St. Louis seeks to draw Israel’s tech for competitive edge
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St. Louis seeks to draw Israel’s tech for competitive edge

Israeli startups tour health centers in the city, pitch their companies to investors, meet with potential partners

Israeli startups meet with potential clients and partners during a healthcare conference in St. Louis, Missouri, June 28,2017. (Courtesy)
Israeli startups meet with potential clients and partners during a healthcare conference in St. Louis, Missouri, June 28,2017. (Courtesy)

Seven Israeli healthcare technology companies took part in a conference in St. Louis, Missouri, last month that was meant to expose local hospitals and corporations to Israeli cutting edge innovations, the organizers said.

The startups “were rigorously vetted and carefully selected as offering cutting-edge innovations that are in demand by St. Louis-based hospital systems and healthcare corporations,” according to Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL, an organization dedicated to nurturing the bioscience and innovation ecosystem in St. Louis.

The GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit was the first by BioSTL. It said the purpose was to give St. Louis companies a competitive advantage by accessing innovation, bringing international companies into the US market, and getting them to consider opening US headquarters in the city, close to their new customers.

Attendees toured health innovation centers in the city, listened to speakers, pitched their companies to investors, met with potential strategic partners and mingled with local community leaders and government officials.

“A real distinguisher for St. Louis is the attention and access we can give an individual entrepreneur; whereas, if these companies were to go to say, Silicon Valley, they could spend six months or a year and not get the kinds of meetings we can facilitate for them in 48 hours,” Rubin said. He added that the companies that participated are now in talks with potential clients and partners.

Telesofia representative Peter Steiner presents the company's platform for personalizing patients' healthcare education at conference in St. Louis, US, in June 2017 (Courtesy)
Telesofia representative Peter Steiner presents the company’s platform for personalizing patients’ healthcare education at conference in St. Louis, Missouri, in June 2017 (Courtesy)

One of those companies, Telesofia, is already taking advantage of the proffered opportunities. The startup uses clinical data to create personalized videos to educate individual patients about their ongoing care. It also uses its data to meet the needs of healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy chains and insurers.

Ehud Belder, CFO of Telesofia, said his company is in talks with at least half a dozen potential new clients and partners. He said he is looking to establish a permanent representative in St. Louis because of the experience. The Ramat Gan-based company was started in 2011 and has 15 employees. Now it is looking to double its workforce by the end of the year. “I’m assuming that once we have a successful pilot with the St. Louis team, we’ll have the opportunity to become national,” Belder said. “In a way, it’s kind of an easy access to the US market.”

The other Israeli companies that attended were ContinUse Biometrics — a bio-sensing technology for telemedicine and tracking chronic diseases that eliminates the need to maintain continuous contact with the body; MDClone, which specializes in electronic health records; Medial EarlySign, which addresses risk management and clinical decision-making for individuals within large populations; MobileODT, which uses mobile phones as intelligent visual diagnostic tools; Wikaya, which has developed an artificial intelligence platform that helps patients improve their preventative efforts through a scoring system; and Zebra Medical Vision, which has developed an artificial intelligence platform that teaches computers to automatically read and diagnose imaging data.

BioSTL started its GlobalSTL initiative in 2014 to attract innovative international companies. Five Israeli companies have opened their US headquarters in St. Louis over the past two years, due to its efforts.

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