Digital Health Venture Forum allows entrepreneurs to present themselves to international investors and corporations seeking investment and partnerships.
The Forum aims to foster innovative entrepreneurship and promoting Valencia as an attractive city and region. 40 of the best Spanish and European early stage companies are selected to be present at the Forum by the investors of the selection committee. The applying companies are assessed on the basis of their business potential, product and technology merit, competitive position, investment or partnering interest, team experience and project profile quality.
After the pitching sessions a networking lunch and One2One meetings are organized for the companies, the investors and the partners, in order to provide networking opportunities.
The main stakeholders are the public partnering institutions at local, regional and national level. The beneficiaries are the selected 40 start-ups that are able to pitch in front of the investors. 15 are based in the region, 10 from Spain and 15 from other EU countries.
The ecosystem of incubators, Universities, health research centres and the partnering institutions is showcased at the event in an exhibit area. The regional runner up entrepreneurs are also allowed to have exhibit around the networking space, at no charge.
The cost of the event is around 50.000€ and it is shared among the partnering institutions. On top of that the partner institutions dedicate human resources, and in-kind contributions like the venues, catering and audiovisuals.
Evidence of success
The first event took place in October 2016 and it proved a great success. Start-ups were very grateful and the partner institutions and stakeholders developed strong links that are still active with a consolidated organising team already engaged with the event in October 2017.
Although it is soon to measure impact in terms of investments, one of the regional start-ups has received so far 250K Euros investment from a VC after the event.
The major barrier was to engage the partner institutions to sponsor the event. At the beginning we tried to engage private sponsors, but that didn't work. So IVACE approached the local, regional and national public partners in order to share the risks and funding needs.
Potential for learning or transfer
This good practice fosters a collaborative environment among public administrations at the three levels: local, regional and national. This public collaboration shares risks and builds up trust within the entrepreneurial community.
Many of the regional start-ups that were involved at the event had been previously supported by regional, national or local institutions with grant and soft loan schemes. There is support from these administrations for the very early stages, but when it comes to scale and growth there is a funding gap uncovered, therefore this kind of events help entrepreneurs to gain access to international networks of VCs and Business Angels.
There are also investors seeking for investment opportunities, so this is a way for them to have access to the best start-ups.
The event is also open to national or international start-ups, to encourage our regional and local start-ups, not only to compete but to find collaboration with their foreign peers.