Q: Tell us about yourself – what’s your background, and how and why did you and Georgina create VineHealth?
I’m a medical doctor and neuroscientist by background, with a research interest in behavioural science and decision making. I was seeing that there was a lot we do not cater for in traditional health care models. At times it’s very difficult for patients to get the information that they need in order to make the best decisions for them. So I took a step out of front line medicine and went to work in policy for The Cabinet Office’s Nudge Unit, which is the part of the government that uses behavioral science to inform on health policy. From there, I became really interested in how you deliver information to patients to help them understand what’s going on in their care and how to “self manage”. We know that self management is a huge factor in health outcomes from any disease as it enables people to better deal with their side effects, remember to ask their doctor the questions, and understand when and who to ask for help.
I met my co-founder Georgina through the Entrepreneur First programme. Georgina spent her whole career as a data scientist particularly focusing on building AI-driven health tech. She started off at McLaren Applied Technologies and led GSK’s first data-driven clinical trial using remote monitoring to predict patient outcomes. Georgina saw the power of data and how cutting edge technologies such as machine learning could be used to understand and predict patterns in healthcare.
So together, we came up with VineHealth, a platform that uses a combination of behavioural science and decision making informed by data to help people self manage and feel more in control of what’s happening to them.
Q: How far into that process did you come across Capital Enterprise?
We met John Spindler at the EF demo day. We had a few follow up chats with him in the months afterwards and he was super helpful. He’s a very experienced and great mentor in regards to fundraising, but also he was involved with all these support programmes that could help us scale our business like IDEALondon and P4 Precision Medicine.
Q: How was your experience at IDEALondon and on the P4 Precision Medicine Programme?
We had been chatting to John because we really needed somewhere to work from and he mentioned that there was space at IDEALondon. He introduced us to the team there who gave us a tour and we loved the space! It had a really nice vibe, a vibrant community and lots going on. We moved in around May of 2019 which was a really crucial time for us in terms of raising our seed round. Our first couple of months at IDEALondon we were super focused on fund raising and that was a really nice environment to be in because there are lots of investors around. John is there to support you and there lots of startups going through similar things. We managed to raise the round in July 2019 and then started hiring a team. Around that same time, the first cohort of the P4 precision Medicine accelerator was launched and it couldn’t have been better timing. It was great for connecting us to health care researchers and academics to help clinically evaluate products and getting support and links into UCL was key.
Q: You’ve collaborated with Capital Enterprise on the CAP-AI KEEP Programme too; How did this help your company?
The CAP-AI KEEP Programme is transformational for any small company. One of the hardest things for any small startup is finding and keeping tech talent. Tech talent is always expensive and any support is critical. In health tech there’s often a long lead time in developing your product and actually being able to get it out there into something commercially sustainable so being able to receive match funding and hire a fantastic tech team, the KEEP programme really helped us to do.
Q: How do you still keep up with Capital Enterprise opportunities?
We still read the CE newsletters and follow the IDEALondon and P4 Slack channels. We attend a lot of the events and meet a great network that way. We became close to the other startups on the P4 programme so still meet up with them from time to time. IDEALondon always hosts great parties and Nathan from P4 still makes intros for us to various mentors or people in the industry.
Q:What do you see as the most useful element to being aware or involved with Capital Enterprise?
In the early days it was most useful to have IDEALondon to be based, to have a space that was vibrant and upbeat and exciting and had other companies that were in a similar stage was really vital to us then. Fundraising before you hire a team and not having space to work out of can be a really daunting time so that was so useful to have IDEALondon then. Now, it’s the network and the community. John has all the links to the investor community, IDEALondon have all the links to UCL and the academics and P4 have the links with various life science and pharma companies which is really important for us in getting validation for what we’re building and the commercial value of it.