Innovators Profile: Timo Heikkilä Brings Connectivity Between People and Medicine
Here at Vertical, we are excited about supporting brilliant ideas and brilliant people who make a change in the world. There is nothing better, but uplifting startups who are transforming society with the help of innovation and technology. That is why we have started showcasing founders from startups we’ve worked with. Meet our featured hero.
Name: Timo Heikkilä
Startup name: Popit
Product/service description in one sentence: Helps patients make sure they are on track with their medication.
Why you do what you do?
One of our founders is an orthopedic surgeon. One time when we were discussing the unsolved problems of healthcare, he mentioned that he prescribes medications to patients after an operation, only to notice that many of the patients do not take their pills – mostly because they don’t remember. As a result of this, the patient has to in many cases be rehospitalized and be operated again. All of this was perfectly avoidable, but still, it was happening and causing a lot of problems for the patient and the healthcare system.
Why in this day and age was it still not possible to track pills? That’s the question we asked ourselves. The solution we came up with was surprisingly simple and elegant: the majority of solid drugs in the world come in pill blisters, which together with the pill-taking event have characteristics that can be measured with off-the-shelf sensors. We started working on a prototype soon after and now the product is on the market.
How Popit is different from the competition, what makes you special?
Popit’s solution is unique for a few reasons. We use proprietary detection technology and do not require changes to the pill blister. You simply clip on the Popit Sense device onto a regular pill sheet and the pills are “connected”. Pill extraction is detected automatically and the user does not need to input anything into the app or modify the blister in any way. It’s a smart, convenient way to stay on track with your own or a loved one’s medications.
How was your time in Vertical? What was the most valuable?
Vertical has been very helpful in making connections that we would have otherwise missed. Through Vertical we have also received a lot of useful support from Samsung, for example in the form of all the latest Galaxy & Gear devices to test our app with. A startup usually does not have the resources to acquire these kinds of tools that are crucial when developing for Android.
What are you up to? What’s next for Popit?
We started shipping our product to first consumer customers in August and are starting a collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company, a pharmacy chain and also with an insurance company. We are also raising more capital to further strengthen our portfolio, scale up sales and carry on our mission to make medication connected.
What piece of advice/wisdom would you share with those who want to make an impact in the world, real the changemakers of tomorrow?
Think big enough and keep asking questions. There are many Big Problems that still go unsolved, and they might hide in plain sight.
We are seeking startups solving global societal challenges through technology. Here at Vertical, we are all about supporting brilliant ideas and brilliant people to change the world. Our core focus is in areas where technology can improve the quality of people’s lives in the most significant ways, such as wellbeing, health, closing the gap when it comes to accessibility and diversity. We are offering startups a tailor-made part-time program for validating their product/solution, making their service offering more compelling, strengthening go-to-market strategy with a help of Samsung technology, as well as developing a demo with Samsung.