Upgraded Life Festival 18 - Ambitious about changing global health

Photo credit Upgraded Life Festival

Upgraded Life Festival (ULF) is an annual highlight in the Nordic health tech calendar that aims to connect startup pioneers by partnering them with established healthcare powerhouses. This year’s event in Helsinki was no exception, with visitors including startups, industry insiders, investors, public sector experts and academic researchers.

Organised by Upgraded, the Health Startup Association of Finland, ULF further consolidates Helsinki’s position as a world-leading hub for health innovation, with the city being home to over 300 life science companies (whose combined revenue exceeds $1.5 billion USD).

Nightingale was proud to feature as one of the companies invited to showcase its innovative technology at ULF 18, with Nightingale’s CEO, Teemu Suna, participating in a keynote panel discussion. Entitled “How to invest 20 million?,” the session touched upon Lauri Sippola (Kaiku Health's CEO) and Teemu’s insights and experience in utilising early-stage investments to accelerate future business growth. When asked about what advice should be given to health startups in Finland, Teemu replied that he only had one word – ambition.

“People like to talk about technology developed in Finland because it’s among the very best in the world. Outside of Finland however, some people can fail to believe in these innovations as the companies that developed them don't back them up with enough ambition,” Teemu added. “Evidence generation is vital to success in the life sciences. You must be able to provide the evidence that proves your technology works, along with an emotional commitment that can convincingly explain why your technology is important to society.”

Some of the other highlights from ULF 18 included:

  • Professor Shafi Ahmed demonstrated how virtual reality tech can be incorporated into medical training for surgeons to practice on before operating on patients. 
  • Dr Elena Bulanova discussed how in the near future astronauts will use bio-printers to print 3D micro-organs in space to support their mission as space-printed cells have more advanced growth potential and are physically less restricted. 
  • Eric Friedman described how nurses, coaches and technology are significant drivers of change in healthcare, creating more touchpoints for engagement. 
  • Nelli Lähteenmäki provided tips on how to sustainably improve our quality of life by reducing cognitive load through micro-actions (for example turning off mobile phone notifications).
  • Professor Alf Rehn gave a thought-provoking talk on the current lack of ambition in health technology innovation (echoing Teemu’s comments) and the failure to prioritise improving basic standards of health in developing countries.