Panel discussion: How can startups help drive innovation in European healthcare?
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Frank Boermeester Frank Boermeester - March 6 2012

At our second HealthStartup event in Antwerp, 28 March, we will moderate a panel discussion among several healthcare experts and entrepreneurs to address the question:

How can startups help drive innovation in European healthcare?

Optimists (like ourselves) argue that the health sector is ripe for technology-driven change. The internet and related technology trends are enabling new business models and services, they are allowing consumers-patients to take a far more proactive role in taking care of their own health, and they have the potential of changing the way healthcare is practiced and organized. The optimists argue that  there is tremendous potential to create exciting new health services and to radically improve the healthcare system in terms of its effectiveness, its user-orientation and accessibility, and its cost-effectiveness. 

To what extent is this true for the European context? While the digital health scene is certainly becoming very dynamic in the United States (with numerous incubators and investors beginning to specialise in healthcare), can we talk about a similar trend in Europe? Are there enough technology entrepreneurs taking an interest in healthcare? Do more bridges need to be forged between the burgeoning digital startups scene and the healthcare sector? Is the healthcare sector ready to experiment with, and invest in, new more consumer-orientated technologies? What role can government and other stakeholders such as insurance play? Is there sufficient venture funding available? In sum, how can startups help drive innovation in European healthcare?

Our panel members:

Patrice Roulive is a co-Founder & COO of Telemis, a Medical Imaging company with a mission to extend human life. Telemis has 50 employees and is active in Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. Patrice started at Telemis as VP of R&D. He then moved to France to manage the local acquired company and develop it into a major player inthe French Healthcare market. Returning to Belgium he become COO of Telemis, being responsible for Sales, Services and R&D operations in all countries. Patrice is the founder of the Passionate People community and regularly mentors entrepreneurs through Microsoft Boostcamp, westartup or Mind&Market events.

Jan Van Emelen is director of strategic studies, innovation and communication at Onafhankelijke Ziekenfondsen (Independent Health Insurance Fund). Earlier, Jan has worked as a doctor in the tropics and he was the healthcare advisor in the Belgian Prime Minister’s cabinet (health insurance policy issues).



Peter Raeymaekers is Advisor Flanders’ Care at the Cabinet of Flemish minister of Welfare, Public Health and Family Affairs.  In addition, Peter is Spin-off Project Manager at KU Leuven.  Earlier, he was Venture Development Manager at IMEC. Peter has a Masters degree in Finance and an International MBA from the Vlerick Leuven-Ghent Management School.



Luk Schoonbaert is healthcare strategy manager at IT integrator Cegeka.  An experienced business developer, Luk has been involved with numerous technology ventures. From 1999 to 2003 he was senior investment manager for ICT startups at Belgacom. In 2003-4 he helped IOS, a venture capital (Stonefund) backed software company that is active in risk management field, to cross the chasm from R&D to commercialisation. In 2004 Luk returned to his roots in healthcare IT and joined PGP as COO. Since 2007 Luk has been with Cegeka, first as business unit and sales manager for Cegeka Healthcare and since 2010 as Strategy Manager.

Dirk Steel has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at Siemens. Over the course of the last 39 years he has worked in a wide variety of roles in several countries – including serving as CTO.  A technological visionary, he was involved with the Siemens foray into venture capital, and he retained a keen interest in startups.



After qualifying as a medical doctor, Vishal Gulati has been a professional life-sciences investor with over 10 years’ experience of investing in Europe, USA and India. Vishal is the founding partner at Radiant Capital (a cross border investment fund) and digitome (, a digital health innovation platform. Vishal is also an Adjunct Professor at Imperial College Business School where he lectures on entrepreneurship and on trends in the venture capital industry. Previously, Vishal was an investment manager at Atlas Venture, a  global fund with U.S. $ 2.2 billion under management, prior to which Vishal was an advisor to the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest research foundations.



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