Sheffield Hallam University reveals health-tech businesses set to join its accelerator programme

A Finnish start-up that delivers online postnatal exercise programmes to help new mothers recover safely after childbirth is part of the cohort of health businesses accepted onto Sheffield Hallam University’s latest Wellbeing Accelerator.

Nordic Fit Mama is one of 12 national and international SMEs set to receive up to £20,000 of support to accelerate product development and help bring new health products and services to market.

The flagship innovation programme, led by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, brokers academic expertise from across the University to deliver research and development support to businesses and leverages its network of over 90 experienced mentors.

It follows a successful inaugural Wellbeing Accelerator programme in 2020 which saw 28 businesses supported, including Sheffield-based sleep-tech start-up SleepCogni that recently raised more than $2million to commercialise into the US market.

The businesses accepted onto this year’s programme, which has been sponsored by investment and commercialisation specialists InterMedi Group, include:

  • SCALED, based in London, uses Computational Design to develop nature-inspired, custom-fit, flexible and protective material solutions to tackle injury prevention for healthy ageing
  • Nordic Fit Mama, based in Helsinki, delivering an online training programme with proven results to help mothers to recover safely after pregnancy and childbirth
  • Ventriject, based in Copenhagen, delivering a cost-effective, fast and reliable estimate of cardiorespiratory fitness, a strong indicator of overall health
  • Physiobuddie, based in Yorkshire, an innovative, secure digital-first service that provides its users with remote step-by-step progressive rehabilitation
  • DM Orthotics, based in Cornwall, designers and manufacturers of specialist orthoses that help to improve the lives of adults and children who face a range of neurological, neuro-muscular and musculoskeletal challenges
  • MindBehind gmbH, based in Cologne and Istanbul, develops intelligent virtual assistants powered by conversational AI to improve communication in multiple sectors. It aims to maximize its impact in the healthcare industry by building a chatbot to promote physical activity and enhance mental health
  • Hyivy Health Inc, based in Ontario, Canada, creates a pelvic rehabilitation system for the 1 in 3 women worldwide who will experience a pelvic health complication in their lifetime
  • Elecura, based in Sheffield, delivering an all-in-one business management platform for social care providers that enables and promotes a best-in-class and easily auditable service
  • Tellu, based in Oslo, developing digital health technologies that helps to make everyday life easier for employees in the home care service, in institutions, hospitals and nursing homes
  • THERAPHAbased in New York, is an AI enabled chatbot, designed to detect hidden clinical patterns to identify the best possible diagnosis.  It effectively performs differential diagnoses, triages spine pathologies, automates the subjective portion of clinical documentation in a narrative format, even before an in-person visit
  • Motion Exercise CIC, based in Sheffield, designing and remotely delivering interactive and inclusive exercise programmes tackling social isolation and increasing physical activity, amongst older adults
  • Active Orbit Limited, based in Sheffield, allowing individuals to track all their daily activity, uses behavioural science to encourage an active lifestyle and rewards them for the levels of activity they achieve and maintain

Zeezy Qureshi, CEO and co-founder of Motion Exercise CIC, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected to take part in the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator. Our mission with Motion Exercise is to empower older adults across the UK to live happy and healthy lives, through our tailored exercise programmes. The accelerator will be a fantastic opportunity for us to further evidence the impact our programmes have, develop our skills as a young team coming out of University and connect with experts across a variety of fields.”

Following the programme, the AWRC’s R&D for business team continues its support and works with the participants to develop collaborative grant funding applications. The University does not take equity or use state aid allowances, and the programme is fully funded by Sheffield Hallam University contributions and private sector sponsorship.

Ryan Sylvester, programme manager for the Wellbeing Accelerator, said: “The most interesting part of the programme for me is the application stage, seeing the breadth of talent and ingenuity in how applicants are finding ways to address challenges people face on an everyday basis, not least those living in South Yorkshire. The chosen companies are a great representation of the diverse cohort of impactful companies we were looking to bring together, and the team are looking forward to helping them achieve their goals in the UK.”

Jason Brannan, deputy director of the AWRC, said: “If we are to truly address the widening gap in health inequalities across the UK we must focus on the prevention of disease and the resilience of people, advanced wellbeing and physical activity have an important role to play in this, something that has been apparent throughout the Covid pandemic. These companies have a central role to play here and the AWRC Accelerator will support them in bringing their products to market.”

The AWRC is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move. Its mission is to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity – whilst also contributing to the creation of new jobs and attracting investment to the region.