Why now is a good time to start following Nordic healthtech events?

This guest post is written by Bogdana Gamburg, the coordinator of Finnish health & wellness startup association HealthSPA.

This year’s March was extremely eventful in terms of coming outs: Apple has announced a CareKIT, Google DeepMind has revealed its health activities, Microsoft started shipping of HoloLens plus reveals Seeing AI, ongoing research project which aims to make the lives of a blind people easier. It seems that most of the major tech giants have been hiding something in their closet and more surprises should be expected. The technology evolution boom which has started from transportation is finally becoming a mainstream in healthcare as well.

Why should we care about this? First of all, the trend has become obvious. Everyone is interested in health. There has been rumors about Nokia ambitions in health, so the wave of big companies trying to engage with health sector is definitely coming.

Moreover, based on the latest report by Finnish Health Technology Association Finnish health technology exports continue to grow with by 6.6% compared to the year before and currently reaches nearly 2 billion euros. In the past 20 years the industry grew five-fold. US is still the biggest exporter of health tech in the world, but it’s good to have big goals.

At the same time, a relatively fresh field of digital health is becoming more explicitly visible in the international arena as well. There has been some buzz about the state of European Digital Health, not to mention Finnish digital health. We have heard about the success of NetMedi, MeeDoc, Blueprint Genetics, Oura, and we are keeping fingers crossed for Blooming.io and many other startups. Besides, thanks to SLUSH and other community efforts, local public sector have never been as cooperative and welcoming to startups as nowadays.

In order to stay at the same page with the latest innovations in the sector, follow the hottest startups and breakthroughs and connect with rising stars, we have curated a shortlist of Nordic events. This is our guide for you to navigate in health and wellness environment.

Upgraded Life Festival (Helsinki, Finland)

Upgraded Life Festival (May 31st) is the biggest health startup event in the Nordics. It is purely community-driven and organised by Finnish health startup association HealthSPA alongside with multiple partners.

The idea behind the event is to gather the whole health and wellness ecosystem: startups, tech community, healthcare professionals, public sector and big industry players. This is clearly the right place to attend if one wants to see the latest innovations in health from the Nordics. In the past three years the amount of attendees tripled. This year 1000+ participants and 70+ exhibitors are expected.

Why to attend: See the latest health & wellness innovations in action, engage with community; if you are a startup – to get a medical feedback to your solution and find partners and collaborators

Nordic Health Investment Day (Helsinki, Finland)

Nordic Health Investment Day (June 1st) is a comprehensive matchmaking event bringing together investors, accelerators, large corporations and media with innovative startups seeking funding and internationalization. It’s the only event of this kind in the region, which focuses specifically on health, life sciences and well­being.

Why to attend: To get an overview of the health investment scene, participate in pitching to health investors, hear reverse pitching by the biggest corporations working in health and get a very pragmatic, targeted matchmaking

Arctic15 (Helsinki, Finland)

One of the most active tech blogs in Nordics and Baltics is pulling of a super-efficient matchmaking conference Arctic15 (June 2nd-3rd). The event will offer plenty of opportunities for making valuable business contacts. Apart from keynotes and dealroom, which is the main thing here, there is going to be wellness related content as well, demo booths of startups demonstrating their products.

Why to attend: To get top-notch networking. Arctic15 has earned it’s reputation as the best matchmaking event in the region. Not so heavy on health, but definitely worth visiting if you are looking for investors or partners in other industries as well.

The Bridge (Lund, Sweden)

The Bridge (June 22nd-23rd) is uniting both researchers and business professionals in order to solve global problems and make the world more sustainable place. The core topics include health, energy and tackling poverty.

Why to attend: to get acquainted with businesses and research groups interested in impact projects

Nordic Life Science Days (Stockholm, Sweden)

Nordic Life Science Days (September 14th-15th) is the largest life science investor and partnering meeting in the Nordic region with the focus on biotech and pharma.

Why to attend: Even though medtech and ehealth are making less than 10% of the all attendees, this event might be suitable for companies seeking for Nordic collaborations with a mastodons of the traditional health industry.

Digital Health Days (Stockholm, Sweden)

Digital Health Days (September 21st-22nd) is where ICT meets healthcare to shape the future. Gathers together in the same place you’ll find patients, tax payers, healthcare providers, decision-makers, politicians, visionaries, techies, pioneers and entrepreneurs.

Why to attend: Quite a few of European unicorns are coming from Sweden, but none of them has been from health scene. Maybe you’ll see the next one to be born here?

Slush (Helsinki, Finland)

Slush (November 30th – December 1st) is one of the biggest tech startup events in Northern Europe. Every November, in the darkest season of the year Slush draws entrepreneurs, investors, students from all around the world. Last year Slush brought together 15,000 attendees, including 1,700 startups, 800 venture capital investors and 630 journalists from exactly 100 countries.

Why to attend: Unique festival experience and a possibil
ity to meet a lot of players from USA, Asia and other rare guests in Nordic hoods.

The field is quite dynamic, new health hubs and accelerators are starting to pop up and this especially visible in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Consolidation and united effort is also becoming more visible. There is currently a lot of developments happening on all the levels of ecosystem and what we see is definitely a momentum for the Nordics health startup community which is quite interesting to keep an eye on.

Do you know any other interesting Nordic health events we should add on the list? Please share your tips with us.

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