Víctor Sánchez
CEO
Pragmatec
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Pragmatec: Connecting the Healthcare Ecosystem

By Alfonso Núñez | Mon, 01/24/2022 - 09:50

Q: How has Pragmatec changed its business model in recent years?

 

A: Pragmatec worked in Mexico as a technology transfer company for 10 years. During the past five, we have specialized in the healthcare industry, specifically on medical devices. We noticed the difficulties of this industry and in 2021, Pragmatec began increasing its networking and matchmaking events in the innovation ecosystem.

 

Despite focusing on a national strategy, Pragmatec reached other countries, mainly in South America where we have identified several startups. We held conferences addressing regulation, market and financing of medical devices companies, with over 450 registrants in Latin America.

 

Q: How did the pandemic affect Pragmatec’s operations in 2021 and how did the company perform overall?

 

A: In February 2021, we started organizing monthly meet and greets in collaboration with Hacking Health Mexico. Throughout the year, we joined incubators, accelerators, investment funds and corporate ventures. We had international collaborations with the UK Embassy, China and Tec de Monterrey. These international events allowed us to understand what was going on in other ecosystems around the world. Over 1,000 people attended our events in 2021.

 

Mexico is one of the leading countries in medical device manufacturing but we are still behind on technology development. That is what we want to change. Telemedicine and artificial intelligence in health are the biggest trends in Mexico.

 

Q: What has been the health sector’s role in the consolidation of Guadalajara as a tech hub?

 

A: Guadalajara has the most structured, solid ecosystem in Mexico. Jalisco has a solid software and hardware tradition, both in companies and universities. Besides the trained staff, the state has an important presence in the health sector. For instance, biomedicine has experienced good synergy in Jalisco, combining expertise in software and hardware with a transversal line, which is healthtech. UVM, Tec de Monterrey, UDG and UAG offer biomedicine engineering programs, with an important number of graduates and a sturdy infrastructure.

 

With the recent opening of the Medical Device Innovation Center by the Biomedical Engineering Cluster, R&D is growing very well in Jalisco.

 

Q: What strategies does Pragmatec implement to help convert an idea into a commercial product?

 

A: Pragmatec connects researchers and medical devices startups to help them develop their technologies through events, training and matchmaking. We also use a platform called Techmatch, which allows us to connect players. We have 80 new medical devices projects tracked across Mexico.

 

Q: What is the biggest area of opportunity you have detected on the road to innovation?

 

A: There are five main topics that every startup should address, especially medical device startups. First is innovation; if one identifies a problem and offers an original, technological solution, they are on a good path. Here, intellectual property becomes important. Regulation is also key in health matters, which require third-party validation through a good, practical regulatory scheme.

 

The market is also key. It is necessary to understand how users will use the technology, who is going to buy it and why. Finally, investment. There are technologies that take a long time to develop and it is important to have the correct financing and investment structure.

 

Q: What is the most challenging part of building a healthtech ecosystem?

 

A: Money is important but it is not the main challenge. Funds usually do not invest in projects with a long ROI time, complicating the situation for startups, which end up moving to Asia, the UK or the US to finance their projects. However, money is not the decisive factor to develop the industry; the main challenge is connectivity between players. The Mexican medical device ecosystem has everything to grow but it needs its players to connect. This is why we need these kinds of events and activities, to spread information.

 

Q: What role could the public sector play in the development of the health ecosystem?

 

A: Increasing resources significantly would certainly help but it is not something that will happen in the near future. The role that the government could play is helping players to connect, boosting the health industry. Pragmatec’s role is also to connect and link entrepreneurs, startups, investors and big companies.

Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst