The State Of Financial Aid For HealthTech In Luxembourg

Carole Brückler, Head of Digital Health Technologies at the Ministry of the Economy (Photo © SIP)

As the population ages, the prevalence of chronic disease increases, recruitment of medical professionals becomes more challenging, and pressure on national health systems across Europe intensifies. These are the driving factors behind the current boom in the HealthTech sector.

To support this sector’s growth, the EU has launched several programmes including EU4Health through which it plans to invest €5.3bn between 2021-27. One of its objectives is to strengthen health systems by reinforcing health data and the digital transformation of healthcare. The programme provides funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries.

Public funding options in Luxembourg

On an individual country level, many governments are increasingly investing in the health sector, and Luxembourg is no different. According to Carole Brückler, Head of Digital Health Technologies at the Ministry of the Economy, “the opportunity to create a better society is nowhere more striking than in healthcare. If we as a country choose not to contribute to this development through public research, and also private innovation, then someone else will do this. And we might not receive products that reflect our values.” 

As a result, there are several funding initiatives available to HealthTech startups in Luxembourg. In April 2021 the Ministry of Economy, the National Research Fund (FNR) and Luxinnovation announced a Joint Call for HealthTech Projects which aimed to stimulate collaborative research projects in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs). Earlier this year, four PPP projects were announced. In total, €6.1m has been budgeted for these projects, with almost 75% (€4.5m) coming from the Ministry of Economy and FNR. A second Joint Call HealthTech will open early 2023

The projects chosen in 2022 include LuxAI, who develop robots that assist in the education of children with autism. According to their COO, Aida Nazari, “These financial support frameworks have allowed us to increase the size of the team and invest on our scale phase.” ViewMind, a digital health and AI company that provides clinically validated solutions for precision diagnostics of neurocognitive disorders, was also selected. As its CEO & Co-founder, Mark Edwards, explains: “these initiatives have enabled us to accelerate investment in ViewMind S.à.r.l. in pursuit of the European market place.”

“If we as a country choose not to contribute to this development…then someone else will.”

Carole Brückler, Head of Digital Health Technologies at the Ministry of the Economy

Fit 4 Start for HealthTech startups

Another initiative open to local or international startups (with a Luxembourg presence) is Fit 4 Start, organised by Luxinnovation. Through this, startups can receive €150K along with mentorship. Jean-Philippe Arié, HealthTech Cluster Manager at Luxinnovation, highlights that “as health technologies are one of the key sectors in Luxembourg, a dedicated HealthTech track was introduced in 2018 to support local startups in this area and attract international ventures in the domain to grow out of Luxembourg.”

To date, winners have included Talkii – a communication tool for people with special needs – Wavy Health – an app that helps people with heart conditions manage symptoms of stress – and VoiceMed – a tool to monitor respiratory health via a smartphone. HealthTech startups for the latest edition of Fit 4 Start have already been selected.

Other sources of financial aid

In addition to government aid specifically targeting HealthTech startups, there is also more generic financial support. For example, subsidies to cover up to 100% of costs relating to R&D projects (e.g., payroll, equipment, building expenses etc). Financial aid of up to €400K is also available for any small company that has been established in Luxembourg for less than five years and who has growth potential. Finally, aside from public funding, HealthTech startups can benefit from private investment through business angels or venture capital that is available in Luxembourg. Both Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN) and Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LPEA) are looking to invest in the sector.

This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Get your copy.

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