History of Upgraded

Upgraded is a non-profit association for health & wellbeing startups and innovations in Finland, founded in 2012. Our goal is to make sure that startup innovations have an established role in society as a source of health and wellbeing solutions. No good health innovation should be lost due to the lack of knowledge about it. We build bridges between the different pieces of startups, corporates, public sector & universities. We believe that the industry thrives on cooperation and everyone will reach their goals faster and easier when working together.

We are also the organizers of Health100, an unconference for the Nordic health scene, and the creators of Upgraded Life Festival – the premier startup-driven health innovation event in the Nordics.

Upgraded Journey

2012

  • Benchmarking the Mobile Gaming Industry the idea to create a similar grassroot-driven association for Health & Wellness startups is born - HealthSPA (now Upgraded).
  • First Startup members join the activities, such as Beddit, Netmedi (now Kaiku), HeiaHeia (now Hintsa Performance), HealthPuzzle (now YOU-app/Fifth Corner), NaturVention (now Naava), PulseON, Omegawave, Framgo, Firstbeat.

2013

  • The first open HealthSPA event is organized with the support of EIT Digital.
  • HealthSPA organizes the first Health & Wellness startup pitching competition in Finland.
  • First thematic event on go-to-market to USA is organized in cooperation with USA Embassy and AmCham.
  • HealthSPA initiates discussions for a health track at Slush and conceptualises and curates the program.
  • We concepted and facilitated the first monthly health meetup, which later became Health Tuesday. The event was sponsored by Sitra.

2014

  • Having seen the need to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs, we decided to organize Upgraded Life Festival to unite the industry. When the event gathered more than 500 people at Open Innovation House in Otaniemi, the market need became apparent. 
  • In cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub and Team Finland, we were requested to curate the program, host and support Finnish healthcare companies at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
  • Initiated collaboration with FiHTA (now Healthtech Finland) to build a bridge between large and small healthcare companies.  
  • We curated the Health 2.0 Europe Wellness Track program in London, showcasing international and Finnish wellness companies such as Wellmo and YOU-app.
  • Organized the first ever health startup event at the Meilahti hospital area, bringing together 270 medical professionals, researchers, corporate representatives and entrepreneurs.
  • Lobbied and curated the Slush health track for the second year.  
  • Supported the organization of a China-Finland Strategic Alliance trip to Shanghai.

2015

  • First financing for the association from TEM, which allowed us to hire the first paid employee. 
  • Organized for the first time a startup area at Lääkäripäivät & eHealth Fair with e.g. Kaiku, Cockoo Workout, Heimo, Nursebuddy, 720 and Wellmo.
  • First Finnish delegation at Wearable Technology conference (Munich) for Suunto, Omegawave, Beddit, Modz, MetaWatch, Firstbeat, Clothing+.
  • Health Bootcamp idea accelerator program for researchers and student in cooperation with ThinkCompany.
  • Support to Team Finland for Finnish healthcare companies at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
  • Thematic event on IPR for members.
  • Member event in Tampere, Kuopio, Oulu, Jyväskylä , Turku 
  • ULF moved to Biomedicum at the Meilahti Hospital to further engage doctors and researchers.
  • Conceptualization and implementation of Kertomalla Paranee project for Novartis, HUS, Sitra, HBH, UPM.
  • Fitness pioneer breakfast series.
  • Public Health Booster event in cooperation with Vantaa City and Laurea.
  • Slush 2015 Health track and startup curator.
  • Improving Wellbeing at Work, reverse pitching event for corporates in cooperation with Sitra.

2016

  • Initiators of the Nordic Health Investment Day, organized in cooperation with Arctic Startup and supported by Sitra and Finpro.
  • Curator of the Slush health track, facilitator and organizer of the Health Engine Room event inside of Slush.
  • Supporting organizers of multiple health related hackathons with e.g. Fazer, Tieto, Yle etc.
  • Upgraded Life Festival moved back to a two-days event format reaching 1100+ attendees.
  • Upgraded Life Talks 1: Solving Hard Problems in Healthcare, Startup Approach.
  • Upgraded Life Talks 2: Solution LAB, Comprehensive Cancer Center (HUS).
  • Upgraded Life Talks 3: Big Deal, How Startup can Collaborate with Public Sector & Corporates.
  • Upgraded Life Talks 4: Designing in Health & Wellbeing, Patient-Centric Solutions.

2017

  • Collaborated with Lääkäripäivät to bring startups to the core of the event, presenting e.g. Popit and Klinic Healthcare.
  • Initiated a multi-year project with Vantaan Invalidit and Laurea to educate social- and healthcare professionals about new digital solutions that improve care.
  • Initiated Pilotit Pyörimään with Laurea, Metropolia and Think Company, to build a systematic model for students to commercialize their ideas.
  • Founded the Nordic Health Export Task Force together with Business Sweden, Swecare, Oslo MedTech and Promote Iceland to build a systematic model for supporting healthcare companies to internationalize.
  • Curated the healthcare side event program for Slush Singapore, on the request of and financed by City of Helsinki.
  • Supported and advised STM in the curation and facilitation of a public & private healthcare side event of Slush.
  • Carried out the Health Startup Industry Research.

2018

  • In order to streamline communication, the association, formerly known as HealthSPA, is renamed to Upgraded.
  • Upgraded Life Festival organised for the last time, followed by the creation of the new Health100 event.
  • Co-organised a delegation visit to Israel, together with the Nordic Center for Sustainable Healthcare and Afeka Institute of circular engineering and economy in collaboration with the Swedish embassy, the Danish embassy, the Finnish embassy and the Norwegian embassy.
  • Co-organized the health side event of Slush.

2019

  • Begun a new collaboration with the City of Helsinki (NewCo), Aalto University, Health Capital Helsinki and Terkko Health Hub to co-organize Health Talks -events and the Helsinki Startup Day.
  • Mapped out the health innovation ecosystems in major Finnish cities, in collaboration with the local health hubs.
  • Joined the Allied for Startups -network and visited the European Parliament in Brussels.
  • Initiated the Future of Healthcare – Sustainable and Smart today -project, together with the Nordic Center of Sustainable Healthcare (NCSH) and Danish Technical University, funded by  the Swedish Energy Agency and Nordic Innovation.
  • Organized the health side event of Slush together with STM, Business Finland and THL.

2020

  • New edition of the Health Startup Industry Research will be published.
  • As part of the Ecosystem Mapping Project, to map out and connect Nordic health ecosystems, including Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Skåne and Gothenburg, Health Ecosystem maps of Nordic cities will be published, funded by Uusimaa Regional Council.
  • The second ever Health100 -event was organised in Fall 2020 as an online unconference.
  • Collaboration with Finnish & Nordic health hubs will be developed and enhanced.

2021

  • Digital Maps of Tampere, Turku, and Oulu were created.
  • Participation in Nordic Scalers Program with a project “Toolbox for growth companies on sustainable healthcare”
  • Study of the Startup Needs conducted for Health Capital Helsinki,
  • Study of Testbeds, Public Procurement, and Regulatory Compliance conducted for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland,
  • StartUp your HealthBiz event organized for the City of Helsinki,
  • Smart Solutions in Clinical Applications event organized together with Flanders Investment and Trade,
  • Beginning of the Health Use Case (HUSCA) project - 6 month project funded by Nordic Innovation.

2022

  • Finalization of the Health Use Case (HUSCA) project - 6-month project funded by Nordic Innovation.
  • Digital Map of Kuopio.
  • Diversity Study for Health Capital Helsinki,
  • Finnish Health Ecosystem research for Task Force Healthcare,
  • Frontiers of Digital Health Technology event - event for Swiss Hospital directors organized together with Comentum and the Swiss Embassy in Sweden,
  • B2B meeting project for the delegates of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA).

History of Upgraded