Case Study

EssentialMed Foundation: A stuck innovator

14 pages
December 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1768

Today, 14% of the world’s population (US, Japan and Europe) accounts for over 80% of the medical devices market. Lower income countries (aka the Global South) do not have access to essential medical imaging devices such as X-Ray machines. The main reasons are initial costs, reliability and maintenance. An EPFL-led team of 40 academics and specialists developed a proof-of-concept for a digital radiography machine. It was designed specifically to address the harsh environment and unreliable electrical supply found in the Global South at a tenth of the cost of competitors. Bertrand and Klaus, the two project leaders, have been struggling to find investors to enable their EssentialMed foundation to complete the development and commercialization of the product in Africa. But investors didn’t seem to get it. What were they missing? EssentialMed was nearly out of funds, with its one full-time equivalent employee position at risk. EssentialMed desperately needed to raise additional funds but did it have the right strategy, business model and approach to investors?

Learning Objective

The case can be used to achieve the following learning objectives: 1) How to create and capture value for end users and investors. 2) How to provide access to high capital intensive equipment to low income countries (service instead of product). 3) How to compare and choose financially between different projects (e.g. IRR, NPV, breakeven). 4) How to involve stakeholders in product development (co-creation).

Business Model, Customer Insight, Internal Rate of Return
EssentialMed Foundation, Healthcare, Medical Equipment
Field Research
© 2015
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