• : Jacklyne Vargas

RIIC and MedMates host event on digital health innovation and opportunities for collaboration with I


Government officials/representatives, corporate leaders, investors and entrepreneurs from Rhode Island and Israel gathered at the Brown Community Collaborative in Downtown Providence on February 26, 2018 to discuss developments in digital health and opportunities for collaboration with MindUP, an Israeli digital health incubator. Government officials and representatives in attendance were Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island Daniel J. McKee and Director of Economic Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel to New England, Austin Sedaghatpour. The event, organized by the Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC) and MedMates, RI’s life sciences industry network group, brought together innovators, experts and various stakeholders in digital health in a lively discussion of emerging technologies and opportunities for research and development locally and abroad.

In his opening remarks, Avi Nevel, President CEO and founder of the RIIC, emphasized the unique opportunities available for business, academia and research through RI-Israel relationships. As evidence of this special relationship, Mr. Nevel cited how Israel has established the “first country chamber of commerce in Rhode Island” and described relations between RI and Israel as a proven “win-win.”

Rhode Island and Israeli government representatives alike echoed the excitement on furthering RI-Israeli relationships. Lieutenant Governor McKee emphasized the need for RI to be “interacting and participating with global markets” and summed up the prospects for further RI-Israeli collaboration as such: “the more connections we can make and the more stories we are able to hear, the better opportunity we have for our state to thrive.” Mr. Sedaghatpour from the Israeli Consulate in Boston emphasized how “digital health is very important to the Israeli ecosystem” by citing recent visits from Israeli delegations to the US. Israeli entrepreneurs and innovators are looking “not only for investment opportunities in digital health but for collaboration and to partner with industry throughout New England.”

Carol Malysz, Executive Director of MedMates spoke briefly about MindUP, its activities in RI and their great interest in collaborating with Israeli counterparts in digital health and life science and mentioned the potential opportunities for these Israeli digital health companies to come to Rhode Island which has a significant base in academia on the subject.

Carol then introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Dan Shwarzman, CEO of MindUP, a proven leader in the global healthcare technology industry for over 15 years, with experience spanning Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. to Israeli start-ups. Shwarzman began by emphasizing the need for consistently evolving innovations in digital health and described the current global trends of healthcare as going from “being reactive to being proactive, from one-size-fits-all to individualized, from centered in hospital centers to being more home-centered.”

Shwarzman positioned MindUP as a necessary “hub of digital health innovation” that will support companies at the forefront of such innovations: “changes in healthcare around the world require us to find solutions that will make healthcare better, safer and cheaper. MindUp is supporting organizations and solutions that will enable that.” Beyond networking, MindUP also provides funding for the research and development of medical innovations. Given how digital health has been a main area of investment in Israel, Shwarzman welcomed the audience to take advantage of the “vibrant

environment that is being bred for digital health investment in Israel.” Not only are digital health innovations timely investments in Israel, but they are substantively backed with the resources to enable their creation, distribution and use.

The audience, made up of local New England and Israeli innovators, investors, lawyers, researchers and others working in digital health, dialogued with Shwarzman on the extent of support offered by MindUP and the Israeli government. Shwarzman highlighted how the Incubators Program of the Israel Innovation Authority, which MindUP is part of, was started by the Israeli government. For MindUP, this has meant that 85% of the over US $700,000 they provide to each company in their incubator is funded by the government. Beyond financial support, MindUP provides administrative, legal and technological support. Shwarzman assuaged audience members that MindUP not only provides funding but is held accountable for companies meeting their milestones and using their funding wisely: “We have designed the incubator to provide them access, technology, network and more in order to make them more successful.”

After lively discussion and questions from those in attendance, Shwarzman concluded his presentation by showcasing proven successes of companies part of MindUP’s incubator. One example is Hemonitor Medical, a company that has developed a noninvasive “AI-enabled autonomous wearable ultrasound for continuous and non-invasive clinical monitoring.” This heart monitor allows for hands-free use of ultrasound through “automatic detection, tracking and assessment of significant clinical parameters” in real time. Meant for critically-ill patients in intensive care, Hemonitor provides a non-invasive and continuous measurement of cardiac output.

This event was organized by the Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC) and MedMates as part of a joint effort to bring together RI and Israeli stakeholders in digital health with leaders—such as MindUP—who can affect change in supporting innovations that make healthcare better, cheaper and safer both locally and abroad. The RIIC is a non-profit dedicated to enabling business, academia and research exchange of mutual benefit to Rhode Island and Israeli communities and economies. MedMates is dedicated to enabling collaboration between med-tech companies, hospitals, universities, sources of capital and governmental partners in Rhode Island.

For more information on the Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative and MedMates, visit www.theriic.org and www.medmates.org.


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