DigitalWell GovTech Incubator has passed Vinnova's review and received the excellent incubator quality seal. This means, among other things, that the business becomes part of the national incubator programme. At the same time, a path is chosen where the incubator is completely niched towards business with the public sector.
The restructuring means the start of Sweden's first dedicated incubator program for GovTech. The business is spun off from DigitalWell Ventures' accelerator, which since its inception has functioned as both an incubator and accelerator. The accelerator program will now be more purely to support the companies whose digital health services are closest to a market introduction, where the emphasis is, among other things, on financing and scaling.
The DigitalWell GovTech Incubator, is entirely focused on supporting companies that address the public sector, and that are in a development phase. According to Lina Svensberg, Operations Manager for the incubator, this customer group makes demands that clearly affect the companies' business models.
- It often involves long development and validation processes when doing business with the public sector. The business logic, centered around public procurement, also places other demands on the companies.
Market that can grow in a recession
Even if the path to success in this segment is more complex, it is at least as interesting from a business perspective, Lina Svensberg believes. She also thinks that to some extent there has been a lack of knowledge and tools regarding doing business with the public sector in the incubation sphere.
- I think this market will become more important in the future. To a greater extent, the public sector needs to lead the transition towards increased sustainability and needs to expand cooperation with innovative companies. For the companies, this is particularly interesting in a worse economy, when the public sector as a customer and development partner will gain increased importance.
Lina Svensberg and some of the main characters in the incubator's ecosystem. Mari Banck, development manager at Region Värmland, who is a key person for testing in a real environment. Bottom right, Thomas Wernerheim, Ann-Sophie Gustafsson and Per Danielsson, who made up an important part of the work with the demand accelerator.
There are currently six companies in the incubator program. Their services focus on, among other things, mental illness, maternity care and training efforts in healthcare. Several of the companies have experience from other incubators or accelerators, but need to deal with specific challenges in the public sector - so that their services become marketable and can be useful.
- For example, it can be about security aspects, utility calculations, tests in a real environment or other forms of interaction with the public sector. We can never guarantee a test in the public sector within the framework of the program, but we can prepare the company, provide important input and through our processes ensure that their services have the conditions to create value for users, and be safe and secure for customers, says Lina Svensberg.
Supports both sides
The need for increased support and cooperation is also found in the public sector. Lina Svensberg has recently led a unique procurement with the support of DigitalWell Arena's demand accelerator. The municipality of Karlstad initially procured seven companies to create a new, digital service for the training of healthcare personnel in collaboration with the municipality. The company that finally won the tender, Virotea, is one of the companies in the DigitalWell GovTech Incubator.
Without support for both sides in the innovation and procurement process, the service would probably never have been created, Lina Svensberg says.
- If the public sector is to be able to drive innovation and solve important societal challenges, the basic structures in how they and the companies do business need to be improved, of which the demand accelerator is a part.
Receipt for the business
The status as "excellent incubator" means that DigitalWell GovTech Incubator gets access to government funding for two years. The comprehensive review Vinnova has made of processes, support services, networks - and not least the quality of the companies - provides both energy and confirmation, Lina Svensberg thinks:
- It is proof that what we do in the DigitalWell Arena is at the highest national level. It has also been a developing process to apply to the national incubator program - which raised our possibilities to support the development of innovative and socially beneficial services one step further.
The companies in the DigitalWell GovTech Incubator:
Momentus, Birth By Heart Tech, Lumeno, Inother/My Diabetes, PhysAct, Virotea
The term GovTech refers to the public sector's use of emerging technologies and digital products and services from startups and SMEs – rather than relying on large systems integrators. There are many definitions of the term GovTech, but most include the following three elements:
- The public sector collaborates with startups and small and medium-sized enterprises
- The collaboration should result in the procurement of innovative, technical solutions
- The purpose of these new products and services is to innovate and improve public services