Portraits in Digital Health – Angel Investor Dr. Salomé de Cambra

Salomé de Cambra, M.D. specializes in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. Since 2007, Dr. Cambra has worked as a Price, Reimbursement and Market Access consultant. She is currently involved in angel investment projects while participating in a number of entrepreneurial women networks. She is also a mentor for entrepreneurs and executive women, mostly in the BIO sector.  She is a Co-founder of the WA4STEAM Association.

WA4STEAM is a growing international community of women angel investors seeking to expand women entrepreneurial presence in the STEAM fields.

WA4STEAM members are more than business angel driven by profitability since they aim not only to provide seed capital but also to become a strategic partner nurturing women future leaders and role models.

The association members hold a wide variety of backgrounds with professional expertise in biosciences, mathematics, finance, engineering, law, accounting, communication, team coaching, and training. Altogether these backgrounds may add significant value to the early stages of start-ups life cycle.

Portraits in Digital Health - Angel Investor Dr. Salomé de Cambra

What did you work on in 2018?

2018 was my baptism in business angel investing.

Together with a group of other business women, we founded a business angels association to support entrepreneur women leading projects on sciences, technology, engineering,  art-architecture, and mathematics (WA4STEAM).  Our aim is to promote professional women in these fields and provide meaningful and smart support to women entrepreneurs. In 12 months we invested in 8 projects (€300K). I have also invested on my own and collectively in healthcare ventures, none of them on digital health yet.

2018 was also a year of acquiring formal education on business angel investment (mainly at IESE, but not only).

What emerging technologies do you think will advance Digital Health?

It’s hard to say since Digital Health is very wide, but new advances in digital health may be driven by including nanotechnology, new materials/textiles with specific properties, also the study of the microbioma may revolution therapeutic approaches and digital health applications.

How did you get involved Angel Investing?

It came naturally with a new life stage in my life.

There is a point when a person accumulates substantial experience, retains a lot of energy and willingness to promote progress and, on the other hand,  faces the evidence of youngers jumping in the stage with breaking ideas, enormous knowledge in sciences that didn’t even exist at our graduation time.

For me,  business angel investing is the opportunity to participate in this new revolution.

What do entrepreneurs need to know about Angels?

Very often angels are passionate and want to help further from the money invested.  They may become smart assets of the company.  This value is even more relevant in the healthcare sector since it is a very complex arena, full of uncertainties.  In this scenario, accumulated professional experience is never enough.

What advice would you offer digital health startups?

Be careful with company valuations. Too often these are too high and lack of basis.

Business angels seek high returns that only scalable startups can produce. But not all digital health products/startups are scalable, and this doesn’t mean that your startup is not an innovative and valuable company that may do very well and become a profitable and good business.

To be honest, investors may invest in less profitable but robust business. Trust is key in a business angel’s decision.

If you could change one thing in Digital Health, what would it be?

Focus on providing VALUE to those who need it, instead of focusing on nice developments.  The value must be meaningful and well-identified and understood by all relevant stakeholders. There are many stakeholders for each healthcare product or service (patient, healthcare professionals, managers, payers, families, providers, producers, regulators, etc.).

What do you think is the most over-hyped technology?

Machine learning, BigData are all overhyped technologies, but at the same time, they are key technologies to create value and to drive huge progress.

Technology by itself does not produce value, the wise application of the technologies to meet specific needs creates value.

How important is an EU wide Digital Health community?

Efficient interconnectivity among EU countries would result in tremendous savings of resources and efforts in healthcare, health research, and bureaucracy related to health care processes.  As a result, it would increase the quality of care and improve patient and professionals’ satisfaction.

An EU digital community, sharing protocols and interconnectivity would largely benefit patients and healthcare providers. But also to researchers (reducing research costs).

How important is AI, machine learning and Big Data analysis to healthcare?

AI  defeats humans in those “expertise” tasks that come from the repetition of specific tasks or iterative analysis.  The machine accumulates processes and knowledge as an additive experience, and provides a result or produces a task without incidental distractions or human failures. AI, machine learning and the use of big data are extremely useful and have tremendous potential on diagnosis based images. 

What are you focused on in 2019?

This year I will focus on fewer companies than in 2018, mostly on health care and surely on digital health.

I also plan to expand my scope to other EU countries.

Portraits in Digital Health – Angel Investor Dr. Salomé de Cambra

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