Join the Merck Accelerator: All about the Programs in Darmstadt and Nairobi

By Editor
  Published 10 Nov 2016
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(This is a sponsored post via Merck)

Are you working on a technology to solve an issue in the health industry? Then read on to learn about the Merck Accelerator. As of October 17, the Merck Accelerator is searching for new startups to join their programs in Darmstadt (Germany) and Nairobi (Kenya). If you’re a startup in healthcare, digital health, life science, or performance materials apply now for the Merck Accelerator. Kenya: Germany:

What awaits you at the Merck Accelerator?

The Merck Accelerator program takes place in two locations with different thematic orientations. While the program in Darmstadt focuses on supporting business ideas in the fields of life science, performance materials and healthcare, the accelerator in Nairobi turns its attention to technologies in the digital health sector. Both accelerators specialize in supporting teams in the early stages of their developments, and the programs last three months. Financial support of up to € 50,000 in the Darmstadt Accelerator and up to US$ 30,000 in Nairobi is not the only way Merck assists startups. As a science and technology company, Merck provides the teams with insights and intra-company materials as well as knowledge from a worldwide pool of over 50,000 experts and scientists. What makes this accelerator special is the aspect of individual mentoring and coaching from Merck’s experts, which guarantees that every startup receives support in their area of focus.

In order to create an environment that enables teams to successfully develop their technologies, the accelerator in Darmstadt offers office spaces in the Merck Innovation Center and the Nairobi Accelerator startups receive entry to Metta Nairobi, a space for entrepreneurs and support networks to meet, discuss and learn. For select globally minded teams, there is also the chance to extend the program for one more month in Silicon Valley. After the three-month program, each startup has access to the Merck Accelerator Alumni network with continuous support from Merck.

So what are you still waiting for? –  You can find more information regarding the application for Nairobi here and for Darmstadt here. The application period ends December 19. It doesn’t matter where your startup is from, what matters most is the concept and the passion behind it. The Merck Accelerator is a program welcoming innovative ideas in healthcare, life science and performance materials from all of the world.

It’s your turn - Startups solving the world’s biggest challenges

Due to progressing digitalization, there are many new opportunities emerging in the health industry. Young entrepreneurs have the potential to build smart solutions in record time. Startups have the flexibility and agility that is needed to bring digitalization into the health industry. Merck is aware of the huge potential startups have, and uses the industry knowledge and experience they have gained since 1668 to help startups innovate and succeed. Both sides, startups and the traditional corporates, are complementing each other through their collaboration. As of now, the Merck Accelerator has supported 16 teams from places like New York, Tel Aviv and Ghana, all covering a wide variety of topics. Some of the accelerator participants clearly reflect how startups can have real impacts on the world:

Let’s take a look at Matibabu, a startup from the first intake, who is tackling the problem of malaria diagnosis.

In Africa, access to hospitals is anything but easy. To see a doctor, one often has to travel for hours, streets are bad and appointments may be expensive. So unless it is really necessary, and you are sure you are sick, you probably will not take the journey. This leads to many people not even knowing that they have malaria, thus not getting the treatment they need.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), early diagnosis is key to successful treatment of the disease. The WHO reported that in 2015 there were 214 million malaria cases worldwide, 90 percent of which were found in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting treatment as early as possible does not only prevent deaths, it also reduces malaria transmission. This shows the importance of Matibabu’s diagnosing tool for the anyone at risk in these regions. The mobile technology holds the potential to make malaria diagnosis as easy as taking a picture – and getting the right care quickly a lot more likely.

One of the startups currently supported by the program is VeriPAD from New York, who have dedicated themselves to fighting counterfeit medicine. This is especially an issue in developing countries. Nevertheless, according to information from the WHO, many medical products bought on the internet in Europe are fake as well. Instead of life saving ingredients the medication often consists of powder or cornstarch which represents a huge risk for the patients. Using a paper analytics device and the VeriPAD app, users can easily find out if a medication is counterfeit or not. By means of this technology, a health issue that is particularly widespread in developing countries can be solved.

World saving does not only mean solving diseases. In the field of life science, for instance, some startups are working to improve processes in scientist’s daily life, making the development of medication easier. There are no boundaries set, the evaluation committee of the Merck Accelerator is always excited to get to know innovations.

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