10 Nov Opening of the Mowoot Crowdfunding campaign with the participation of EIT Health
Interview with Markus Wilhelms, Daniel Oliver, Patrick Pfeffer and Natalia de la Figuera.
EIT Health supports a pan-European crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector. The crowdfunding platform supports funding campaigns of up to 10 million €, facilitating direct contact with its network of 550,000 health and investment professionals and other citizens in Europe. This initiative is run by Aescuvest, one of the largest online investment platforms specialised in healthcare and biotechnology with a wide network in Germany and Europe. This crowdfunding allows start-ups and spin-offs located in a Horizon Europe country to obtain an injection of liquidity to advance the project, valorise it and eventually facilitate successive rounds of investment.
As part of this initiative, EIT Health has recently opened its investment campaign for MOWOOT, a start-up that has developed and is commercialising the first non-invasive, non-pharmacological medical device to facilitate intestinal transit in people with chronic constipation.
This is a milestone for start-ups in Spain because it is the first Spanish company to be funded by this crowdfunding platform promoted by EIT Health. In addition, GENESIS Biomed is proud that the selected company has been MOWOOT, with which we have collaborated on countless occasions, from the preparation of the first version of the company’s Business Plan to the support in the various rounds of private fundraising and public fundraising. In addition, GENESIS Ventures, the investment vehicle that manages GENESIS Biomed, invested a 100,000 € ticket in MOWOOT in 2019.
To assure the success of the deal the Spanish-based crowdfunding platform, Capital Cell, has also been involved, which holds the position of being the first crowdfunding platform specialised in healthcare and biotechnology in Europe and which would also be the first participation in such an EIT Health initiative.
To explain the consequences of such an instrument and its contribution to a project like MOWOOT in more detail, we interviewed Dr. Markus Wilhelms (CEO, MOWOOT), Daniel Oliver (CEO, Capital Cell), Dr. Patrick Pfeffer (CEO, Aescuvest) and Natalia de la Figuera (COO, GENESIS Biomed):
As CEOs of MOWOOT, CC and Aescuvest, how do you value initiatives to promote crowdfunding across Europe, such as the one launched by EIT Health?
MW: The goal of this funding round is the growth and expansion of MOWOOT in the European markets. In this context it only makes sense to look for investment on a European level. Because of the huge impact our product has on the current standard of care in bowel management the feedback from patients and professionals has always been very positive and with a crowdfunding campaign we can give them a chance to actively be part of our company’s success story.
CC: We believe crowdfunding is a hugely useful tool in an early stage company’s set of financial options. For example, a part of MOWOOT’s growth has already involved crowdfunding – they used the Capital Cell platform to fund their development in 2019. The shortage of specialist investors in the HealthTech sector makes specialized crowdfunding particularly relevant, and it’s a great thing that investments as interesting as MOWOOT are made available to the public via crowdfunding.
AV: Crowdfunding brings another level of investors to the digital table: customers. Users. People involved. People affected. Why should you not be a shareholder of something you love, or you need? We may not forget that in the world of crowdfunding, or more and more known as public venture capital, shareholder = ambassador = customer. This is smart money 2.0 for any company that gets funded in this modern way.
How do you feel about MOWOOT being the first Spanish start-up to be funded by this pan-European platform?
MW: Chronic constipation affects up to a quarter population in Europe and that is why we have been supported for years by EIT Health, we won a lot of their awards and we are vey proud that after intense vetting and due-diligence our company has been selected for being the first Spanish company in the pan-European crowdfunding platform Aescuvest. And we are even more happy now that Capital Cell is also on-board. This is the first pan-platform campaign that is out there.
Can a European initiative make it easier for Small/Medium size investors?
MW: Small and medium size investors usually act regional and therefore have access to a limited number of projects. A pan-European collaboration of 2 potent crowdfunding platforms, together with the seal of approval of EIT Health, is a great opportunity for them to find more interesting options to invest in. Vice-versa it is an opportunity for startup companies to tap into a bigger pool of capital.
CC: Biotech and Medtech investment is, by nature, more international than other sectors such as retail or IT. Our answer is yes, visibility on a European scale can only improve a company’s chances of getting funded.
AV: Not only easier It’s absolutely necessary, I think thinking in domestic patterns belongs to the nineteen eighties. We, Europeans, are all part of one big continent, we have great technologies and we need to foster and funder across Europe. If we compare that to the United States for example or China, in particular, huge markets where technologies can scale pretty fast and certainly Europe is a little bit different because we are a Union of different nationalities, however we should fight and foster the European idea to position as a role model for the globe because of those sparkling ideas of tomorrow are being generated and developed here in Europe.
What makes MOWOOT a good investment opportunity?
MW: MOWOOT is a company that is mature and growing, we have the product on the market since 2018, we have distribution partners in several key EU markets, IP is protected and our device is clinically proven even recommended in clinical guidelines in Germany and the UK, which means that medical doctors when they look up what is the best treatment for this type of patient there will be a mention of our device, and that is the first step to becoming a new gold standard in chronic constipation.
CC: MOWOOT is a startup company that has consistently proven to deliver on its promises and commitments. The funding obtained thus far has been used wisely and efficiently and has put the company in an excellent position. I think chances to invest in companies with this combination of reduced risk and market potential are rare and should not be missed.
AV: MOWOOT is a company that has gone through multiple innovation cycles, I think more than thousand times they been going through those cycles to identify a clear medical problem identifying something in the field of chronic constipation. 25% percentage or more of the population has been affected with that problem and they have been coming up with a solution that is crystal clear well position and aims to replace manual or invasive interventions. For us is absolutely essential to support MOWOOT in the fundraising activities.
GB: GENESIS Ventures has supported MOWOOT from the beginning. We have made an investment in the year 2019 because we belief in the project. The time has demonstrated that it was a winning horse, they have obtained all their milestones and now one of the challenges they have is to get the reimbursement in other countries. They already have the reimbursement in Germany and they are looking for the reimbursement now in other key countries as UK, France and Nordic Countries and we are sure they are going to get them.
What did it mean for Capital Cell to be the first crowdfunding platform specialised in the health sector based in Spain? Did you have to fight against many administrative obstacles and also against many prejudices?
CC: I’m sure there were a few obstacles, but honestly I barely remember the bureaucratic or cultural challenges we faced in our early days. The important thing is how we pushed through and managed to prove the market is ready to invest in Biotech/Medtech startups, despite challenges such as the small size of the investment market, and become Spain’s largest equity crowdfunding platform. I think we have also managed to establish a solid reputation for Crowdfunding as a serious and advantageous financial option, even among alleged competitors such as VCs.
What does it mean for Capital Cell and Aescuvest to collaborate with each other in a European framework? Apart from facilitating investment, it can be a win-win collaboration for both crowdfunding platforms.
CC: It’s high time crowdfunding platforms collaborate on an international scale, and both Capital Cell and Aescuvest are eager to explore the benefits of working together. We sense it can only bring good things and we have decided to just go ahead and do it, and we couldn’t have wished for a better project than MOWOOT to start with. Collaboration between platforms in different countries is kind of uncharted territory but we have little doubt that it will have a positive outcome.
AV: I can only underline Daniel’s statements. It’s not the time to think in competitive patterns. It’s time to think how can we plug and play to accomplish more in our such important mission. You need strong partners to tackle Europe and we are convinced this is just step one in a fruitful partnership. Can do.
Can this initiative facilitate investment by increasing the network of small investors to a more European and less local extent? Do you think that initiatives of this type can help to raise awareness among start-ups of the importance of a funding channel such as crowdfunding means?
MW: An added value of a crowdfunding within the European EIT Health network, which contains many health professionals, is the visibility for our product. This can be almost considered a marketing campaign that supports our EU expansion. We are basically attacking this goal from 2 sides: funding and visibility.
How does it feel to be part of MOWOOT’s investment round for a second time?
CC: Capital Cell along with Genesis supported MOWOOT in this crowdfunding running 2019, it was a very successful round and it enable the company to fund development that has been essentially for all of us, that have been making goods over commitments for every single milestone. Everything has gone according to plan, they have grown considerably, they are now the object of a large and very singular campaign in Europe which we are really, really proud to support. It is a huge opportunity for us to be involved again in the success of this company.
How do you see the fit between Capital Cell and the EIT Health crowdfunding platform for this MOWOOT round?
GB: I think they make a good tandem because, on one hand we have MOWOOT that they are very well-Known in the EIT Health ecosystem and they have been awarded many programs and ,on the other hand, we have Capital Cell that is a crowdfunding platform very well-known and specializes in health; so both with the help of Aescuvest it’s clear they will achieve a successful crowdfunding.
As CEO of MOWOOT, which are the next steps for MOWOOT?
MW: Thousands of patients are already using MOWOOT in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands and in this next grow phase we will apply what we learnt in these markets to achieve the same thing in the rest of Europe and the investors can be part of our success.
For the purpose of the interview the next abbreviations are used: MOWOOT (MW), Capital Cell (CC), Aescuvest (AV), GENESIS Biomed (GB).
For more information about MOWOOT CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN visit: