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MOWOOT | Dr Markus Wilhelms | CEO and Co-founder

The future of healthcare is shaping up in front of our very eyes with advances in digital healthcare technology and nanotechnology. This rests in working hand-in-hand with technology, and healthcare workers have to embrace emerging healthcare technologies to stay relevant in the coming years.

In medicine and healthcare, digital technology could help transform unsustainable healthcare systems into sustainable ones, equalize the relationship between medical professionals and patients, and provide cheaper, faster, more effective solutions for diseases. Technologies could simply lead to healthier individuals living in healthier communities.

Leveraging the latest advancements, MOWOOT, a growth-stage medical device company has developed a medical device that stimulates the large intestine in a non-invasive way. It is also marketing a novel, purely physical, non-drug, and non-invasive solution to chronic intestinal transit disorders, such as neurogenic bowel disorders (NBD), opioid-induced constipation (OIC) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).

Under the proficient leadership of Dr Markus Wilhelms, CEO and Co-founder, MOWOOT has received the ‘FDA Breakthrough Device Designation’ for the critical impact on patients’ quality of life, which opens the door to the large US market.

In an interview with Insights Care, Dr Markus Wilhelms sheds light on the innovations empowered by MOWOOT in the healthcare industry.

Dr Wilhelms, please tell us about MOWOOT, its USPs and what makes it a successful company in the healthcare sector.

The multidisciplinary founder team of MOWOOT met in 2013 in the dHealth Barcelona program for ‘needs-driven innovation,’ a European version of Stanford University’s Biodesign program.

Applying innovation methodologies like design-thinking and based on over 500 patient interviews, the team developed a solution to a significant unmet need in bowel management in collaboration with leading neuro-rehabilitation hospital Institut Guttmann and constituted the company in November 2014. The MOWOOT device is now already available in several European markets and is even recommended in various clinical guidelines.

What are the core values upon which MOWOOT is built, and What is its vision and mission?

Since the beginning, the MOWOOT team has been guided by direct contact with patients and caregivers to develop and market our solution to solve an unmet need and improve the quality of life in patients with intestinal transit disorders.

What is your opinion on the necessity for the healthcare industry to leverage the emerging trends of technology to fulfil your client’s requirements in the healthcare industry?

Firstly, I’d state understanding the unmet need, including all relevant stakeholders, and finding the simplest possible solution is crucial. Simplicity is elegance. Innovation does not necessarily need to be complicated. However, if a simple and elegant approach includes an ‘emerging trend,’ then go for it.

What was your inspiration and commitment behind developing innovative healthcare products to improve people’s lives?

Our founder team consists of four people with different professional backgrounds. What we have in common is that we want to have a positive impact on the patients and also on society.

We firmly believe that to do so, to really reach as many people as possible, you not only need to have an innovative product but also implement it into a viable business model. Innovating in healthcare is one of the most difficult types of entrepreneurship, but we accepted the challenge!

As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare industry?

First, start with understanding the unmet need and its environment/stakeholders and do lots of interviews to learn about this. You will have to develop a quantifiable value proposition for your solution, taking all stakeholders’ needs into account (including payors, regulators, etc.) Apply the “scientific method” to business creation: build > measure > learn (repeat)

Nowadays, there are very well-developed tools available to guide novice entrepreneurs in their healthcare adventure, for example, the GAITS system by CIMIT in Boston. I wish we would have had access to this type of tool when we started—highly recommended!

What are your future goals, and how do you envision further strengthening the stronghold of MOWOOT in the healthcare sector?

We plan to enter the public healthcare reimbursement in several EU markets regarding business development. Moreover, market entry in the USA is the next natural step for MOWOOT. Regarding products, we are working on a pediatric version of our device to answer a market pulled by many parents and caregivers who contacted us.

Please give us a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

Among 23 companies, in an extraordinary all-digital Redefining Early-Stage Investments -RESI- conference edition, MOWOOT was voted as the ‘Best Medical Device Company’ of the event and achieved second place in the overall rating of the most voted company.

MOWOOT received the seal of approval “Impact Business” for start-ups with social impact after a thorough analysis by the Ship2B foundation in the framework of their Tech4Health acceleration program.

MOWOOT is the winner of the Best Overall Company Award (1st place) as the company with the most votes of all three categories (MedTech, biotech and digital health) of the European Health Catapult at the EIT Health Summit in London.

European Health Catapult is an acceleration program and start-up competition. It awards the best-of-the-best innovation concepts from MedTech, biotech, and digital health across Europe. MOWOOT is the winner of the Audience Award (1st place) in the MedTech category of the European Health Catapult at the EIT Health Summit in London.

MOWOOT also achieved second place in the Healthcare Professional Jury awards in the MedTech category of the European Health Catapult at the EIT Health Summit in London.