Healthtech is booming in the Netherlands when it comes to the number of startups and the amount of funding. There are around 10.8 start-ups per million people, whereas neighboring countries such as Germany or France have 3.2 and 6.1 startups per million people. In addition, healthech was the most invested techsector in 2020 in terms of VC spend. It has seen a substantial increase in capital year-over-year until 2021, with a record breaking 1 billion euro that year. Even though it was not the most invested techsector in 2022 (just being surpassed by fintech + energy), it remains the leading sector over the last 20 years when it comes to the yearly amount of deals, with 74 deals in 2022.

Although the Netherlands is known for its fertile innovation ecosystems, the Netherlands has a hard time competing with European counterparts. It can be stated that the Netherlands is definitely not the “best in class” compared regionally, being easily surpassed by countries such as the U.K, Israel or Sweden. The Dutch ecosystem ranks only 6th in both the volume of healthtech investments raised per capita and in absolute numbers. Despite the several pain points causing this, such as the regulation and complexity of the Dutch healthcare system, we see really great, potentially sector changing companies in AI/ML, health platforms, telemedicine, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

We took a look at the startups and scaleups in the Dutch Healthcare sector and selected a list of the 20 most promising Dutch Healthcare: Top 20 Innovations. We looked at problem-solution fit, the product, funding, estimated worth, the used technology and the vision. The data used comes from techleap, or is delivered by the companies itself.

The problem they address is the limited possibility to look inside of the lungs and at the same time limited capabilities of the human eye to spot very detailed abnormalities and objectively quantify it.
Having a CT scan of lungs analyzed with AI helps medical specialists to assess the severity of lung diseases (both very common and rare) with much better precision and accuracy, not only to conclude the presence of a disease (disease screening) but also to monitor changes during the treatment. This is why their analysis are being used by:
  • pharmaceutical companies who develop new pulmonary drugs, so they can prove the efficacy of the drug by demonstrating the improvement through quantified measurements from a CT scan
  • by med-tech companies developing innovative equipment and solutions for surgeries and interventions of lungs, so they these can be conducted more precisely in line with the specific patient’s case (personalized medicine)
  • pulmonologists in hospitals working with AI software platforms to support them in personalized treatment plans.
Long waiting times, high costs, staffing shortages and unnecessary travel times in healthcare. Healthcare can be organized better and more humanely in a smarter way.

Ksyos is a nationally operating digital hospital. With its 7,500 general practitioners and 4,500 medical specialists and paramedics, Ksyos offers high-quality medical care without waiting times, digitally where possible, physically where necessary. For the patient this means: no long waiting times, faster diagnosis and start of treatment. For the healthcare professional it means: more time for the patient, less work pressure, less unnecessary costs.

Patients can contact Ksyos for medical specialist care for low-complex complaints in the areas of sleep, cardiology, mental health care, dermatology, ophthalmology and obesity. With smart use of new technology, Ksyos makes healthcare faster, better and more humane.

Health care demand is increasing steeply and there is have a growing shortage of capacity and personnel. There is especially an urgent need for experienced and specialized nurses that are willing to work in night shifts, like in the ICU and the Emergency Ward. In the meantime, hospitals currently only learn from a fraction of medical decisions made which patients benefit most from which treatment or procedure. In those cases hospitals often only gain biased and average results once, that are then applied to the complex and diverse clinical practice in slow and generic ways.

Pacmed helps hospitals to get more health out of their hospital. They do so with AI
decision support on clinical data that helps to treat acute patients better and to reduce the pressure on personnel and capacity. Pacmed started in the Intensive Care Unit because of the urgent capacity challenges, high costs and large amounts of data in that department. Their first product Pacmed Critical supports in discharging patients timely and safely from ICU by predicting the risk of readmission and discharge for the individual patient based on data with hundreds of variables of tens of thousands of patients.

Looking at the market right now, Castor sees a gap in healthcare equity – there is still an unavailability of services in a community and a lack of culturally- competent care for patients. Some patients do not have access to the right tools to participate in trials; for example, they do not have access to the Internet or live too far from sites/ clinics. And their mission at Castor is to bring these tools to them regardless of where they are across the globe, which also contributes to closing this gap.
Castor is working towards a new era of clinical research—an era of clinical research accessible to everyone, everywhere. They believe clinical trials must be efficient and equitable, in which patients are engaged and empowered, and new treatments are made available to patients faster. This is only achievable by steering a fundamental shift in how clinical trials are designed, conducted, and analyzed. And at Castor, they use technology to achieve this goal. Castor’s modular platform of connected modules is built to make clinical trials of varying sizes or complexity possible for everyone. Each module can be used alone or together, enabling study researchers to plug and play with each tool, build a foundation of technology that can flex to meet their unique study needs, and scale at their own pace. Their solutions create an effortless patient experience with an all-in-one module that they can screen, consent to, and plan their visits from the comfort of their home, onsite/ in-person, or both.
Breast cancer is a global problem with numbers on the rise. Around 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is well known that early detection is key to survival and less intense treatment pathways. Advances in technology such as 3D mammography have helped to improve quality of mammography screening but this also significantly increases the workload and strain on healthcare systems. To compound this, many countries suffer from a shortage of trained breast readers and there is an increasing threat of litigation following missed cancers.
ScreenPoint Medical, specializing in machine learning and breast imaging, developed the market leading Breast AI software, Transpara®, for reading 2D and 3D mammograms. Numerous clinical studies show that the FDA and CE cleared decision support software matches experienced radiologists in detecting early breast cancers and allows them to improve the quality and efficiency of breast cancer detection. Earlier detection can improve survival and reduce treatment costs associated with late stage cancer. Transpara is used daily in over 30 countries worldwide and the effectiveness of Transpara has now been endorsed by more peer reviewed published research papers than any other breast AI solution.
Falls that are not detected in time are a major health risk for the elderly. With current home automation or smart sensors, in 6 out of 7 falls, someone is only there after 5 minutes to help the client. In addition, healthcare personnel are inundated with false alarms. Current systems cannot distinguish objects such as a flapping curtain or fallen blanket from falls. Kepler Vision’s mission is to make the job of nurses operating in elderly care homes less stressful and more enjoyable by allowing them to focus on providing care – not chasing false alarms and writing endless reports.
Kepler Vision created the Kepler Vision’s Night Nurse solution, which analyzes live video streams, recognizing if and when clients need care and informing staff accordingly. The computer vision-enabled monitoring solution can identify whenever patients have fallen, are in physical discomfort, or are wandering where they are not meant to – ensuring that care staff can respond immediately without fail. Additionally, the ability to send accurate alerts to staff, means staff do not have to waste time doing unnecessary in-person door-to-door checks, or responding to false alarms. This means they can use their time on delivering important in-person care where it is the most meaningful.
Clinical research is essential to developing new drugs for patients, but it is full of challenges. Patients and physicians lack time and resources to find and access clinical trials and pre- approval drugs, whilst BioPharma companies struggle to find patients for clinical trials. It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of clinical trials globally fail to meet enrollment goals. Their founder Ronald Brus, a physician and biotech exec, tried to access a drug in development for his father’s lung cancer. Seeing how slow and difficult this process was, he decided to create a solution and myTomorrows was born.
myTomorrows helps patients and physicians find and access clinical trials. Their proprietary platform efficiently and compliantly connects patients, physicians, clinical researchers and BioPharma. Their services are free for patients and physicians, but they provide these paid services for BioPharma: pre-screening and triaging services, clinical trial recruitment, expanded access programs with Real-World Data collection. Their mission is global, yet personal. myTomorrows, which is run by physicians and has employees with lived experience in cancer and rare disease, aims to enable earlier, better access to all possible treatment options. They have helped more than 5,000 patients and 500 physicians in 50 countries.
Health care providers (HCPs) are under major pressure: staff shortages, administrative load, growing number of patients and financial constraints. HCPs get too little time with their patients, are overloaded with data, and consequently have a hard time spotting complex patterns early. This also shows in surgical care. One in five patients get an infection after their surgery. The average diagnosis’s made after day five. Sometimes the infection is missed (i.e. “failure to rescue”) and sepsis occurs. The cost per average European hospital to deal with these infections is estimated at 35M euro.’s PERISCOPE-tool re-uses existing electronic health record (EHR) data to predict the individual risk of infections. This enables HCPs to become more proactive: Monitor the right patient more actively and safely discharge others. Accurate predictions do not require any additional action or measurement. They are shown in the HCP’s workflow. By also bringing all relevant infection data together on one screen, they reduce the number of clicks by nine per patient per day per professional. Their goal is not only to reduce administrative load, but also to reduce the impact of infections >20% and cost >12% (€4M per hospital).
In the US, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) kill 72,000 persons annually, costing 45B$/yr. In Europe, more than 90,000 people die each year, and HAIs are the single most deadly and costly adverse event, representing up to 6% of public hospital budgets. Decontamination of environmental surfaces (rooms) is fundamental to reducing HAIs and is just as important as hand hygiene. However, conventional manual disinfection using chemical biocides and wipes is not repeatable, has low compliance, is not auditable, and is toxic to staff and the environment. Manual labor disinfection is time-consuming, 1-2 hours for a 30m2 room, and qualified workers are scarce.
They automate disinfection with their smart robot SAM-UVC to make hospital-grade disinfection faster, safer, and digitally auditable.SAM-UVC is the most user-friendly tool for room disinfection in hospitals. It helps cleaning staff by automating the error-prone, time-consuming, and challenging disinfection job. SAM uses powerful and clean UV light to disinfect, so no harmful chemicals are needed anymore. SAM disinfects a typical hospital room in 12 minutes, saving valuable time. SAM is safe and certified, and several academic hospitals have verified its clinical efficacy in killing microorganisms. Research shows that automated room disinfection using UV-C light reduces hospital-acquired infections by 40%.
Healthcare professionals simply don’t have the capacity to give care to the growing number of patients due to aging, more chronic diseases and consumerism in healthcare. At the same time patients need to go to the hospital for regular checkups or acute care which can be prevented in a lot of situations.
Luscii offers a digital health platform for remote monitoring, selfcare and contact over distance. This means patients are prompted to send in vitals using wearables or measurement devices, follow interactive educational modules about their disease and learn what they can do themselves in case of deterioration. All data is sent securely to the hospital and analyzed by algorithms in their clinical engine that will immediately alert the right care professional in case of an increased risk. Doing so, healthcare providers can keep an eye on patients and intervene earlier without the need to see patients in the hospital. This reduces up to 65-81% unnecessary hospital visits to the emergency room and admissions as well as lowers costs by 65%, as shown in a recent study in London. In general, this saves time and frees up capacity to see those patients that really need it. The platform is deeply integrated into the health records of care providers, fully reimbursed and can be tailored to any disease type.
According to the World Health Organization antibiotic resistance is one of humanity’s biggest health threats, expected to cause over 10 million deaths per year by 2050, with a cumulative cost of over €100 trillion to society. But apart from the urgent need for effective antibiotics, the world is in need of a different approach, as over the past decade scientists have come to understand the importance of preserving our microbiome, comprising billions of ‘good’ bacteria. This is not possible with antibiotics as they do not distinguish between bad and good bacteria. Related to this, they are not suitable for long-term use, as their use causes side effects.
With their endolysin technology it is possible for the first time to target only the unwanted bacteria, regardless of resistance. Applications range from infectious disease such as deadly sepsis caused by MRSA to treatment of infected diabetic wounds and certain forms of cancer triggered by S. aureus colonization. But also many inflammatory skin conditions, affecting ~200 million persons in the EU and USA, such as eczema, rosacea and acne, with a high impact on daily quality of life. Their credo is to HAMAPASAP (help as many as possible as soon as possible) based on their technology leadership. They have three business units: Pharma, Consumer Health (Gladskin) and Food Safety (PhageGuard).
There are not enough radiologists to report on the increasing volumes of medical images. The current shortfall stands at 29%in the UK, as clinical directors are worried about workforce morale, burnout, and patient safety. Assessing images in the lung cancer pathway is particularly problematic. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer, largely due to the difficulty in catching it on time. But when reporting chest CT scans for lung nodules – possible early signs of lung cancer – radiologists spend most of their time searching for millimetric lesions with the naked eye, counting, segmenting, and measuring them (semi-)manually. These are tedious and error-prone tasks.
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Aidences provides artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the lung cancer pathway. Veye Lung Nodules is an AI-based solution for pulmonary nodule management on chest CT scans. It automatically detects, measures, classifies, and tracks the growth of lung nodules as small as 3 mm, then delivers its analysis into the radiology workflow. The solution is CE certified as a second or concurrent reader. It is currently running in routine practice and lung cancer screening across Europe, analyzing thousands of scans each week. In the UK, Veye Lung Nodules is the preferred AI lung nodule software for the Targeted Lung Health Checks, a soon-to-become nationwide lung cancer screening programme.
Health has never been more important and solutions in the digital space are revolutionizing the way we go through the health care path. What we know is that skin cancer is the most common cancer in Western countries and the amount of patients is rapidly growing. SkinVision embraces the idea that technology can take away the barriers that stand in the way of early detection of skin cancer, and get anyone to a doctor at the right time. Together we care! Goal? Save 250,000 lives in the next decade.
SkinVision is a tool that takes control over your skin health. Designed to provide accurate and timely skin cancer detection, along with the most reliable personalized skin health advice and health path recommendation. The center of the service is the SkinVision app, which is a regulated medical device that merges AI technology with the expertise of skin health professionals and dermatologists. SkinVision is a service where you have the option to address your most immediate concerns, learn what steps you should take next, understand your skin risk profile and introduce the most intelligent skin health regime to your seasonal rhythm.
Patients with health complaints often have little choice but to call their GP practice for advice. At the same time, many GP practices face staff shortages and a high workload. The same applies to secondary care. When the knowledge of a specialist is needed, the GP often has no option but to refer a patient to the hospital. While much specialist knowledge can also be shared remotely. This causes healthcare providers to spend a lot of time on low-urgent care questions and administrative tasks, while patients have to go to the GP-practice or hospital for questions that can also be answered remotely . This leaves less room for what health care professionals do best: providing person-centered care for patients who need it most.
Quin connects patients and professionals on its digital healthcare platform. The Quin-platform empowers patients to take more care into their own hands and reduces the workload for healthcare professionals. The platform does this through a variety of connected digital tools. This starts with a symptom checker that, thanks to an adaptive questionnaire and extensive medical database, gives patients insight into the possible causes of their symptoms and the appropriate follow-up steps. In addition, the platform also supports contact with the practice, via chat and the ability to schedule a (video) consultation. In addition, the platform makes specialist knowledge accessible in general practice, allowing patients to stay under the GP’s treatment whenever possible. Saving valuable time and costs in secondary care.

Pathology is crucial in the diagnosis of many diseases, such as cancer. If a doctor suspects cancer, a biopsy can be taken to assess the cells under the microscope. This assessment by a pathologist helps to make the best treatment plan. Pathology labs have relied on this method for over 150 years but are now facing several challenges:

  1. An increasing need for more accuracy and precision diagnostics;
  2. A growing workload due to an increase in the incidence of diseases;
  3. And a growing shortage of pathologists worldwide.

With the introduction of high-resolution imaging and artificial intelligence (AI), pathology labs are moving towards digital pathology. This digitization allows the field to use AI-based algorithms to support pathologists with several diagnostic tasks. Aiosyn develops AI-powered algorithms for cancer and other chronic diseases, which empower pathologists to make their work more accurate, reproducible, and efficient.

This transition towards digital pathology allows them to integrate their AI solutions within existing workflows, ensuring pathologists don’t have to wait for algorithms’ results. Aiosyn’s algorithms make an impact by improving the diagnostic process of complex diseases and supporting the best treatment planning.

Ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide. When a patient suffers from a stroke 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. They say “Time is Brain” because, as you can imagine, treating patients as fast as possible is the most important parameter that influences the outcome of stroke patients. The best way to decide if a patient is eligible for stroke treatment is to look at the images as soon as possible but, unfortunately, the time between stroke and its treatment is still one of the biggest bottlenecks in stroke treatment.
Nicolab developed “Strokeviewer” to save critical time-to-treatment, combining AI and a unique cloud environment. When a suspected stroke patient receives a scan, their data is sent directly to the cloud where their smart algorithms can instantly detect if there is a stroke. To reduce the time to diagnosis, StrokeViewer provides immediate information to physicians’ mobile devices: anytime, anywhere. StrokeViewer sends the images to the right centers instantly, saving critical time that can change patient outcomes. With StrokeViewer they want to eliminate elements between patients and their treatments, empowering physicians to provide every patient with the right treatment in time.
For diagnosis of bacterial infections hospitals are currently dependent on bacterial culture, a 100-year-old technique requiring several days, and often weeks, to diagnose an infection. This long waiting time is problematic, especially for patients with severe or life-threatening infections, as prompt treatment can be critical to their survival. The long waiting time causes bad outcomes for patients, long hospital stays in which infections become more severe, and high associated healthcare costs. Additionally, as doctors currently often need to act before a diagnosis is known, it leads to the overuse of antibiotics, contributing to the rising global threat of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
Inbiome has developed the revolutionary “Molecular Culture” test, a rapid test which can diagnose any bacterial infection in under 4 hours. The “Molecular Culture” detects bacteria by their DNA, and is not only faster, but produces results with even higher sensitivity and specificity than traditional culture. For patients, this means that infections can be treated quicker with often better outcomes. Also, lengths of hospital stays can be reduced, leading to cost savings and improved patient satisfaction. Thirdly, doctors can make more informed decisions about the use of antibiotics, helping to prevent the overuse of these drugs and preserve their effectiveness.
The workload for radiologists is ever increasing due to growth in the amount of imaging exams requested. Simultaneously, many patients would benefit from a faster and more accurate diagnosis supported by an advanced radiology report. For both prostate cancer and dementia patients there is ample opportunity for artificial intelligence to back the radiologists in their job and allow them to deliver insights faster and of even higher quality.
Quantib develops artificial intelligence software for radiologists. Their software analyzes medical images to deliver insights which are acquired faster, quantified and more detailed than is currently possible with the naked eye. They have two FDA cleared and CE marked software packages supporting radiologists worldwide; Quantib® ND and Quantib® Prostate, supporting radiologists in their tasks of analyzing brain and prostate MRIs respectively.
Accelerated aging of population, chronic shortage of physicians (and nurses) and dramatically rising healthcare costs require innovative solutions in healthcare. Technological solutions contribute to the right care at the right time by the right person. By activating informal caregivers, by preventing unnecessary visits, (re)admissions and inpatient days and by replacing manual measurements, 24/7 monitoring leads to more effective and efficient care.
SmartQare is a start-up company offering medical grade biomarkers measurement and analysis for use in home, in-hospital, and care institutions. It has developed viQtor, a CE class IIa (MDR) 24/7 IoT monitoring solution for remote patient care. Using a Direct-to-Cloud connection, viQtor streams (near)real-time information to a platform supporting trend analyses and clinical decision making, driving down costs while improving quality of care. viQtor is worn on the upper arm, it works everywhere, just out-of-the-box and fully autonomous. By measuring vital signs, remotely, optically (PPG) and non-invasively, viQtor provides patient data to the right caregiver at the right time. In addition, it offers accurate fall detection, activity monitoring, satellite positioning (GNSS), and a personal help button. viQtor offers the solution for healthcare organizations to become more productive and efficient, offering a solution for growing staff shortages and soaring costs.
Commercial messenger apps are rapidly emerging in clinical practice. This makes it more important now than ever to properly protect patient data. That is why they have developed a secure collaboration app that is 100% reliable. Their mission is to let health care practitioners connect with each other to discuss challenging cases, share the latest news and stay informed when a patient needs extra attention.
Siilo is a secure medical messaging app that connects healthcare professionals to one another,empowering them to seek advice and collaborate on patient cases with their trusted network — no matter their location. Today, Siilo is the largest medical network in Europe with over 450k members who, to date, have exchanged over +1 billion messages.
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Karel Steur MD

Karel Steur

M.D. Podcast host,
Co-founder De Special Social Club

Bryan Berger

Healthcare Business Director,
Board of Innovation