UK health tech start-ups offered accelerator funding

Start-up accelerator Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, is teaming up with global healthcare company Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd (MSD) to support new digital health innovators.

It’s the third year that the partners have run Velocity Health, which aims to accelerate start-ups so that they can meet the healthcare challenges facing the NHS.

For 2018, Velocity Health is seeking start-ups using technology to help support disease and illness prevention, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Two start-ups will each be offered up to £68,000 investment in funding and acceleration services such as access to a network of mentors, coaches and investors. This is expected to enable the firms to develop innovative products and services that help deliver savings and efficiencies to the healthcare system.

The support will also include office space within Wayra UK’s new acceleration facility in Central London, potential access to Telefónica’s customer base of more than 300 million people, and MSD and Wayra’s local and global networks.

“The NHS has made digital excellence the cornerstone of its future model and we must embrace this if we are to have a healthcare system fit for the 21st Century,” said Dr Junaid Bajwa, director of Healthcare Services at MSD.

Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future (UK), added: “Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are changing our lives in ways never previously thought possible, and it makes sense for us to seek brilliant entrepreneurs who can harness the power of data to improve the NHS and healthcare services globally, potentially transforming the lives of billions.”

Applications are open until 4 January 2018.

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