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DayOne Accelerator wants to improve lives for patients

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Lucas Scherdel, director of the DayOne Accelerator in Basel Area.

Deborah Johnson reports on the DayOne Accelerator, Switzerland’s engine room of health innovation and enterprise

As a globally-recognised centre of health tech innovation, the Basel Area is a key location for driving the sector forward, with its influence felt across Europe and, increasingly, the wider world.

While digital-driven solutions are playing an ever-more central role in healthcare, with technology largely being the engine of ongoing development in the industry, the fragmentation seen across Europe has long been cited as restriction to its potential.

But through the creation of the DayOne Accelerator, both as a forum to help unite the continent’s sector and key leaders within in, while offering opportunities for early-stage healthtech businesses to thrive, this has paved the way for a more joined-up ecosystem with Basel at the heart.

DayOne’s support of ventures in the four years it has been in operation has enabled its previous intakes to thrive – indeed, they are now collectively valued at over 65 million Francs – and has positioned the accelerator as the biggest and most established programme of its kind in Switzerland.

With the upcoming programme beginning in January now open for entries – companies helping to devise solutions in the pain management space are sought – the opportunity exists for seed-stage through to Series A healthtech businesses to become part of the DayOne community.

The three-month intensive programme, which will offer spending some time in Basel but would not necessitate full relocation, will also see DayOne make a cash injection of up to 50,000 Francs into each business as part of its commitment to support ventures practically and financially.

 And for Lucas Scherdel, director of DayOne, the ambition of the accelerator itself makes it an ideal environment for aspiring healthtechs to be part of.

“We’ve started from the grassroots, we started as a group of people who thought the industry could be doing better and we have evolved into a leading accelerator supporting digital health ventures,” he says.

“We’ve had substantial fundraising in the past 6 months to support our companies which is really exciting and will help us to help the businesses, and also for us to reach the level we want to.”

“Our ambition is to be the Rock Health of Europe.  We want to be on the international stage, where people immediately think of us as a great opportunity for their company.”

“There are a lot of good accelerators around the world but we are in a unique position being in the global biopharma hub in Basel, which is world-leading. We are on a journey and are looking for really great companies to come on the journey with us.”

With commitment to addressing some of the most prevalent issues in health through its accelerator, for 2022, DayOne is concentrating on pain management – a fast-growing issue globally and significant cost to healthcare in many economies.

 “Digital is a really promising area of innovation in what is an extremely relevant challenge, to try and improve the lives of people with chronic pain,” says Lucas Scherdel.

“We know it’s an enormous problem but we see the potential of companies to make a difference there. It is an amazing opportunity to change lots of people’s lives for the better and give them better access to quality healthcare through digital solutions.

“We also have a great network of industry leaders who recognise this is a major problem and see the need for digital innovation in this space.”

Being part of the DayOne Accelerator means access to expert support and mentoring, alongside the opportunity to become part of the renowned Basel Area healthtech community.

“People don’t often know that most of the money spent in pharma and medtech in Europe goes through Basel at some point, it’s a really exciting place to be based. We have a strong and buzzing industry here which is transforming quickly,” says Lucas Scherdel.

“And by being part of this great DayOne community, which is a lively group of people in a really cool innovative space to work, you can be part of a really flourishing scene. Companies grow quickly, every couple of months or so there are offices which are adding more and more people, you can watch and see these companies growing.”

“The chance to be part of this new wave of healthcare companies is very exciting.”

DayOne is an initiative of Basel Area Business & Innovation, the investment and innovation promotion agency dedicated to helping companies, institutions and startups find business success in the Basel Area.

* The DayOne Accelerator is now open for applications for 2022. For more details or to apply, visit here www.dayone.swiss/what-we-do/acceleration/

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