Shimon Eckhouse has founded close to twenty companies in twenty years and is considered the guru of Israel’s medical devices arena. Today, he heads Alon Medtech, a medical technology incubator which receives funding from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy. The incubator invests in a host of promising technologies, including in the braintech space.
Ahead of the upcoming BrainTech 2015 Conference – a “global brainstorm” bringing together the world’s foremost experts on braintech, including entrepreneurs, investors, physicians, researchers and government leaders, we spoke with Eckhouse to get his perspective on the global braintech industry:
“Very interesting things are happening right now in the medical devices arena and its application to braintech,” says Eckhouse. “Recent research – and I’m talking about research studies published in the past few months – are showing the advantages of certain medical devices in the treatment of strokes, for example. For the first time, research shows that the benefits of these medical devices for patients are greater than those of medicines. This is real big news, and a potential game changer for the braintech medical devices arena as a whole.”
The need for these solutions is acute. Ischemic strokes are the number one cause of death in China today, and number three in the U.S. according to Eckhouse. They also cause immense suffering. In addition, treatment of strokes is extremely costly for the health industry, and the financial toll for society as a whole is immense.
Eckhouse has invested in the past in breakthrough brain technologies, continues investing today and will continue to invest in the future. He is co-founder and Chairman at Rapid Medical, which develops neurovascular medical devices for the treatment of strokes. There are several other braintech startups in the Alon Medtech portfolio. BrainMARC, for example, is an early-stage startup developing wearable EEG-based tools for mental evaluation. The company’s goal is to have its technology serve as a tool for early evaluation for pharmaceutical treatment of depression, with additional applications including rehabilitation guidance, ADHD evaluation, prediction of migraine attacks and more.
What does Eckhouse look for when scouting for the next breakthrough start-up in braintech? “By far the best indicator of the success of an idea is the team behind it,” he says. “If I’m impressed with the team and their track record, that’s the most important thing. This is followed by the market potential, and the idea.”
Eckhouse will delve deeper into his philosophy of investing in braintech startups on March 12th on a panel entitled BrainLaunch! Starting & Incubating Neurotech Companies at BrainTech 2015.