Helén Fält and Jennie Ekbeck on Scandinavia's largest life science pitch challenge

Startup Challenge 2018 is a pitch-event in Stockholm during Nordic Life Science Days

8 May 2018

Umeå Biotech Incubator is organizing this year’s Startup Challenge during NLS Days in Stockholm. Here's Helén Fält and Jennie Ekbeck on Scandinavia's largest life science pitch-off.


– It feels really great! We hope it will turn out to be a good concept and we’re working hard to get companies from all the Nordic countries to register, says Jennie Ekbeck, CEO of Umeå Biotech Incubator.

What is Startup Challenge? 

– It's a pitch competition where companies are given the opportunity to present themselves in front of a large and extremely interested audience. We have a great many good companies in the Nordic region but not many occasions where they have the chance to show themselves off in front of a large audience. Through Startup Challenge, we can show investors what good startups there are that can later generate great products and services for health and medical care.

Who can apply?

– There are certain criteria that all companies need to comply with. If everything is in order they need a great idea, a pitch and a fairly simple mobile camera. To take part in the competition, the company records its pitch and submits the video to a jury, who then score all the entries. The 12 entries with the highest scores go forward to the final in Stockholm, says Helén Fält, business developer at Umeå Biotech Incubator.

What can we expect? 

– Startup Challenge is a great opportunity for the contestants to polish their pitch, get good publicity, forge new valuable contacts, and have the opportunity to show off their companies for investors. The winner will also get a company presentation at next year’s NLSDays, says Jennie Ekbeck.

– Investors and other visitors will see some super pitches from 12 exciting companies and will also choose the winner, says Helén Fält.

To companies that are still thinking about sending in their pitch,

What's your message?

– Don’t hesitate! It’s easy to register and it might lead to something big! If you need investment, collaborators and publicity, it’s an excellent opportunity, says Jennie Ekbeck.

And "Why" life science?

– What people tend to forget is that life science is one of Sweden’s four main basic industries. Forestry, mining, water power and life science. Nothern Sweden is home to all of these, and they are all a big part of creating sustainable jobs that will contribute to developing out future society, says Jennie Ekbeck, CEO at Umeå Biotech Incubator.

Competition criteria

  • Your company is not older then 8 years (counting from official registration). 

  • Your company have not attracted more than 2 million Euro in total financing. 

  • Your company is a privately-owned company.
  • Your company is registered in one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland or Iceland). 

  • Your company must be active within life science (pharma, medtech/diagnosics, E-health or other). 

  • Your company has not participated in last year’s Startup Challenge @NLSDays (the pitch contest). 

  • Your company has a representative who is available to attend the event on the 10th of September 2018 at
  • Waterfront Stockholm if your company are selected for the live pitch final.

Registration is open until May 16

Learn more about Startup Challenge and how to register at

nlsdays.com