Connecting Patients With The Same Conditions
In this installment of our series ‘Innovations Made in Berlin’, we present mama health technologies.
Mama health is not Mattia Marco Caruson’s first startup, but it is the one he is most passionate about. Along with Jonas Witt and Adriatik Nikaj, Mattia is pursuing the idea that patients suffering from a disease or condition can benefit from sharing with fellow sufferers. Nothing new to that. Mattia’s innovation is that the information shared can be of tremendous benefit to the health sector in better understanding the patients’ needs and therefore being able to provide better treatment.
But let’s hear Mattia put it in his own words.
This series is called “Innovations made in Berlin”. What is your innovation? When did it originate, and where? Can you describe the place, and who was involved?
Mama health empowers people living with chronic conditions to benefit from the experience of others going through the same journey. The idea was born in front of a whiteboard in Görlitzer Park. I worked in life sciences before and was describing the need to collect and organize real-world data to advance medical research. At that time, Adriatik had just come out of his PhD and showed us a technology that – used “creatively” – could solve that problem. Jonas, as a medical doctor, knew that organizing data would be extremely beneficial for patients, as they are experts in their own medical journey and that knowledge, if properly captured, could benefit others like them. After a few brainstorming sessions, it was clear we needed to build something to help patients connect and learn from each other’s experiences, while collecting and organizing data in a way that can benefit medical research.
What do you sell and why should someone buy it?
We help life sciences companies to look at diseases through the eyes of the patients, for the first time. With mama health they can access a dashboard showing aggregated and anonymised data on the journey of a patient population. The daily challenges of patients, their most crucial needs. This helps the companies make decisions that matter to the patients.
How did you find funding for mama health?
We received public funding through an acceleration program and attracted a local VC for an initial private investment. Living in the startup environment helps us keep up with the opportunities to receive funds and support arising at the local, national and EU level. To find private investors, we looked within our network first, and convinced them with the big vision, our fast MVP launch, and the strong team expertise.
What advice that you got at an early stage helped you the most while starting and growing your business in Berlin?
“Find the sweet spot between something you know and something you love.” Solving a real problem is hard especially because it requires a good understanding of the current market challenges and persistence to figure out the right solution. Working on something you already know saves you a lot of time understanding the current market dynamics. Working on something you really love buys you enough time to fail and not give up after the first hard times.
How did you manage to establish contacts with potential clients?
Events and conferences have been a great channel so far. You find people who are willing to learn about new solutions and you get lots of connections. Also, we used some open ‘calls for ideas’ published by our potential clients and applied in order to get in touch with them.
What do you want to achieve in the next six months?
We foresee busy weeks ahead of us! We will launch a mobile app for our patients and a new analytics platform for our clients. We will include five new health conditions, close new partnerships, increase the team size to ten people, and keep growing our user base. We also plan to fundraise for our seed round before the end of this year.
“You find people that look like a perfect match, – but then you think the same way, maybe have the same skills, and don’t generate value from the collaboration.”
How do you find the right people to work with?
It is very hard to find people to work with. It’s somehow like starting a relationship. Sometimes you find people you really get along with and look like a perfect match, but then you think the same way, maybe have the same skills, and don’t generate value from the collaboration. The ideal co-founder has a different background, maybe a different way of seeing things, but shares the same passion for what you are building. Getting along can be challenging, especially in the “down” moments, but when you start knowing each other you can leverage each other’s strengths and generate huge value in the team.
What is right now the biggest challenge for mama health?
The biggest challenge is navigating the long sales cycle before our clients formally sign a contract. Many of them showed big interest since our initial conversations but going through the corporate decision-making and legal processes in order to sign a contract is a completely different story. Since startups are made to win or lose fast, the long sales cycle might represent a threat to our success.
What is your reason why Berlin is the place to be?
In Berlin you can breathe creativity, innovation and technology – building a startup is not a niche activity anymore. Many students here graduate with the ambition to start a company (or join a fast-growing one), and you have a whole ecosystem of previous founders who can help you with your daily challenges because they went through the same ones! The best place to start a company is where you can find others who have already done it, and Berlin hosts one of the best founders’ ecosystems in Europe.
What have you personally learned so far on this journey?
I learned that perseverance pays off. Multiple times I tried to build companies to leverage some current market trends. Those temporary passions were not strong enough for me to hold tight through the down moments of the founder’s journey. With mama health everything changed. I know my work is not only contributing to creating a successful company, generating employment or monetary value. We are helping people live better with their chronic conditions. This drives us to overcome any challenge. I feel like I owe it to all the patients out there waiting for it.
Thank you, Mattia!
Look out for our next Innovation Made in Berlin!
Interview: Olaf Bryan Wielk, ideenmanufaktur
Header image: © mama health technologies