THREE of the world's biggest companies have got together to back Ireland's first digital health company incubator.
"Healthcare is the world's biggest problem," said Martin Kelly, an adviser to Health XL and partner with IBM Venture Capital Group. "In America 20 per cent of GDP is going to be spent on healthcare, but technology lags behind. There is a big opportunity."
Kelly said Health XL plans to select 10 start-ups from Ireland, America and Europe for its first three-month intensive incubation programme in Dublin. "Ireland has a big advantage as we have all the biggest healthcare companies in the world here as well as the biggest tech ones," he added.
Last weekend Health XL ran a "check-up" weekend for medical entrepreneurs, and next Tuesday it will launch the "Healthies", awards for Irish digital healthcare, where Ken Morse, a co-founder of 3Com, will be keynote speaker.
Enterprise Ireland, Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Strepsils and Personal Health Solutions, a Dutch investment firm, are also supporters of the programme which plans to help springboard 10 early stage business ideas into fully-fledged start-ups. XL hopes to run its first start-up programme on February 26.
Four leading entrepreneurs are on board as directors of the new programme: Johnny Walker, founder of Global Diagnostics; Eoghan Jennings, a co-founder of Startupbootcamp; Conor Hanley, chief executive of BiancaMed and Jim Joyce, chief executive of Point of Care.