Merck seeks wearables for next digital health accelerator

Merck KGaA has called for more digital health start-ups to apply for funding through its Accelerator project.

The Global Merck Accelerator aims to foster digital health start-ups by giving them financial support and mentoring to turn their concepts into fully-fledged products.

The accelerator currently consists of three main bases of operations: Darmstadt, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya, with the recently added option of extending the accelerator period through a month-long residence in Silicon Valley.

Beginning in March of next year, the next accelerator round will focus on “wearables, sensors, bioengineering and other solutions that individualise healthcare provision”, according to head of the Merck Innovation Centre Michael Gamber.

For start-ups applying for the Darmstadt accelerator, the support delivered will remain unchanged. This includes 50,000 Euros in financial support and accommodation in the centre of Darmstadt, along with various mentoring and networking opportunities.

Merck has however decided to expand the support delivered through its Nairobi accelerator, providing start-ups with up to $30,000 – double the amount available to start-ups in the last accelerator round.

“Due to the dynamic nature of the digital health market in Nairobi, we decided to invest more in the start-ups here and to link them up with a more global community,” explained Gamber. “We also recognise that many start-ups here in Africa need financial support of a certain level in order to give them the opportunity to push their ideas forward.”

Teams will also be given accommodation in the accelerator’s new workspace in Mettā which Merck unveiled in January of this year.

The next accelerator phase will begin on 6 March, 2017, and end 24 March. Applications will be accepted until 19 December 2016.

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