|Courtesy of Harria, Creative Commons BY-SA 1.0.|
GE Healthcare ($GE) is readying space in Helsinki to host new startups, according to a report--a strategic way to tap into new technology as it continues to expand globally.
The tech blog ArcticStartup reported that GE wants to free up some space in its multiple-building complex in Helsinki to host related healthcare tech startups at different early stages. Didier Deltort, president of GE Healthcare Finland, is quoted as saying some would pay rent, but others would not, depending on their development stage. His mission: to get entrepreneurs and GE execs talking and collaborating.
"The goal is to create a manageable chaos on the site," Deltort told ArcticStartup. "I want the people to meet my teams at the cafeteria, in the sauna at the gym. You do not innovate if you do not collaborate."
Deltort is quoted as noting that GE does not seek to make money on the deal. Rather, it is a way to build relationships, identify new technology (in healthcare but also sensor, wireless, cloud services and other areas), and eventually invest in what the hosted entrepreneurs are building by way of GE Ventures, GE's investment arm.
FierceMedicalDevices could not reach GE Healthcare for comment on deadline.
GE Healthcare, a major maker of diagnostic and imaging equipment, has made a concerted effort to develop new business in markets outside of the U.S. and Europe. Just recently, for example, it sealed a deal with a technology R&D center in India to develop new med tech products. And it, like many med tech companies, continues to pursue new growth in China.
Developing a way to tap into Finnish talent makes sense in that larger context. The country has a high-tech base to tap into that can fuel growth in nearby countries such as Russia where healthcare modernization continues. Helsinki Business Hub, a business developer funded by the public sector and private partners, noted that more than 300 companies employing 5,000 people do business in various life sciences sectors in Greater Helsinki. The region also hosts 7 universities, 7 universities of applied sciences and a number of research centers, Helsinki Business Hub explained, so GE Healthcare will be smartly leveraging its space to tap into some of that entrepreneurial and research talent more than it previously has.
GE Healthcare is also looking to the long term with this plan. Opening a startup/incubator space would be like shooting fish in a barrel, giving execs a look at something promising with minimal investment or geographical quest. Success will take time, but GE is clearly willing to bet the wait will pay off.