Berlin’s healthcare startup scene — Week 1


Berlin’s startup scene is getting closer and closer to Silicon Valley; It is one of the main hubs in Europe, attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world. Filled with young talented individuals taking a leap of faith, dropping everything to pursue their dreams.

Berlin’s startup accelerators play a big role in this ecosystem. With connections to media, strong ties to corporates hungry for innovation and access to capital, it is becoming a dream target for a lot of early stage startups.

Together with 9 other startups we are part of the digital health Berlin scene, a StartupBootcamp vertical lead by fearless and intelligent Juliane. Similar to silicon valley, the number of daring entrepreneurs wanting to change the healthcare industry is low. Europe’s digital health scene is under rapid growth though with communities like FrontiersHealth and Health2.0 dedicating efforts to bringing more innovation to the industry.

Emergency vehicle in Hannover

German healthcare unlike U.S is not confusing, it is affordable and it just works. Unlike us in United States, they don’t have to constantly calculate co-pays and out of pocket costs. They don’t get harassing calls from insurance telling them their treatment is not covered and poor and rich get the same service.

Personalized and precision medicine is slowly finding its way to Europe and new innovations are helping it bring the costs down and increase the quality of care.

Preventive care however is not big here, perhaps the quality of food is better than US with less hormones and sugar.

Mental health care has a giant stigma here in Germany and you thought there was stigma in US!! United States is stigma free compared to here! There is no place for thoughts and feelings, part of why burnout is such a huge issue here. It is a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, people in need of support don’t have a lot of options and the number of qualified therapists is pretty low given the population. Wait time to see a therapist seems to be close to 3 months in most cases. A lot can happen in that 3 month!

Insurance companies are the biggest players and they own 90% of the market, it is about 130 of them. 10% is owned by the private sector. Telemedicine is illegal in Germany if doctor and patient have not met in person. There are now new startups wanting to change this and push the boundaries of the health care protocols.