The Ulster University (UU) team is leading WP2 (Technical piloting and validation) in the IT4Anxiety project. UU has guided members of the Validation Committee to cover an existing partner vacancy within the project with the most suitable start-ups, having or developing technology solutions in mental health, to fulfil the rapidly changing needs of the IT4Anxiety project.
From October to December 2020, UU encouraged start-ups located in 7 regions across the EU to apply: Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, UK (Northern Ireland and Scotland), and Luxembourg. We received a total of 23 applications which proceeded to the first filter process of the validation committee (start-up with the majority of votes becomes the winner). After that filtering process was completed, a total of 12 start-ups progressed to the in-depth filter stage where further information was requested from candidates and a more exhaustive evaluation with more details was considered.
The Validation Committee is a wide-ranging group across the EU partnership comprised of experts in finance, innovation, technology/engineering, psychology/psychiatry, and project management. When carrying out this “In-Depth filter” process the validation committee assessed four key areas for each start-up: the opportunities, the risks, the alignment with the IT4Anxiety project, and the Technology Readiness Level (TRL). We used as reference start-ups closely related to candidates that are currently up and running to compare (such as Headspace, Empatica, Psious, MediSafe, and Interaxon Inc MUSE). To assess opportunities and risks we used Angel investors methods, scorecard valuation methods and risk factor summation methods respectively.
The valuation process ran from January to March 2021 with several meetings held The members of the validation committee ordered all the start-up candidates from the most suitable to the least suitable using as a first reference the perceived risk, then the perceived opportunity and finally the TRL.
Finally, the Validation committee decided to invite seven out of twelve start-ups to join the project and the first four start-ups cover the partner vacancy available with funding. The names of the winners will be disclosed very soon and we hope to receive them within our partnership by June 2021.