We asked Pipra AG, one of the 2021 >>venture>> winners of our Health & Nutrition Vertical to tell us a little bit more about themselves, their plans for the future and how they got started in the business of postoperative complications prevention.
Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?
Postoperative delirium is a devastating complication after surgery where patients experience cognitive problems. And it's incredibly common: 20% of people over 60 years of age experience it after surgeries such as knee and hip replacements. Often it's the beginning of dementia, with 41% still suffering long-term cognitive decline twelve months after their surgery. The problem is that once the symptoms arise, it's too late – there is no treatment. The good news is that prevention is extremely effective but too costly to deploy for every patient. We've developed AI-based software that identifies high-risk patients before they have surgery. It allows for targeted prevention which hugely improves patient outcomes as well as reducing costs for hospitals.
What is something you wish you knew when you started putting together your business?
It would have been rather convenient to know about COVID before it all kicked off. But joking aside, putting together a business is a marathon and not a sprint. So it's worth putting in place sustainable working practices right from the beginning.
What plans do you have for your startup in the next several months?
We're just finishing our seed funding round. This means it's time to scale, scale, scale! So we'll be hiring (shameless plug: if you think you're a good fit, send us an email!), expanding our sales and also getting started on building the next version of our product.
When did you decide you wanted to launch a startup tackling postoperative complications and what is the first thing you did?
We met at a hackathon in April 2019, and each of us wanted to do something impactful in healthcare. Our backgrounds and perspectives were vastly different: Nayeli is a medical doctor and anaesthetist who has seen many cases of delirium. John is a serial entrepreneur who was working on an Alzheimer's project at the time and Ben is a scientist with a PhD from Oxford who was looking for a technical challenge. What we had in common was that we each had experienced cases of delirium in our families. So we teamed up, and the first thing we did was identify and confirm postoperative delirium as an enormous unmet need. We interviewed now well over 200 individual stakeholders – patients and relatives, surgeons, anaesthetists and hospital administrators.
What role do you see your startup playing in the industry within the next 5 years?
We aim to become the standard of care for preoperative risk screening and prevent as many cases of delirium as possible. Patients should be leaving the hospital healthier than when they arrived.