… especially in the social and health care sectors. Because without digital solutions, current developments in these areas – such as the increasing number of people in need of care or the decreasing number of nursing staff – can no longer be managed.
Therefore, the startup nubedian offers software solutions based on a comprehensive platform, which are adapted to different application areas in the social and health care sector: From rehab management and care and housing consulting to mobile health and telemedicine and discharge management for social services. With its latest product, Caseform, nubedian is expanding its range of services to include the networking of organizations responsible for discharge management. In an interview with 5-HT, Bruno Rosales Saurer explains why a cross-sector platform is so important for social and health care – and how nubedian is conquering a conservative market with digital solutions.
‘Nubes’ (lat.): The cloud. ‘nubedian’: The cloud of cloud-based solutions.
“nubedian is a software service provider for the social and health care sector. This means that we offer solutions for various problems and for cross-sectoral topics”, explains Managing Director Bruno Rosales Saurer, “So we offer a general platform in the social and health care sector.
This is also our speciality: We are a company that deals with different areas in the social and health care sector and therefore has the know-how and access to different sub-areas. We offer an integrated solution and can bring together different markets. And our products cross-fertilise each other.”
From research directly to the market – but how?
Founded by nubedian Co-Managing Director Mathias Schmon and Bruno Rosales Saurer, the then head of department at the FZI Research Center for Computer Science in 2011, “I was there from the beginning, but at the same time I was still working at the research center. At some point I joined nubedian completely.
At that time we worked at the FZI Research Center for Information Technology. One of our research projects was about supporting caring relatives with technologies. At about the same time, there was a change in the law that also guaranteed nursing relatives a right to nursing advice. Therefore, we designed a prototype for the documentation of this care counselling – and received surprisingly many inquiries about our prototype. This confirmed to us that there was interest in our technologies even outside of research. We decided to take a chance with our prototype – provided we could get the financial means to do so. We then received the EXIST start-up grant and were able to launch our first product on the market in 2011.
If you want to enter the market, you have to offer an integrated solution.
“nubedian started with the product CareCM. It enables and facilitates documentation and administration in care counselling, care support points and allocation management. With CareSD we also offer a documentation and administration platform for social work and discharge management for acute and rehabilitation clinics. We have developed CareBV for documentation and administration in rehabilitation consulting. With CareMH we also integrate chronically ill patients into outpatient care concepts, better known as telemedicine or mobile health. We also use this platform area for home dialysis, for example. So we have developed a general platform that we have adapted to specific sectors.
Our latest product is Caseform. It is very different from our other products and is offered on a new platform. Caseform enables a kind of matchmaking: as a communication platform, it supports the transfer of patients from one healthcare facility to another. For example, clinics can use Caseform to search for the best outpatient care service for follow-up treatment of their patients and then communicate with this service. In this way, communication problems or even a lack of exchange between the facilities and services are avoided”.
If you want to enter the market, you have to know it. Or have someone who knows the market.
“My co-founder Mathias comes from business administration and I from electrical engineering and information technology. None of our team comes from the care sector. But that need not be a disadvantage. Although we did not know the market from the beginning and were not yet able to assess it so well. But we have acquired the knowledge about our partners. We still work together with experts and people from the care sector today, so that we are properly advised when decisions are made.
I can only recommend this to other founders too: Get someone who knows the market and has contacts. Because contacts are the be-all and end-all in this industry. Contacts can open doors for you. But also networks like 5-HT can open doors for you.
You should also regularly check the status of your products with the help of external partners. Only then can you take the right measures.”
If you want to enter the market, you sometimes have to make hard decisions.
“As a founder, you have a lot of ideas and sometimes you can’t admit to yourself if one of them is simply not good. That’s why you should always get feedback and define goals that are achievable. And if they are not achievable, you also have to make hard decisions and adapt to the market.
It is very difficult to enter this market. The hurdles are big and the market is very conservative. For startups, tenders are also very problematic: above a certain amount, for example, hospitals have to put out to tender. But as a start-up, even with the best solution, you usually fail the tender criteria, because revenues are required that a startup simply cannot have yet. In addition, there are the very high regulatory requirements, for example in data protection. Many successful companies that are internationally successful therefore keep their hands off the German market. So how can a startup enter a market where size and revenues are most important?
We have now fought our way through and won a tender in which we are able to serve an entire German state with our solutions. But in the beginning, we would not have been able to do that.”
What should change in the market for young companies?
“There are many fears and prejudices against technical solutions, including the fear of being replaced by these solutions. This makes it very difficult for startups to enter the market. I would like to see more appreciation for start-ups, especially in the social and healthcare sectors. We should also consider how young companies that do not yet have the same turnover or opportunities as large companies can be given the chance to enter this market. At the regulatory level, barriers for startups should be removed. The Ministry of Health is already trying to do this.
Not everything that is digital is evil. This should also be communicated more. And perhaps not all regulations on data protection or the like make sense either. Digital solutions should be given a chance – especially in view of the shortage of skilled workers. Without Digital Health, we will not be able to create the developments in this area at all.”