awards

uMotif wins Cisco Big Awards 2013

Caroline Baldwin

Digital health startup uMotif has won the Cisco's BIG (British Innovation Gateway) Awards 2013, which were announced at Cisco’s new innovation centre, IDEALondon, on 14 November.

The winner received a cheque of $100,000, in a total prize package of $200,000 which includes 12 months of mentoring and advice from Cisco and its partners, including PR, marketing, HR and legal services from Bird & BirdDNX, Right Management and Octopus Communications.

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uMotif is a digital health company which allows users to keep track of their health via mobile and web applications. The company plans to white-label the platform to healthcare providers, GP surgeries, hospitals, nutritionists and care homes.

Bruce Hellman, co-founder of uMotif, said people with long-term medical conditions spend 8,700 hours managing it themselves and only three hours with a clinician – the uMotif platform allows people to share their data with care professionals to improve treatments, save lives and reduce healthcare costs. 

During a live Dragon’s Den-style pitch, the six finalists presented to a panel of judges which included Cisco UK CEO Phil Smith, Snap Fashion founder Jenny Griffiths, Right Management managing director Ian Symes, and Bird & Bird senior associate for computer and IT Law Barry Jennings.

It is the second year Cisco has hosted the awards, which saw Whisk.com and Actual Experience secure second and third positions. 

Last year, fashion application Snap Fashion, which scans retailers’ websites to help users find items of clothing, won the prestigious first place position.

Digital health market to explode

On winning the award, Hellman said: “I’m ecstatic. This will be transformative for the business. All the help, advice and support from Cisco and the partners will make a huge difference.”

The company plans to spend the money on technology development, as well as on sales and marketing to help scale up the product. “And we will sensibly keep a bit as contingency,” he said.

We’re at the stage where digital health is about to start exploding

Bruce Hellman, uMotif

uMotif is 14 months old and plans to launch in January 2014 by going straight into Parkinson’s and Diabetes trials with seven neurologists and 2,000 diabetes patients.

“We’re at the stage where digital health is about to start exploding,” said Hellman, who predicts the market will hit its tipping point in the next two to four years.

He said "quantified self" is a growing trend for people to track themselves in everyday life, thanks to the popularity of Fuel Band and Fit Bit. This, combined with NHS England and the government calling for open data which makes the market more transparent, will aid in the tipping point.

“All these trends are happening at the same time and we’re taking away the barriers,” he said. “But it will take a few years. There’s not going to be a Snapchat in health – it’s not going to go from zero to everyone overnight.”

One of Hellman’s goals is to get to the stage where uMotif is prescribed along with medication. He said Welldoc in the US is prescribing its platform, and he wants to get to that stage in the UK.

Cisco judge Jennings, from Bird & Bird, said the Big Awards were about British innovation, and uMotif was being innovative in the NHS. “You can’t get more British than the NHS,” he said.

The competition is part of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (Big) initiative. Big is a five-year initiative to spark sustainable and scalable growth of innovative high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


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