We had a great couple of days at the Technoport conference. The Crown Prince and Princess visited Lise and Gunnar at our stand, curious of how our development was coming along. In addition, we got inspiring feedback from parents who really wished our app was available when they had their children.
We are so happy to tell you that we won the final round of the DNB Healthcare Prize!
From 40 companies, six finalists were chosen by the jury consisting of Espen Tidemann Jørgensen, Anders Tuv, Runar Bjørklund, Ingrid Akay Teigland and Benedicte Bakke. The other five companies represented in the finals were Ultimovacs, Spiro Medical, Labrida, Vaccibody and GlucoSet.
The final was a pitching competition with six minutes for each company, with the winner chosen by voting from both the audience and the jury. The audience and the jury were clearly moved by our vision of eliminating jaundice as a health issue throughout the world since they decided to vote for us.
The prize was a check worth 1 million NOK which will make us able to finish a first version of our app! Thank you DNB Healthcare!
I also would like to thank NTNU Discovery, Innovation Norway, and TrønderEnergi for helping us get to the point where we were able to win such a prize.
Lina, who is an Industrial Design student at NTNU, is currently in Uganda researching how Picterus could be put to use across the country. She has written a blog post on her experiences so far, which I have copied below. Her study trip has been funded by the nice people at Engineers Without Borders NTNU!
“The first two weeks in Uganda has been rich on input and experiences. I have met with helpful people who show great interest in the project and share with me their experiences with neonatal care in Uganda.
I spent the first week in Kampala visiting Makerere University School of Public Health and Mulago National Referral Hospital. Initially I didn’t think that Picterus would be so relevant for Mulago since they have both the equipment and skilled people needed to conduct testing of bilirubin. Why would they want to introduce a whole new tool like Picterus? But at Mulago they were super excited and I quickly saw why my reasoning was all wrong. On the neonatal intensive care unit at Mulago there were babies everywhere and the nurses were running from one to the next. To do blood tests of all the 50-70 babies several times a day and then wait for 1-2 hours to get the answer from the lab, was simply not doable for the 3-4 nurses. This had led to a routine of inaccurate clinical investigations where nurses would disagree with each other on whether a baby needed treatment or not.
After testing the prototype; the health workers at Mulago were very positive and expressed how they wanted a tool that could provide precise results quickly and help them prioritize the limited phototherapy equipment the best way.
I also visited CAMTech and the hospital in Mbarara where I experiences why a smartphone application is a good suitable solution for Uganda – it is cheap. In Mbarara the lab couldn’t test for bilirubin so they had to send blood tests to the private lab, but this cost money. One test cost 10 000 Ugandan Shilling (about 3 USD or 25 NOK), which is too much for most families. The health workers were frustrated with being limited to clinical investigations and insufficient testing of the newborns.
The next weeks I will visit Jinja and the Rwenzori mountains to learn more about newborn care services in rural areas. The goal is to make a tool that is useful and available for both settings –larger hospitals in urban areas and small clinics in the districts.”
Picterus was present at the Innovating Malaysia Conference the 28th and the 29th of October. We were lucky to establish several new interesting contacts from countries such as China and Bangladesh, including of course Malaysia. It will be very interesting to see where our new contacts will lead us in a few months time when we are ready for validation.
We were invited to pitch at a large conference in Trondheim the 27th of october, with many of the leading figures of Trondheim present. The event was arranged by Sparebank1, a large norwegian bank. Maren pitched for Picterus and did a great job. The executive manager of the bank even said that the pitches were the highlight of the event! (Extra fun when the competition was nobel prize winners)
We are very happy that we got so far in the national finals of the Venture Cup competition. In the end we lost to very good business ideas that have gotten a bit further than us in their product development. But we will soon catch up and prove that placing faith in Picterus is not done in vain!
We are showcasing our technology at the TechInnovation conference in Singapore. Our technology has gained interest from several industrial and academic institutions, and we are looking forward to following up all our new connections and potential business and collaboration partners.
An industrial design student will this fall design a new phototherapy device intended for jaundiced newborns in low resource settings. The resulting device will hopefully be the tool people living in low resource areas need to be able to treat their newborn children.
We are looking forward to seeing all the ideas the student will come up with!
We are now starting a student project at NTNU where a physics student will investigate how we could best utilize sunlight as phototherapy for jaundiced newborn. The results of this project could become extremely important in areas where the phototherapeutic devices in today’s market are too expensive or require too much infrastructure to function.
Optimizing treatment of jaundice using sunlight could thus give many poor people the ability to treat their newborn’s jaundice.