Please introduce yourself in a few lines for our readers.
I’m an Industrial Engineer (University of Palermo) and one of the founders of QWINCE since 2013 and Securproject.it (Italian subsidiary) founded in 2007, an academic spin-off of the University of Palermo. My background is centered on auditing (DNV) and large consulting companies (Accenture and Deloitte) for pharmaceutical and life sector industry. Based in London, I’m in charge of leading and defining the overall company vision, technology and product strategy with a specific focus on business development.
What is Qwince? Please tell us more about the core business and the mission of Qwince
Qwince is a digital innovation company based in Italy and the UK. Our vision is to be a high quality European boutique. We provide solutions that enhance and secure our customers’ digital life. Since 2007, we target SMEs and corporates keen to apply new technologies to their business processes. Our main focus is the pharmaceutical and life science sector where we design and implement innovative solutions based on mobile and wearable devices (even medical devices). Qwince involves about great 20 resources split between the headquarters in London and the laboratory in Palermo. We think that innovation starts small to be effective, that’s why we recruited highly skilled and talented professionals and engineers working on cutting-edge innovation, security and compliance with a high focus on service quality.
What are you focusing on right now with Qwince? What are your next steps?
At the moment, our main projects are Alchimya and Neuralya. Alchimya is a customizable digital framework for patient engagement and medication adherence, which combines education, rewarding, monitoring and screening to motivate the patients, while using digital health devices to collect reliable data and improve the outcomes on therapy effectiveness. Alchimya is a platform where we can integrate data from different medical devices. Our main integration is with Cardiocity RhythmPad, an innovative medical device, able to perform a cardiac screening in 30 seconds. Neuralya is a neuromarketing solution which integrates into one single platform best-in-class biometric sensors and wearable technologies to evaluate rational, emotional and instinctual reactions providing key consumer insights on behavior, preferences and attention. The objective is to discover implicit and automatic processes which determine the decision making process.
This product has a wide range of applications: advertising effectiveness analysis (for ads, videos…), Shelf analysis, Sales techniques analysis, Commercial effectiveness, Training/Pitch calibration, User Experience analysis (for web and mobile apps), User Testing analysis… Our next steps will imply a continuous research and development activity to extend the set of sensors we can work on and evolve our products.
Working with Qwince you deal with innovation in the European Market. What is your point of view on the European innovation ecosystem? Are there any insights you would like to share concerning the startup or corporate context?
Everyday, we face the challenges of the European Market and mostly of the UK market which is even tougher. The European innovation ecosystem is extremely fragmented. I actually don’t think we can talk about a real European ecosystem. What I can see is that every country is working to define its own innovation strategy and supporting its startups.
The European funding programs can obviously help, but I cannot see a real common base strategy. Moreover, I think that we are assisting to a strongly financial-oriented approach to innovation. Every startup looks for venture capitalist and investors in order to raise enough money to prepare a great exit. This is extremely dangerous for the European innovation strategy, intellectual protection and development of European know-how. In my opinion, we are creating a generation of startuppers with no entrepreneurship vision but only with a financial-centric strategy. I do think that we need to develop a real European culture of the innovation and entrepreneurship.
What do you think the European ecosystem needs right now to further favor the diffusion of innovation?
I think that we have to rethink the way we conceive innovation. It’s time to innovate how we innovate and how we evaluate the innovation. There are so many ideas and startups around Europe, but how many of them are really innovative? How do we measure or evaluate the innovation and how can we target the really innovative ideas, avoiding waste of resources on companies that are only trying to attract an investor? I do think we need an education process to innovation, able to focus on research and development and high quality projects.
We at TWIST are all about synergies, and we are currently working with our Stockholm partner Frogleap on the E-Health vertical. Are there any promising and disruptive projects Qwince has worked on in this vertical?
Frogleap is one of the most interesting accelerators in Europe to fuel startups in E-health. In our experience, the accelerator and the right environment play an important role in the success of an idea.Healthcare is our main market and, in our vision, Alchimya will be the starting point for our next products’ generation. We keep scouting new devices and new solutions to enhance and support the medication adherence and therapy effectiveness.Wearables in healthcare remote patient monitoring and information generated by the mobile phones are key aspects for the healthcare of the future. The adherence to treatment prescription and therapy effectiveness are key pillars for the future costs savings of healthcare national systems. These two aspects are the pillars for Alchimya and we do think this will be the most promising product for the next years.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Gianmarco. Is there any advice you would like to leave startuppers and wannabe entrepreneurs of the TWIST network about starting and managing a business in Europe?
It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce Qwince to TWIST network. We are a small company coming from one of the most complex areas of Italy. We decided to play in the European market and move some resources in the UK, since we know that the innovation market is faster and faster and we need to stay where things are happening. My only suggestion to startuppers and entrepreneurs is to start from your ideas, but to use a lean startup approach to test and settle your company step by step. Validation is a key aspect. Financials are very important but an entrepreneurship vision is critical to build a sustainable business. So, never give up!
TWIST DIGITAL is the H2020 action, under the Startup Europe umbrella,
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Digital and Mobile to web entrepreneurs aiming at scaling up and
competing in the global market around 4 interconnected web
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Europe contributes to the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.
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