08 Nov WINNER: Vitrue Health “The Start-Up Series will help us improve the quality of life of millions of people”
Founders: Shane Lowe and Alex Haslehurst
Company: Vitrue Health
Description: Develops technology to assess patients with musculoskeletal difficulties
Can you tell me a bit about your business background?
We’re a team of physiotherapists, scientists and engineers developing technology to empower clinicians to more accurately assess their musculoskeletal patients.
As founders Alex and I both come from technical backgrounds. She has a masters in mechanical engineering from Cambridge and has worked in a wide range of medical technology fields from MRI magnets to point of care diagnostics. I have a PhD in prediction of functional health based on motor function and have worked in computer vision for human motion capture and blood diagnostic devices.
Together with our team, we’re developing advanced digital health technology to detect, assess and predict issues with patient musculoskeletal health. We’re currently part of the Techstars 2019 accelerator program and are preparing to launch our product in the coming weeks.
Where did the idea for the business come from? Was there a moment or experience that made you feel a need for it?
The business idea came from a conversation my co-founder and I had with a mutual friend. She’s an occupational therapist and was telling us about the difficulties she faces in her job. As engineers, we were naturally interested in what technology was doing to help.
We were completely blown away to find that the most advanced technology available to her day to day was the stopwatch on her phone, despite the fact that arguably her field of medicine has one of the biggest impacts on a patient’s quality of life.
This is naturally a hugely complex problem. However, as a team we have all the required expertise across the broad range of fields required to fix it
What is the business’ USP?
Vitrue develops technology to assess patients with musculoskeletal difficulties. Anything from recovery from hip surgery to a torn ligament.
We do this by tracking a patient’s body movements during an assessment by a physiotherapist. The type of body tracking technology we use has been around for years (in fact as a team we’ve worked for the world leaders in the area).
However tracking the patient’s movement is only the very first step. The real value comes when you develop software to interpret this raw data into information that is clinically actionable and that can easily be explained to the patient to engage them in their own care all while fitting into existing clinical practice. That is extremely difficult to do and it is Vitrue’s USP.
Why did you enter the Start-Up Series competition?
Knowing Paul and Matthew and their expertise gave us confidence that they would provide valuable insights and support outside of purely the finance, which is key when choosing an investor.
How did you find the ‘deep dive’ with Worth Capital?
We’ve had several in depth conversations with Worth and always found them extremely useful. Though as a digital health company we have different challenges to many startups, the Worth team have an amazing ability to help us break them down into similar issues as any other business with associated ways to tackle them. Our meetings with Worth have always been a really helpful way to do that.
How do you feel about winning the competition?
Of course we are ecstatic to have won the competition. We founded the company to improve the quality of life of millions of people living with musculoskeletal conditions. This competition was a key step on the road to doing that!
A lot of businesses entered – what do you think made your business stand out and win?
We’re solving a massive, complex and rapidly growing problem. This is hugely exciting, but you also need a huge amount of drive and the right expertise to win backing – we’re a young but highly experienced team that have the advanced and varied skills we need to do it across areas like biomechanics and computer vision that uniquely place us to solve this issue and really make us stand out.
What stage is the business at currently?
We are preparing to launch our first product into the market with some elite physiotherapy and health screening clinics in the next couple of months. We’ve already signed up some of the UK’s leading providers and are in the process of expanding that launch group.
What do you plan to use the Start-Up Series investment for?
This investment allowed us to grow our technical and clinical teams to the point we needed to launch our product. We’ve already brought on some amazing engineers and a fantastic Clinical Lead.
Finally, what’s your ultimate vision for the business?
Ultimately our goal is to provide the gold standard assessment for treatment of any musculoskeletal condition anywhere in the world.