Virpi is passionate about regenerative medicine, especially regeneration of articular cartilage. She holds a PhD in cell biology and has a strong background in orthopedic research. She is the CEO of Askel Healthcare Ltd, a med tech company focusing on cartilage regeneration in companion animals.
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More about Virpi’s background:
Virpi has been working in tissue engineering for more than 7 years to help a tissue regenerate that doesn’t regenerate at all. They discovered a scaffold that can help regeneration and she and her team have shifted their focus from academia to entrepreneurship. They’re based out of Helinski Finland.
How Virpi’s company Askel Healthcare helps others:
Askel Healthcare helps others by treating cartilage and joint problems before it gets too bad. This technology treats the underlying problems instead of just medicating and treating the symptoms. The regulatory pathway is easier and the treatment of these animals is doubling as animal models for when they want to pursue human treatment once strong data is gathered.
Askel Healthcare’s value proposition:
Askel Healthcare is focused on preventative care to extend life of animals. By treating early on, the symptoms are controlled less expensively and more humanely than if left untreated. They’re actually treating the underlying problem, not just the pain. Since now, there are so many pet parents involved in the health of their pets, this is a large market with people willing to spend money on this.
Type of investment Askel Healthcare and Virpi are seeking right now:
Right now, they’ve secured angel funding are currently raising money via an equity based crowfunding campiagn on Finish based “Invesdor” platform.
How Virpi was able to sustain her living pre-revenue:
Askel Healthcare has been lucky enough to receive angel investment and grant funding pretty early on. Everyone on the team has taken a low salary along with equity to make the dollars stretch. Since they were in academia for so long they had research grants too.
The biggest rough wave Virpi has overcome so far in her startup:
Funding! We have an easier path to market since we’re focusing on the veterinary market but it’s still very challenging to operate without too much funding and no sales yet
How Virpi has kept herself motivaed:
I always rely on family and friends but it’s really the great team she works with. They always celebrate great things together but keep each other motivated with things are going wrong. The crowdfunding is motivating too in that so many people believe in your product so much to give you money.
Virpi’s best advice for medtech entrepreneurs:
If you’re a scientist / researcher and you want to commercialize a product or have a little bit of an entrerepreneurial spirit….. if you have something you feel should really be shared with the world and it just feels like a huge mountain, just take it one step at a time. You will probably get feedback that researchers are not good in business. Don’t listen to that because you can learn it. Keep trying and don’t give up!
Virpi’s best book recommendation and why:
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – about second world’s war from the eyes of children
Synuhe the Egeptean by Mika Waltori – most meaningful book for her. It’s about a doctor in ancient Egypt and it drew her to medicine and sociology.
Best way to get in touch with Virpi and favorite quote
phone: +358 40 489 3840
Favorite quote: In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind – Louis Pasteur