June 14, 2024

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Alberta Innovates launches new program to connect healthtech startups with early adopters, investors

IDEATE is being supported by a $2.1-million investment from PrairiesCan.

A new Alberta program is looking to connect healthtech startups, founders, and technology developers with early adopters and investors.

Innovative Digital Engagement and Tech Evaluation in Alberta (IDEATE), launched by Alberta Innovates, is a digital platform that aims to help healthtech startup founders and inventors learn about their future target markets, ultimately helping them reduce risk and secure early investment. IDEATE is specifically focused on digital health technologies, such as mobile applications and wearables.

The program is being supported by a $4.25-million investment from Alberta Innovates and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), the federal government’s regional development agency for the Prairies. PrairiesCan has contributed $2.1 million.

In order to register to be an “innovator” on the platform, founders, developers and entrepreneurs can register on the IDEATE website, and are then connected to an Alberta Innovates program manager, who will verify that the applicant’s technology meets the ethical and technical requirements of the platform. Innovators can then make a customized product page that investors and evaluators can view.

IDEATE also allows the public to be involved in the development of products on the platform through testing, though according to its website, the platform does not directly collect any personal health data.

One startup currently using the IDEATE platform is Edmonton-based Wound3, which is looking to turn mobile devices into precision 3D medical scanners for wound management. In a statement, Alberta Innovates said the IDEATE program is helping co-founders Connor Povoledo and Jacob Damant find both testers and validators for their wound management product.

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According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Canada lags other nations in adopting and commercializing novel health technologies, partly due to the country’s regulatory environment, which some founders say causes issues in procurement. Some Canadian healthtech startups have opted to launch their products south of the border and bypass Canada’s healthcare system altogether.

Several initiatives have been launched in recent years to address the often lengthy time to market for Canadian healthtech startups, including the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network, which last year became available across the entire country. Similar to the structure of the IDEATE program, the CAN Health Network connects businesses developing medical technologies with hospitals, healthcare providers, and other potential buyers.

“Through IDEATE, our government is enabling small- and medium-sized technology firms in Alberta’s life sciences sector to navigate regulatory requirements and validate the effectiveness of their digital health technologies in clinical settings—both of which are key to commercializing new medical applications and strengthening the sustainability and long-term competitiveness of the Prairie economy,” Dan Vandal, Canada’s minister for PrairiesCan, said in a statement.

Feature image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Testalize.me.


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