In the past year, many startup studios have enjoyed incredible breakthroughs in developing innovative ideas within various industries to create fresh and inventive businesses. With the ever-growing digital landscape ahead of us and the limitless opportunity for entrepreneurs to experiment with new business ideas and unexplored concepts, startup studios are becoming the new norm for launching innovative, solution-oriented companies. Startup studios create valuable new ventures with more speed and agility than any traditional startup model. As such, new studios are pioneering an approach for creating rapid, scalable, and successful entities that pinpoint specific consumer concerns, leading the venture industry and setting a trend never seen before.
In the case of the healthcare industry, many corporations and society overall are recognizing that healthy women offer undeniable economic and societal benefits. The healthcare sector has rapidly advanced into the age of technological integration and personalization, investment, and research. However, innovation in women’s health is severely lagging with unique and distinct healthcare needs that are high priority, and still mostly unmet.
Due to this growth in the ecosystem and many organizations recognizing the enormous value created for improving the lives of women, we were very impressed to hear about impact.51, a new startup studio created by women and for women, located in the heart of Israel. impact.51 is bringing a proven startup studio model to the women’s health sector for the first time. They are co-creating need-matched innovation from scratch to scale to create a critical mass pipeline of ideation and startups that will innovate and reimagine women’s health.
The studio is composed of a group of 4 women Ronell Klingman, Michal Sela, Michal Lebenthal Andreson, and Michal Shalem, located in Israel, and has made history by being the first women’s healthcare startup studio to ever exist. There is more to their story than go-getters looking to shape the world of healthcare for women one innovative idea after the other. This is a spotlight with a unique story that you don't want to miss.
Dr. Michal Sela is a senior international consultant on leadership development and civic engagement with special expertise in gender equality. She is a gender lecturer in MA programs, focusing on translating theoretical approaches into practice, with vast social entrepreneurship experience. Currently, she is working mainly in Europe (Germany, Ukraine, Spain) and has led many projects in Africa and India.
Michal has extensive experience in NGO management as well as driving policy changes. She has previously served as the executive director of the IWN, a nonpartisan women’s rights organization in Israel.
She was the head of the Industry Committee in the Council for the Advancement of Women in Science and Technology in the Ministry of Science and Technology. Michal is also the co-founder and Chair of the Board of NOGAFem, a unique and specialized NGO committed to driving innovation in Women's health unmet needs
Ronell has a deep understanding of science, technology, research & medicine, working with the top 20 multinational pharmaceutical and biotech companies over the last two decades. Ronell combines on-the-ground experience in the world of healthcare innovation with a deep understanding of the global needs and trends in women’s health.
A co-founder of NOGAFem, an NGO that accelerates technological innovation in women's health. Ronell is skilled at establishing strategic global partnerships, as well as connecting to and learning from world-renowned experts, academics, investors & professionals. She is an experienced scientific & grant writer, having published and helped write many scientific publications.
Ronell holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has decades of experience in business & organizational management, particularly in managing workflows & processes. She is adept at facilitating effective team dynamics and relationship building.
Michal Lebenthal Andreson is a design manager and senior strategic leader. She has extensive experience in legal advisory and policy, alongside implemental strategy, applied design and systems thinking, innovation acceleration, and startup ecosystem creation. She loves to unpack complexity, taking challenges from ideation to venture with cross-border multidisciplinary teams.
Michal is also the co-founder and CEO of Think creative, a boutique firm specializing in the world’s most pressing problems. She lectures at several universities in MBA programs. She previously served as the Deputy Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Aliya and Integration.
Michal Shalem is a senior leader and international expert in competitive strategy and innovation. She is a serial business and social entrepreneur. Michal has extensive experience in leading economic mega plans & cross-border collaborative initiatives, developing innovation & startup ecosystems, from idea to investment, and using design thinking & systems thinking tools.
Michal is also the co-founder and CEO of Think Creative, a boutique firm specializing in the world's most pressing problems. She lectures at several universities, in MBA programs.
She served as Jerusalem’s Chief of Staff for over a decade and led Jerusalem 2020, a 5-year plan for competitiveness and economic growth, together with Professor Michael Porter, from Harvard. Michal established “Let’s grow Israel” developing the competitiveness of Israel's periphery.
On July 12, 2022, impact.51 officially launched. Their launch was hosted by monday.com In attendance were notable guests from hospitals, HMOs, femtech startups, VCs, and many others from the ecosystem.
We had the privilege of hearing their background for the first time and getting the inside scoop on what it's like to be the first startup studio to accomplish something on this scale, impacting women's health globally. This is a true success story of building a studio from the heart.
A few years back, Dr. Ronell Klingman, a healthcare professional, and mother to a daughter with chronic illness, was introduced to Dr. Michal Sela at a time when Dr. Klingman was not impressed with women’s healthcare in her local area. For a year they met and brainstormed in hopes to uncover an impact that would last for women through smart and efficient solutions. At the time, Dr. Klingman was experiencing challenges as she stood by her daughter's side during a life-threatening illness, leading to her making the promise of revolutionizing the healthcare system that they were experiencing. In the heat of this moment, Dr. Michal Sela called to give her a now-or-never, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be changemakers for women around the world.
Dr. Ronell and Dr. Michal Sela established their first NGO, NOGAFem, built of a community of over 1100 experts, and healthcare professionals making slow but steady progress towards educating the market about the unmet needs of women’s health. However, that impact was not tangible enough and progress was still slow. As such, they continued to look after other solutions and business models to advance their goals in a scalable manner.
Michal Shalem and Michal Lebenthal Andreson connected and brought to life Think Creative, a boutique strategy firm specializing in complex challenges that have economic and social impacts. Using a unique methodology that they developed, utilizing their expertise in the fields of competitive strategy, design, and systems thinking they tackled challenges such as education, the future workforce, and desertification. In education they led a deep co-creative process with the education ecosystem in Israel, to reimagine learning and develop skills and competencies needed in today's workforce. The result was a holistic roadmap with implementable innovative solutions. This work led to a deep insight that problem-led innovation brings more rapid, aligned, and sustainable change. Because when you pay attention to the beginning of the story you can change the whole story. This put them one step closer to designing impact.51.
Together, the four of them found their dream team for change, Dr. Ronell Klingman and Dr. Michal Sela with Michal Shalem, senior leader and international expert in competitive strategy & innovation, and Michal Lebenthal Andreson, design manager, and senior strategic leader. They combined their expertise, and healthcare experience and recognized the needed disruption in women’s healthcare. Integrating megatrends worldwide to include longevity, personalization, and exponential technology change, to nurture innovation from scratch to scale, impact.51 was born.
These four women are a great example of how an idea reacts to impact. They took real-life problems in their everyday lives and let them drive them to design and execute a startup studio.
The name impact.51 personifies the need to create real impact for 51% of the world’s population. It is ecosystem-wide impact by design, with the startup studio model harnessing the entire healthcare, innovation, and patient community to forge collaboration, strategic partnerships, and problem-led innovative solutions that can be sustainably scaled.
“We firmly believe that in the end, it is all about people. Bringing people together to work on the most pressing problems, is what is exciting! Learning from best practices is key.”
impact.51 is designed to take problems in women's health, and focus on a solution by partnering with those in the field. Through their initiative, they will support and fund startups from the challenge to the venture.
Building startups is no easy task for the faint of heart, it takes bold leaders and a team backing them to spin out startups in the studio model. Impact.51 emphasized to us the idea that no person is on an island and that diversity and inclusion bring magic to the mix. Because each founder has decades of experience, their own skill set, ideas, and resources to offer one another.
“We are united in passion and purpose to reimagine and reroute women’s health, yet diversified in skills and expertise so that we ensure we can bring a well-rounded and diverse offering to the table. Mostly, we are mission-led.”
The team is creating a collaborative community where they rely on ecosystem partnerships and collaboration as key ingredients to utilize for support, guidance, and input to ensure they are aligned and focused. This creates a personalized and tailor-made approach to finding the best solution for the unmet need. For both the startup studio and the startups themselves, network investors assist in the alignment of business models and to continue the progression of startups in the foundry stage.
The key player is an encouraging ecosystem of support, which impact.51 has shown even in their short time operating, that they have a growing level of support. They also lean on each other creating an environment of growth and learning for themselves and future startups.
The life cycle begins by identifying the real unmet needs within women’s healthcare. This includes finding challenging partners that can serve as building blocks of the venture. This is followed by matching thought leaders and entrepreneurs who share similar goals that align with the initial solution. Finally, they can curate a team that has the proper skill set and expertise to co-create solutions. They follow a set of determined criteria and have an ecosystem of investors, industry experts, and innovation experts to assist them in a panel that decides which ideas will move forward.
Once an idea finds itself in the validation stage, it will then enter the venture building stage, also known as Foundry.51. impact.51 compares this process to bamboo due to the intense nurturing equating to rapid growth, much like the intense process of spinning out studios:
“With bamboo, the initial process of watering, nurturing, and providing the right mix of growth ingredients is time-intensive and effort-intensive, but then the shoot sprouts and grows so rapidly that we are in effect jumpstarting innovation that can be rapidly scaled and ready to enter the market.”
While spinning out startup studios is an intense process, it's also a proven model with a great payout, one that impact.51 recognizes will scale women’s health solutions.
Based on their expertise that is woven in with deep knowledge and passion for women's health, the team can conduct three ideation sprints a year. During these ideation sprints, impact.51 will recruit challenge partners such as hospitals, funders, patient groups, and research groups. Followed by curating a multidisciplinary team of innovators, engineers, designers, researchers, and professionals. Continuing in a three to four-month process of ideation and producing an innovative MVP that is ready for pre-seed investment. Best practices are brought together to mentor and nourish six to ten ideas generated by the ideation sprint, however only one to two will make it to the venture builder, Foundry.51. Throughout a calendar year two to three startups will spin out, with plans to have twelve to fourteen startups within five years.
Being able to focus their attention on a few startups a year will allow them to pour intense resources and expertise into their ventures. Through the model, they will be able to have a large-scale impact over their projected five-year plan, following through on their mission to change healthcare, and fast.
Israel remains in the infancy stage of understanding the startup studio model, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in educating the entire ecosystem on the value of problem-led innovation, and the concept of investing time and money into the startup of startups. From the challenge partner perspective, this concept is being fully embraced with enthusiasm.
They are looking for a new type of investor. One that sees the value in investing resources, time, and backing into the ideation phase, while entry into the foundry.51 and market is rapid and aligned. The startup studio model is proven to increase equity and ROI while also shortening the time to exit, but when working with healthcare it is always a complex issue. Additionally, women’s healthcare funding often takes a backseat to other healthcare funding, as well as having to compete with other verticals like Fintech, Cybersecurity, and Foodtech.
“There is a dual challenge in recruiting investors: introducing a new model: the startup studio, and persuading them that women’s health is a worthwhile and attractive investment.”
impact.51 sees an opportunity within these challenges. With their thirst to make a change, they note that while they are entering a complex, under-innovated and under-funded market, that will not stop them in their pursuit to create much-needed solutions for over half the world’s population who are also 80% of the healthcare decision makers and consumers of healthcare.
People create startup studios for a multitude of reasons, and we hope that today's story sparked inspiration inside of you to think big and think about impact. We thank impact.51 for their collaboration with us, as well as their diligence and dedication to women’s health. If you want to stay connected with them, follow them on linked in and check out their website.
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