with the aim of bringing a solution to the market. Working with us is like a marriage commitment.’
From communication to healthcare
Jippes could never have imagined at the beginning of this century that he would ever make those types of market analyses. After studying communications, he also worked as an entrepreneur in that sector. After an assignment at a mental healthcare institution, he developed a growing feeling for and interest in healthcare. ‘I got involved in an eHealth solution, which allowed psychologists to talk remotely with patients. That sparked my interest. I established a start-up on shared decision making in healthcare. That’s how I came into contact with Johan van Mil of Peak.Capital investment fund. He was receiving more and more requests in the area of healthcare, which he wanted to put into a new, separate fund. Before I knew it, I was one of the four co-founders of Healthy.Capital.’
Patience is a virtue
Partly because of his background, Jippes calls himself an “atypical investor”. ‘Of the four Healthy.Capital partners, I am the one who knows the most about this sector. The others have a more entrepreneurial background. The have sold companies, have a lot of financial expertise and experience. I know what it’s like to peddle your idea somewhere and how long it takes in the healthcare sector, and certainly digital health, to get your idea onto the market. That experience is extremely valuable, because this is a whole other ballgame when it comes to investing. As Lonneke Baas of InnovationQuarter said recently on this website: there is enough money available in the market. But there’s still a lot to be gained when it comes to making the right match between entrepreneurs, investors and grants.’
Jippes is also happy that there is enthusiasm for Healthy Funding IV. ‘More entrepreneurs and more investment groups than expected are participating. That shows that there is a great need for this type of event. I am excited about the Life Science & Health-eco-system in Rotterdam. It is extremely dynamic, with an active role for the municipality. The great thing is that it looks beyond the city and regional boundaries. Many initiatives in the Netherlands are very locally orientated. While we, as the Netherlands, are in fact a region, if you look at it on a larger scale. Fortunately, many parties from outside Rotterdam are also taking part in Healthy Funding.’
According to Jippes, collaboration is the key to success in quickly implementing digital health solutions in our healthcare system. ‘Compared to America and Asia we in Europe are lagging behind. So there’s no time to waste. I appeal to everyone to look beyond their own interests. Entrepreneurs with good, overlapping ideas can collaborate more and better. And investment funds should refer to each other more often, so that every idea gets to the right investor. Share knowledge and information. That’s how we help the whole ecosystem to move forward and ultimately that’s good for all of us.’
Healthy Funding IV takes place virtually on Thursday 4th February, 2021. For more information please click this link. Would you like to know more about collaborating with Healthy.Capital? Check healthy.capital or connect with Douwe Jippes on LinkedIn.
Date: 3 February 2021