Team Ghana excels at ‘Grants4Apps Accelerator 2016’ Demo Day
Oasis Websoft, a Ghanaian-based company founded by Raindolf Owusu, showed tenacity and made Ghana proud among the last four selected at the just-ended “Grants4Apps Fantastic 4 Demo Day 2016” program in Berlin, Germany.
The aim of Oasis Websoft is to build technology solutions that solve the problems of Africa and emerging countries.
Their product, “Bisa”, meaning “to ask” in the Akan language, is a mobile application that allows users to ask doctors questions and obtain guidelines and tips for managing their health. Users can also send a clear snapshot of the part of their body they are concerned about, and the medical professionals will review and respond to their query with a short report.
Grants4Apps was launched as a web-based crowdsourcing initiative in 2013. It provides financial support to developers and startups for their app ideas and hardware technologies which contribute to improve health outcomes or pharmaceutical processes. Grants4Apps offers new partnership opportunities in the digital health area with its vibrant development in the past years.
Reinhard Franzen, Head of Commercial Operations, EMEA, Bayer Pharma, the global health business behind Grants4Apps, said his outfit prefers to focus on the merit of the proposal and the personality behind it.
“We look at the videos, the written proposals— whatever they send us—be it friendly, funny, businesslike, whatever. These all add up to the pieces of the puzzle and help us decide why we would be interested in having them on the campus. And a lot of this is not so much driven by finances but by learning from and exchanging with innovative minds, and having fun as well. The launch of the Grants4Apps Accelerator programme each year is always a fun event. There is plenty of hard work, too, of course. Intense work. But at the same time, in a city like Berlin, it’s hopefully also fun.”
Mr. Franzen said Bayer is basically a molecule designer that develops innovative treatment options for patients.
“Our vision is that the mission of a pharmaceutical company in the future will not only be to deliver a molecule or a medicine, but also to provide the service—including data and patient support—around it. This holistic approach will at the end of the day make us successful in healthcare. It is not any more just about the pill or the injectable. It’s everything around it. And that is why we embarked on the Grants4Apps programme,” he said.
Mr. Franzen said his company recognizes the creative potential outside of the company and believes that combining expertise is key to innovation and success. Therefore, complementing its own capabilities by establishing relationships with excellent partners from science and industry is an essential element of its strategy.
He said with different partners and a global organization, the company works in all phases of the medical value chain.
Meanwhile, the crowdsourcing program was expanded with the Accelerator as a new model of open innovation in the digital health field in 2014. The Grants4Apps Accelerator offers dedicated office space for up to five digital startups at the premises of Bayer in Berlin to support them in advancing their projects and business models. Startups receive 50,000 Euros as financial support, and in addition, Bayer offers experienced managers as mentors to the startups. Through the intensive mentoring by Bayer coaches and external entrepreneurs, the company creates an ideal environment in which to advance digital innovation in healthcare.
Other groups recognized at the 2016 event included Turbine, Vital Smith and xbird.