"This is not e-commerce or media, it is health. With that, comes a whole set of new challenges,” says Roland Daher, Head of Dubai 100. Despite the barriers to entry that the sector throws up, Dubai 100’s participants – digital health startups from around the world that spent the last 100 days in the city as part of the intensive accelerator programme – created considerable buzz as they took to the stage to pitch to an audience of healthcare experts and investors.
With early stage products that spanned pregnancy wearables monitoring unborn babies’ kick-rates, to solutions to digitalise medical records in East Africa, Dubai 100 enabled the young founders to quickly validate, iterate and develop their business models. In addition to insights and mentorship from the 250-plus industry experts and healthcare organisations they accessed through the accelerator programme, a major benefit, the entrepreneurs said, was the global dynamic of the city. “Dubai was a place where I could connect with people all over the world that I didn’t have access to back in Nigeria,” said Henry Mascot, CEO of Curacel Health.
After the participants gave their final pitches on stage at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Science in Dubai Healthcare City, a networking session proved that Dubai is increasingly becoming known as a platform for startups and innovators. “Last year we actually took one of the Dubai 100 startups and brought them to the UK to partner with them,” said Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Chief Executive of Northern Health Science Alliance. “We’re here today to see if we can do the same thing with another one of these companies – and I think there’s definitely one or two.”