CZ invests in eHealth app IkHerstel

June 21, 2023

IkHerstel, an app that helps patients recover after surgery, is getting a capital injection by  CbusineZ – the investment arm of health insurer CZ, together with investment company Healthy Capital. Investors are taking a minority interest in the Amsterdam UMC spin-off for an unknown amount. ‘ikHerstel will use the new money to further develop the existing technology and expand the coverage to a broader number of surgical interventions, says director Jeroen de Wilde. The app has scientifically proven to help patients recover up to 25% faster after surgery, by providing them with a personalized recovery plan. About 10% of Dutch hospitals use the app. 

IkHerstel is an evidence-based eHealth application for patients who have to undergo a planned operation, such as a uterus- or gallbladder removal. The app contains an operation specific recovery plan, and personalizes that plan based on information entered by the user. During the process, the patient can keep track of their recovery progress and gain better insights. The app also learns from that information. 

‘Normally, when you are discharged from the hospital, you will receive a generic folder and an appointment for a follow-up check-up in a few weeks’, says De Wilde. ‘Without specific advice while recovering at home, patients fall into a black hole; and this is how ikHerstel helps by providing personalised recovery information. This removes uncertainty, and patients recover five to fourteen days faster. At the same time the  heavily burdened healthcare professionals also save a lot of time.’ which translates into a financial effect: using the app saves an average of €180 in healthcare expenses and costs only a fraction of that. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the app has been proven in 6 randomized controlled trials and results are published in high impact journal such as the Lancet. 

The idea behind ikHerstel
The idea for ikHerstel comes from Amsterdam UMC professors Judith Huirne and Han Anema. Together with their pool of PhD students, they have been conducting research in patient care optimization for over ten years and have scientifically demonstrated that the application is effective.

From research to market
IkHerstel’s valorisation trajectory started when the spin-out was set up to make the app available in the public healthcare domain, outside of the scientific environment in which the research took place. Entrepreneur Jeroen de Wilde started to develop the concept after the research of Judith Huirne and Han Anema. IXA has financed the important first steps together with the Innovatiefonds Noord-Holland by means of a Proof of Concept and PreSeed financing. The initial financing helped the initial  market introduction and positioning of ikHerstel.  

After winning several awards and gaining market traction the eHealth application ikHerstel was ready for new investors. Now, ikHerstel receives a capital injection from two investors: the investment arm of health insurer CZ, CbusineZ and Healthy.Capital. Investors have secured a minority interest in the start-up for an unknown amount. The rest of the shares are owned by founders and management. 

Photo: Dr Josje Langenveld in het Zuyderland ziekenhuis