EyeFocus Visits India

aravind entrance

On November 17, EyeFocus embarked on a fascinating trip to India. During the visit, we met with our partners at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, one of the most important and innovative eye-care hospitals in the world; we also judged eye-care startups pitching at the Startup India Rocks Finale conference in Bangalore.

Partner Visit with Aravind

unnamed-1Aravind is an exemplary global example of how to deliver quality healthcare to everyone – both rich and poor. Our founder, Tobias Stone, visited the hospital to meet with EyeFocus Mentor Thulasiraj Ravilla. During the tour of their facilities, he met with some of Aravind’s innovators and discussed some current issues in the eye-care field around the world, including the fact that many patients have trouble self-administering eye drops. The team has explored a number of solutions, and has now created a simple 3D-printing device that holds any eye drop bottle in the correct position, thus ensuring the drops hit the correct part of the eye.

The visit by EyeFocus led to additional networking opportunities with Aurolab, a company based at Aravind. Aurolab was founded by Aravind to provide high-quality products for cataract operations to NGOs and hospitals around the world. Aurolab has grown considerably since its conception, and is now able to provide low-cost, quality products worldwide. They have developed a kit with sutures, lenses and eye drops to costs only $10, thus furthering Aravind’s commitment to low-cost, quality healthcare.

unnamed-2Aravind have perfected a unique model of healthcare that allows them to treat nearly half of their patients for free – this includes treatment and operations. There are two hospitals within Aravind – the free hospital and the paying hospital. While the facilities differ superficially in terms of comfort and design, the quality of the healthcare is the same across the system, offering affordable or free eye care to those who cannot afford it.

View Footage From Aravind

EyeFocus Joined #STIR2016 Finale in Bangalore


In Bangalore, EyeFocus was part of the #STIR2016 Finale Event. We were thrilled to see pitches from our participating startups – some of whom had flown from Mumbai and Delhi. The programs placed a great emphasis on digital braille, as well as accessibility for blind and illiterate people. The winner of the pitching competition was the Oswald Foundation, whose founders range from just 18 years old. The company began with a product designed to provide a reading solution for people with Dyslexia.

These startups and the innovators from Aravind will join the EyeFocus program to receive mentoring and further support from our network of partners and mentors. They will also receive introductions with our sponsor, Bayer, to talk about how to develop products into the wider eye-care market.

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Join Us in Bangalore for #STIR2016


EyeFocus will be joining forces with Startup India Rocks! for the #STIR2016 Finale event in Bangalore this Friday and Saturday, November 18-19. The event will feature world-renowned speakers and investors who will focus on everything from healthcare innovation to technology solutions and business planning. This is the first international event for cross-border investment, bringing together the best minds from global start-up ecosystems. EyeFocus 2016 participants will have the opportunity to take part in product showcase and pitch competition, as well as take part in a panel focused on eye-care innovation.

For the showcase, which takes place on Friday, participants will give a soft pitch for entrepreneurs to talk about their innovation, and will be judged by a panel of corporates, strategic partners and media. Following the showcase, we will take part in an expert panel to discuss everything from scouting interesting products, mentoring, the social impact of eye care innovation, and the investment opportunities of med-tech and healthcare startups from an investor’s perspective. The event itself is a good way for companies to meet investors and potentially raise funds for their endeavors.

Eye-care startups that are pitching at STIR 2016 will be invited to join the EyeFocus Accelerator program. They will also have the opportunity on Saturday to meet with EyeFocus CEO, Toby Stone, as well as some of our local mentors.

If you’re interested in attending the #STIR2016 Finale event in Bangalore, register here!

Event Details

When: November 18-19
Where: SAP Labs Campus, #138, EPIP Zone, Whitefield, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560066, India
Partner: Startup India Rocks!

EyeFocus Is Going to Aravind

In addition to participating in the STIR 2016 Finale event in Bangalore, EyeFocus is spending the day Thursday, November 17, with our partners at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India.

Aravind is acknowledged as the largest provider of eye care in the world. It is also known for its sustainable, scalable and replicable model of service delivery to both rich and poor people. Aravind Eye Hospital has won such awards as the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, India’s Most Innovative Hospital Award at India Healthcare Awards, and the FICCI award for the Best Private Hospital in India.

Our visit will focus on meeting with doctors and professors, as well as EyeFocus Mentor R.D. Thulasiraj to learn what the latest areas of interest are in eye health, as well as what’s needed in eye-care innovation.

Stay tuned to hear more about our visit at Aravind Eye Hospital.

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Coming Next – EyeFocus & RLSB Idea Hack!

RLSB idea hack

EyeFocus is partnering with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) to host an idea hack encouraging innovation beyond diagnosis support. No child should grow up to be poor or lonely just because they have impaired vision. The focus of the idea hack is to help young people living with eye diseases and blindness as well as their families find sources of support so they’re able to grow up with a better life.

The event will feature expert panelists, who will each discuss different topics related to sight loss and post-diagnosis support. Our topics will include:

Speaker: Dr. Rafiq Hasan
Drug Compliance and Treatment Management


  • What problems do newly diagnoses people face with managing their medication and treatment?
  • What problems are caused by non-compliance with medication?

Speaker: Ed Anderton
Development and Play Post Diagnosis


  • How do young blind and partially sighted children play?
  • Which toys work and down work?
  • What is the serious side of play for blind children (e.g. stimulation to increase mobility, learning, etc.)?

Speaker: Jude Thompson
The Importance of Practical and Emotional Support for the Whole Family


  • How can parents learn to cope with their child’s diagnosis in order to support and encourage their child’s development?
  • What role does the family play in supporting a visually impaired child?

Speaker: Matt Leverington
Losing Your Sight as a Young Person


  • How can older children adjust to visual impairment?
  • What steps need to be taken to help young people relearn necessary skills?

The Aim of the Idea Hack

The goal of the EyeFocus Idea Hack is to create diverse teams with a variety of different perspectives, thus encouraging cross-sector dialogue between people who may not normally interact. We want each team to make connections and learn from others in order to develop the ideas discussed in the panel. At the end of the discussion portion, each team will make a pitch for their ideas, coming up with brand names and sales stories. EyeFocus and RLSB will be providing mentoring support for one to two ideas to be developed further through the EyeFocus Accelerator Programme.

Event Details

When: November 24, 17:00-20:00

Where: RLSB Offices, 52-58 Arcola St., Hackney, London, E8 2DJ

Click Here to Register


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What’s Happening in November?

EyeFocus 2016 November Events

EyeFocus, the world’s first accelerator and innovation program, is dedicated to bringing together leaders in the eye care and tech fields to create new products and solutions for people who are blind or visually impaired. With that mission in mind, we’re pleased to announce that two events for #EyeFocus2016 will take place this November.

STIR2016 EyeFocus2016 India Bangalore

EyeFocus 2016 India Event in Bangalore

When: November 18-19
Where: #138, EPIP Zone, Whitefield, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560066, India
Partner:  Startup India Rocks!

EyeFocus will be joining forces with Startup India Rocks! for the #STIR2016 Finale event in Bangalore, India. The event will feature world-renowned speakers and investors who will focus on everything from healthcare innovation to technology solutions and business planning.

#EyeFocus2016 participants will take part in both a product showcase and a pitch competition. For the showcase, participants will give a soft pitch for entrepreneurs to talk about their innovation, and will be judged by a panel of corporates, strategic partners and media. The competition will allow businesses to pitch to raise funds in front of a panel of investors.

If you’re an eye care startup and want to pitch in the showcase or competition, get in touch with us at contact@eyefocus.co.

If you’re interested in attending the entire #STIR2016 Finale event in Bangalore, register here!


RLSB EyeFocus 2016 Idea Hack

EyeFocus & RLSB Idea Hack for Eye Care Innovation

When: November 24, 5.00-8:30p.m.
Where: 52-58 Arcola Street, London E8 2DJ, United Kingdom
Partner: RLSB (Royal London Society for Blind People)

Vision impairment in children and young people can lead to a host of difficulties, not just for those who are diagnosed, but also for their families.  EyeFocus is teaming up with RLSB to host an idea hack aimed at encouraging innovation in post-diagnosis support. The event will feature expert panelists in the field of eye care. Panelists will discuss everything from treatment management and emotional support to development and play post-diagnosis. After the panels, attendees will break into teams that will work together to share ideas and come up with solutions to some of the proposed issues those with vision impairment face today.

Register for the event here!

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EyeFocus 2016 Mentor Spotlight Series – Tram Nguyen-Trinh

Tram Nguyen-Trinh EyeFocus 2016 Mentor

EyeFocus Accelerator would like to introduce Tram Nguyen-Trinh, one of the mentors for EyeFocus 2016.

Tram Nguyen-Trinh is the Founder and CEO of VITAnLINK, a Paris-based tech transfer and healthcare consultancy. She has over 20 years of multinational business experience helping digital health startups expand their company by networking, providing key strategic input and validating their business model. She helps these companies achieve rapid results through mentoring, as well as through a drive to help expand health and eye care innovation. At the heart of it, she is also a consumer looking for solutions.

“I have glasses,” Tram said. “I don’t see very well. If I lived in the prehistoric period, I would have already been eaten by a mammoth, because I wouldn’t have been able to see it coming.”

Even with over 20 years of multinational experience, Tram admits that she doesn’t know everything – but she enjoys helping companies find a way to create innovations without constraints and how she can continue to learn as she works. She has extensive experience working at Welch Allyn, Johnson & Johnson, and Ernst & Young before she founded VITAnLINK. Since then, she has sat on the board of a number of healthcare startups and scaleups, and thus brings together a rare insight into both corporates and innovation. Tram is notoriously well-networked in Europe’s healthcare sector, and brings all this to her role supporting healthcare and eye-care companies.

“I founded VITAnLINK because I believe that any emerging idea, project or business is successful when the right partners connect,” she said. “Sometimes, we get bogged down looking at things through our limited scope. When I mentor, I like to help these companies see their ideas from a different perspective – to see the big picture.”

Tram’s passion lies in prevention, which is how she knows that solutions are often pulled together from a variety of healthcare and technology areas. “The value of EyeFocus is that it helps you learn from other businesses and sectors that may be better than you at certain things, or at seeing the bigger picture.” Tram went on to say that EyeFocus excels at bringing together mentors of various backgrounds for a common vision, each of whom bring something new and unique to the table.

Tram said she relishes the challenges mentoring presents. “Even when I was starting out in business, it was good to have an outsider’s perspective on what I was doing and how I could improve.” She said she enjoys helping companies overcome the barriers that prevent them from innovating.

“When I talk to companies, I see things two years down the road – I see that there are a number of things to be done between now and then.” Those things could be anything from a lack of resources to a missing link in the technology or application of their company’s service or product. Tram says it’s her job as a mentor to help bridge that gap by utilizing her network and experience.

Tram has high hopes for EyeFocus 2016, and believes it will build upon the success of the 2015 program by helping companies grow and cultivate relationships with partners. “At the end of the day, what matters most is people and the human values that make things happen.”

Join EyeFocus 2016 to meet Tram and our other great mentors.

Photo Credit: Olivier Ezratty pour http://www.qfdn.net

Information About the EyeFocus 2016 London Launch Event


18 October, 2016
12 p.m.-8 p.m.

Join Us Live on Facebook to Stream Events Throughout the Day
RSVP Here for Our Networking Event From 6-8 p.m.


The Hangout
Unruly Hive
42-45 Princelet Street
London E1 5LP

Who’s Coming?

We welcome all of our program’s companies, mentors, sponsors and partners to attend.


Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information about our upcoming events in Bangalore, India, and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Matt Hartley EyeFocus 2016 Mentor

EyeFocus 2016 Mentor Spotlight Series – Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley EyeFocus 2016 Mentor

EyeFocus Accelerator would like to introduce Matt Hartley, one of the mentors for London EyeFocus 2016.

Matt is the CEO and Co-Founder of health tech startup Healthforge, and a mentor at EyeFocus. Healthforge is a funded startup that provides healthcare developers with tools to build and deploy compliant apps (web, mobile or desktop) in the cloud, getting them to market faster, for less.

In his role with Healthforge, and in his past role at the world-leading Moorfields Eye Hospital, London,  Matt has witnessed the struggles encountered by development teams in the health tech space, ranging from managing secure infrastructure to dealing with compliance.

“You’re never going to see the kind of levels of innovation in health tech that you see in other tech verticals until developers have better tools to do their jobs. There are simply too many barriers in the way of getting to market quickly and inexpensively. Healthforge is a set of tools that addresses the most commonly encountered technical barriers associated with getting an app to market in healthcare,” Matt said. “Our goal is to help companies spend more time on innovating, and less on re-inventing the wheel, saving them a lot of time and money in the process.”

Matt and the Healthforge team are at the forefront of platform development in the health tech field. Before launching Healthforge, he and his team built the electronic health record (EHR) at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

When asked why he was excited to be a mentor for EyeFocus 2016, Matt said he was looking forward to seeing what’s new in software in eye care. “I have a bit of a soft spot for ophthalmology, given all our past work with Moorfields, and am keen to help companies active in the area to succeed, if I can.”

By focusing on the technical side of innovation, Matt is able to provide a unique perspective to participants. “I’m more interested in the unsexy stuff – the building blocks and developer tools that will create the conditions for more of the sexy stuff – impactful clinical software,” he said. His experience working with a major eye-care hospital, and for clients from across the healthcare sector, from charities to big pharma, is invaluable for EyeFocus companies as they go to market.

His ultimate goal is to have a positive impact on patient care. “Improving the quality of care delivered to patients is what excites me – that’s to say, doing things that improve the effectiveness, safety and experience of patient care.”

With EyeFocus 2016, Matt hopes to help participants create new and lasting relationships within the ecosystem, and ultimately raise money for their companies.

Matt will be at our London Launch Event on October 18th and available for one-on-one mentoring there. Click here to register for the event!

More Information About the EyeFocus 2016 London Launch Event


18 October, 2016
12 p.m.-8 p.m.

Join Us Live on Facebook to Stream Events Throughout the Day
RSVP Here for Our Networking Event From 6-8 p.m.


The Hangout
Unruly Hive
42-45 Princelet Street
London E1 5LP

Who’s Coming?

We welcome all of our program’s companies, mentors, sponsors and partners to attend.


Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information about our upcoming events in Bangalore, India, and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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EyeFocus 2016 London Launch Event

EyeFocus 2016 London Launch Event

Are you looking to share your ideas or get advice from experts across a wide range of specialties? Get ready to network with the best mentors in eye health innovation at EyeFocus 2016.

22763198741_8ef9172f5a_zEyeFocus Accelerator, sponsored by Bayer, is excited to announce the beginning of its 2016 Launch Event in London on Tuesday, 18 October. Our event is being held at The Hangout from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will feature mentors and partners from a wide range of fields and specialties, including technology, business planning, insurance and eye health.

Register Here to Attend the Event!

Our confirmed mentors for the 2016 London Launch Event are:

[UPDATED] Dr. Rafiq Hasan

Dr. Rafiq Hasan is Vice President and Global Head of Ophthalmology at Bayer Health Care. Rafiq trained as a physician in London and, following three years in clinical practice, entered the pharmaceutical industry. Over the subsequent 18 years, he gained experience in a variety of clinical and commercial roles of increasing responsibility, both in the UK and at a global level at Novartis and Bayer. Prior to joining Bayer in his current role in 2013, Rafiq was global head of Ophthalmology at Novartis Pharma AG.

Leslie Hitchcock

Leslie is the head of international business at TechCrunch. She has additional experience with event planning, marketing and account management.

Dr. Savvas Neophytou

Savvas is a partner at Deepbridge Capital LLP and former CEO of Now Healthcare Group, an online doctor platform. He is a highly acclaimed analyst specializing in digital health care, health tech, corporate finance, equity research and more.

Matt Hartley

Matt is the CEO and Co-Founder of med-tech startup Healthforge, which provides tools for building med-tech apps and services. He was previously part of the team that built the Electronic Patient Record system for Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Claudia Kock

Claudia was formerly the Chief Financial Officer at Allianz Global Investors. She has experience partnering with senior management teams to develop and implement a strategic direction to mid-to-later-stage tech startups.

Dr. Thomas Drew

Thomas is the lead engineer and scientist for Aston Eye Tech, a VC-funded company spinning out eye-care products from the UK’s leading optometry school. He has a background in aerospace engineering and scientific equipment design.

Dr. Quinton Fivelman

Quinton is head of the consultancy group Q5, which assists businesses through innovation entrepreneurship training and mentoring. He has a range of business development consultancy experience in startup life science, biotech, IT and clean-tech ventures.


The one-day event will include a meet-and-greet, pitch training and mentoring session, as well as networking events. Companies will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas in front of fellow entrepreneurs as well as industry experts.


EyeFocus Event PhotoAre you a forward-thinking entrepreneur focused on eye health innovation and accessibility? If so, then EyeFocus 2016 is looking for you!

It’s not too late to apply! Click here to fill out our application, or email us for more information.


Quick Info


18 October, 2016
12 p.m.-8 p.m.


The Hangout
Unruly Hive
42-45 Princelet Street
London E1 5LP

Who’s Coming?

We welcome all of our program’s companies, mentors, sponsors and partners to attend.

22130909393_854453206a_z 22738544202_539b1a7764_z

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information about our upcoming events in Bangalore, India, and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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EyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!

EyeFocus 2016 launches new programme!

We are proud to announce the launch of our new accelerator programme, which will be running from October 2016 to January 2017.

Read more about our most recent event in Boston, and learn how to take part in EyeFocus Accelerator 2016. We are still accepting applications from companies.

Boston Meetup & Pitch Off

EyeFocus 2016 launched in Boston on 28th September with its first ever event outside Europe, and the first in a planned series of Meetup & Pitch Offs. In partnership with TFOS, EyeFocus organised and ran a fast-paced evening meetup bringing together key players in eye-care technology from the Greater Boston area. Along with TFOS, EyeFocus worked with the world-renowned Schepens Eye Research Institute at Mass Eye & Ear. The event was sEyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!ponsored by Bayer HealthCare as part of their ongoing support for EyeFocus Accelerator. The Meetup and Pitch Off was designed for people innovating in Eye Care, from academics through startups to funded companies. These events establish our presence in a city and allow us to identify the best eye-care companies to join the program. The event featured a networking reception followed by an opportunity for a selected group of founders to pitch their startup, research, or business, with a winner decided by a judging panel. The winning pitch was PlenOptika. The event also brought together other people interested in innovation and healthcare, and attendees included entrepreneurs, academics, clinicians, and corporates.


What to expect from EyeFocus 2016


  • Over 4 months we will organise events around the world to build an ecosystem of innovators in eye-care.
  • Meet-ups and Pitch-offs are local events where we bring together people working in eye-care and get local innovators to pitch what they’re working on. We use these to connect with local markets and experts, and to find companies to join the program, as well as promoting those companies already in EyeFocus.
  • EyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!We visit our partners, offering an opportunity to meet key hospitals, companies, NGOs and experts in eye-care.
  • Mentoring is carried out throughout the program, and unlike accelerators that go for quantity, we aim to organise fewer sessions with more focus, matching people to talk about specific topics as needed.
  • Pitching is essential to communicate what you do to partners and investors. We run pitch training, and create plenty of opportunities to pitch your work.
  • Networking is key to what we do. Too many early stage companies waste time and money trying to work through networks slowly. We aim to speed up that journey through our events and mentoring.
  • We run a series of events with targeted investors, initially to talk about your investment needs, and then later actually to ask for investment.
  • At the end of the program we will run an eye-care innovation conference in London, giving a chance to pitch your company to a targeted audience and to meet some of the big names in this sector.
  • We will then produce a report with an overview of innovation in eye-care, and all EyeFocus companies will be profiled in this report.


EyeFocus 2016: rolling application!

EyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!  EyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!

Applications are open to join the 2016 programme. We’re searching for the best innovators in eye-care from around the world. We have kept the application process easy so you just need to fill out a short form:

Step 1: Application Form (this should take about 10 minutes to fill in), and email karolina@newsquare.io your latest pitch decks.

Step 2: We will arrange a call to find out more about you and your company. Full details of the new programme will be published on the EyeFocus website soon.


Who should apply?

We are looking for eye-care companies from all stages of development:

  • Early stage idea
  • Startup
  • University spin out
  • Scale-up
  • Established business
  • Non-Profit/Social Enterprise

Companies joining the EyeFocus programme will have the opportunity to attend events in London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, and Berlin, as well as participate in online and face-to-face mentoring and workshops.  The program is free to participants, and aims to build a unique global network of people innovating in eye-care. We want to use this network to to help accelerate innovation in eye-care, and ultimately help people who are blind or visually impaired.

Help spread the word!

We want to find everyone innovating in eye care. EyeFocus is focused on ecosystem building, so we are reaching out to as broad a range as possible of companies working on products and services for preventing, curing, and living with eye disease and blindness. Please send our application form to any companies who might be interested in joining EyeFocus 2016, and share in your wider networks. 

EyeFocus 2016: Programme Launch!

 If you’re interested in supporting the upcoming programme, please get in touch at sponsor@eyefocus.co

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Looking ahead to the New Year

EyeFocus Christmas Newsletter 

Looking ahead to the new year

EyeFocus would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped make 2015 such a success. EyeFocus is now established in the European innovation ecosystem, and has developed powerful tools to drive innovation in eye-care. 

We have big plans for 2016, including rolling out our new Idea Hack program, and running a second EyeFocus Accelerator. We will be building the ecosystem, working with more partners and sponsors, and identifying more companies innovating to help people who are blind or visually impaired.

EyeFocus Christmas Newsletter 
EyeFocus launch event - Berlin, February 2015

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