The founders of Scandicode company, Juho Mattila, Dayou Yang and Sakari Pelkonen, first met in the AppLAB at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk) in the spring of 2015. AppLAB, which is currently fused with DevLAB, was focusing on the development of mobile applications and start-ups by merging students and specialists from different fields and creating interdisciplinary teams that developed a concept and created a demo to solve problems encountered in different industries. Mattila, Yang and Pelkonen came together on one of those teams.
The team began to work on a solution to the issue of assessing the health of vehicle drivers, with the goal of saving doctors´ time in renewing driving licences. However, this was merely the starting point for a broader cognitive perspective in product conceptualisation. During the initial stages, the team was offered mentoring support from OuluHealth experts, including Maritta Perälä-Heape, the Director of the Centre for Health and Technology Innovation Unit at the University of Oulu. ‘Her guidance has been crucial for Scandicode´s product concept formation. It has helped us widen our potential market, from driving to the health field in general, when peoples´ cognitive functions need to be assessed’, stated Juho Mattila.
After the lab period, the team applied for the Nestholma start-up accelerator program, which was facilitated by BusinessOulu, and successfully pitched their solution. Encouraged by the accelerator program, Scandicode was born in February 2016, when Mattila, Yang and Pelkonen decided to move the business forward full speed and received the Nestholma seed investment.
The Scandicode innovation
Scandicode´s solution offers tools for broad cognition assessment by measuring attention, reaction, memory, decision making and concentration. Currently, when a healthcare professional needs to assess the cognitive functions of patients, these are done via pen and paper. Scandicode´s solution aims to make digital cognitive assessment tools efficient, easy and equal for every user.
Current solutions used in detecting memory disorders can be both time consuming and subjective. Scandicode aims to tackle this challenge while simultaneously promoting preventive healthcare for the elderly. ‘Identifying potential problems early in healthcare will save time and resources for doctors and increase the quality of living of elderly people with cognitive problems’, stated Mattila.
After comprehensive product conceptualisation and development, it is now time for piloting the solution. Oulu CityLab, one of the three OuluHealth Labs environments, was the natural choice for a provider of testing possibilities for healthcare services within the City of Oulu. Scandicode´s application for a clinic trial was accepted, and the testing of the solution is currently ongoing in two wellbeing centres in the City of Oulu.
Osmo Hietala, 80, tested the solution in the Haukipudas wellbeing centre at the end of April, together with nurse Anu Wiman. ‘I think it was interesting. I grade the test as a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 and would absolutely recommend that other customers in wellbeing centres test this solution too’, said Hietala.
‘You got through quite fine’, Wiman said to Hietala, her long-term customer.
Towards CE marking
Scandicode is in the process of getting their product CE marked and scalable to a global market. As is often the case with emerging start-ups in the healthcare field, reasonably large amounts of capital are needed to follow the strict regulations for healthcare products. In this respect, Scandicode is no exception. Although funding agencies have start-up acceleration programs with excellent funding opportunities for the selected applicants, they require company investments as well.
For Scandicode, the answer to the capital problem has been OuluHealth Sparks, a convertible bond, which the company received in December 2016. OuluHealth Sparks offers interest and risk-free funding for selected start-ups with international business potential and a product that is suitable for testing in the Oulu area.
The future market for Scandicode´s solution lies in wellbeing centres, home care and elderly care. ‘We hope that the Sparks money, together with the displays we will get from the Oulu CityLab testing pilot, will help us in further testing and expanding our business to other cities. Thanks to the Centre for Health and Technology, we´ve already been introduced to big players in the field, such as companies acting in the field of supported living for seniors’, stated Mattila.
Last updated: 16.5.2017