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8 August, 2014 - 07:20 By News Desk

Healthcare startup in global Saving Lives challenge final


An Accelerate Cambridge technology startup developing a fingerprint scanner that could revolutionise global healthcare is a finalist in the prestigious Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge.

SimPrints is one of only 30 global finalists, from over 500 applications, selected for the final stage of the challenge, which sees the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the Gates Foundation invest millions of dollars a year in the most promising innovations to combat maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world.

SimPrints’ biometric fingerprint scanner could help to solve a long-standing problem in the delivery of mobile services in healthcare in developing countries, where 70 per cent of maternal and infant deaths occur annually during the perinatal period.

Community health workers are often unable to carry out the four antenatal visits recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to challenges in patient identification, access to health records and visit verification.

The mission of the eight-strong SimPrints team, since their launch earlier this year, has been to accurately connect people to their digital records via a simple fingerprint scan.

The company’s light-weight, durable and cost-effective portable biometric scanner and software integrates with any mobile health (mHealth) application to allow for real-time identification and access to patient records via fingerprint identification.

SimPrints’ new technology will tackle current problems like misidentification caused by common community names or unknown dates-of-birth and the limitations of paper-based health records - prone to loss or damage and often difficult to access.

With SimPrints fingerprint identification, community health workers will be able to immediately and reliably access patients’ medical history and verify visits with time stamps and GPS location data, which will improve antenatal care, health conditions for mother and child and health worker accountability.

The SimPrints team participated in Accelerate Cambridge, a three month programme for new ventures run by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Less than two years out from launch, the programme has accelerated nearly 40 startups, several of which have collectively attracted over £1 million investment funding.

SimPrints research director, Dan Storisteanu said Accelerate Cambridge had proved invaluable in helping the team prepare for the Saving Lives challenge: “Accelerate has been a tremendous help preparing for this competition, including organising mock pitches and stress testing the fundamentals of our proposal. We're privileged and excited to take our ideas to the heart of the global health community,” he said.

Accelerate Cambridge director Hanadi Jabado said SimPrints deserved its success: “I’ve always been impressed by their devotion to finding a solution to this complex health problem when they could probably make a lot of money in the corporate world. They are a very inspiring venture to work with and I’m proud of their success in the challenge.”

SimPrints now receives a seed funding grant from the Saving Lives challenge to fund the next stage of the business. The company will also compete with the other 29 finalists to win the overall competition.

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