Israel, Finland Announce Digital Health Collaboration

The Israel Innovation Authority and the Helsinki Business Hub will provide funding to joint Finnish and Israeli ventures in the fields of digital health, smart mobility, and information and communication technologies

Illustration: Bigstock

The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced Tuesday that it has launched together with the Israel-Europe R&D Directorate (ISERD) a collaboration program between Israel and Finland in the field of digital health.

As part of the collaboration, announced during an event at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv, the IIA and the Helsinki Business Hub called for joint project proposals from Israeli and Finnish digital health companies.

This joint initiative will provide funding and matching services for Finnish and Israeli companies who will partner to co-develop, test, or pilot technologies and services in the fields of digital health, smart mobility, and information and communication technologies. No financial information about the joint venture was disclosed.

In a press statement, the Israel Innovation Authority said, “Israel and Finland are both leading innovation economies with technology and entrepreneurship at their core. Finland ranks among the strongest markets in healthcare technology in the world, with digital health its largest high-tech export – increasing more than five-fold over the last two decades. Finland is one of the first countries in the world to set up a national digital patient data repository covering both the public and private healthcare sectors. A hundred percent population penetration in electronic health records make Finnish health data unique in terms of breadth and depth.”

“We are thrilled to provide this bridge between the pioneering innovation ecosystems of Israel and Finland, in a field that impacts us all: digital health,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority. “Collaboration with Israeli companies will help Finnish start-ups access groundbreaking technologies that support the country’s progressive health policies, protect Finnish citizens’ well-being, and maintain Finland’s status as a global leader in healthcare technology. This is also an extraordinary opportunity for Israeli companies to connect with Finnish leaders in the digital health ecosystem, gain exposure to new cutting-edge technologies, receive support for meaningful innovations, and tap into the Finnish market.”

“Greater Helsinki is a driving force in Finland’s innovation sector, home to 750 health and life sciences companies, where over 80 percent of tech deals occur in our country,” said Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO of Helsinki Business Hub. “Given Israel’s technological prowess, highly skilled workforce, and record on innovation in digital health, we see endless opportunities for fruitful collaboration.”

Welcoming the initiative, Finnish Ambassador-designate to Israel Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen said: “It is an important and exciting leap forward for the cooperation between Finland and Israel as leading innovative countries. We are truly happy to be part of that partnership and will continue promoting similar initiatives in the future – we can certainly see a great potential for that.”

According to a report published on Tuesday by Tel Aviv-based nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central, the rapid growth in the number of Israeli digital health startups in recent years – from 327 companies in 2014 to 537 today – has drawn in new investors and driven investment to a record high of $511 million in 2018.


[Sources: CTech, NoCamels, The Jerusalem Post]