How To Get Early Business Ideas Off The Ground

As more SME’s in the health sector start up with the aim of contributing to closing the gender health gap. Now more than ever is there a call for MedTech and FemTech business insights on how to start, test and launch your business idea.

Embarking On Our MedTech Journey

Our journey into MedTech (Medical Technology) started by accident, around 2010, when we were managing a number of OTC(Over The Counter) products, navigating the field of regulations and social media (in the main). This was always in our business plan as our chance to:

a) Test to see how the pharma company owner viewed innovation.

b) Test to see how the end user (consumer) benefitted from the innovation.

Hayden Allen-Vercoe, colic, ai, medtech,
Photo by Ersin Baştürk on

Solving The Infant Colic Information Problem For Parents With VirtTuri AI

We were lucky that we had a client who believed in us and were keen to push their heads above the parapet. We were also lucky that we were essentially being paid to trial a loose idea we’d had that solved many problems for client and their consumer. If everyone is ‘a winner’ then there is something there – that’s what we now live by.

The idea was quite simple. The client’s product was Infacol (Infant Colic Drops), and we were seeing huge numbers of web visitors head for the FAQs page in the middle of the night, when colic strikes, seeking ways to alleviate their baby’s pain.

However, the FAQs page was pretty standard 2010 stuff – just a list of textual questions and answers that ran on for a good few pages. Boring.

-Hayden Allen-Vercoe

So, we built a super simple search engine using a couple of free tools, then:

  • Researched the top 150 FAQs about ‘colic’, as well as ‘Infacol’
  • Found a health care professional to answer these in front of a camera, within 30 seconds per question
  • Cut up the video footage, then attached each answer to the relevant question being asked
  • Launched ‘The Virtual Colic Clinic’ within the client’s website
  • Sat back and took the applause from the client (and a few trophys too).

This simple app was a huge success, and cemented in our mind a commitment to what would be a 6 year project (and counting) to build an patented avatar technology, which could deliver information at scale, and represent multiple ethnicities, and speak over 150 languages at a switch of a button. VirtTuri AI was born.

Hayden Allen-Vercoe, colic, VirtTuri AI , medtech,
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

MedTech Funding and Strategic Partnerships

But as with everything tech, the challenge was how to fund it. Luckily, we had a busy digital healthcare marketing agency which allowed us to reinvest much of our profits to help with making our visions a reality, however the funding breakthrough came from being awarded 2x Knowledge Transfer Partnerships from Innovate UK. These subsequently connected us to both Cardiff University and University of Essex, gave us access to some pretty intelligent people (understatement), and 2 new subsidised employees, who understood the technical challenge in front of them, and delivered the solution.

Whilst the development took a few years (remember that this was early AI), we had our PoC (Proof of Concept) funded, and it gave us something very special to woo new clients with and maintain our excitement for the future. As soon as we were able to share our vision on paper so to speak, our beliefs and realities positively changed.

We were vested, committed and determined to succeed.

This energy has served us well, and caught the eye of a wide range of healthcare clients, including the NHS, who have since bought in.

-Hayden Allen-Vercoe

What’s more, getting the product to PoC stage, along with some very convincing research to support our vision, has helped us complete a Seed round. Our investors are a mix of angels, Low Carbon Impact Fund, as well as local authorities who are keen to see us grow and hire local talent. We’re now preparing for Series A and some very exciting technical advancements.

Impact of AI

The World has changed a great deal since we launched VirtTuri – generative AI appears to be changing everything, and fast.

-Hayden Allen-Vercoe

Personally, I see this as the biggest opportunity we’ve ever seen for founders at early stage… or frankly, at any stage. In the sum total of a few hours, you can now create a logo, build a web page, and use AI to find, connect and test your ideal market. All without spending a bean if you’re clever.

This means that you are massively reducing your odds of failure, not having to re-mortgage the house, and all whilst feeling like you are actually achieving something, and fast. But there are processes in play here that makes this model work, and the more you can understand this new power at our finger tips, the more likely you are to realise your dreams.

Hayden Allen-Vercoe, colic, ai, medtech, infant colic,

I’m Hayden, a health tech founder, marketer, and proud Female Health Founders Advisor. I’m looking to help women’s health founders at all stages with their business ambitions, and come with a fantastic team of talented creatives and technicians who make reality happen.

Connect With Hayden Allen-Vercoe & VirtTuri AI