Resolving all the problems surgeons face is far from easy. Tim Horeman has already
set up three businesses and is now working hard as a TU Delft post-doc on publications.
Name: Tim Horeman
Study: Biomedical Engineering, TU Delft
Companies: MediShield BV, Surge-On Medical BV, PediaPack BV 2009, 2015, 2016
Established product: MediShield develops medical sensors, training systems and surgical instruments; Surge-On Medical develops controllable endoscopic instruments for use in knee surgery, etc. that can be cleaned.
Mission: Developing innovations to make patients better and surgeons happier.
Turnover: “You have a duty of confidentiality towards investors, so I cannot reveal that.All the technology we have developed is worth around EUR 6 million, in view of the investments and sales since 2009.”
In five years: “Medishield will be market leader in objective measurement systems for training in endoscopy. Surge-on-Medical and PediaPack will have their first instruments on the market.”
Tim Horeman has a glass of champagne in hand as he answers the phone. This biomedical engineer has secured a grant of EUR 300,000 with his latest business: PediaPack. He is joining forces with two companies from abroad to develop instruments for child laparoscopy, enabling children to be operated on with minimum chance of tissue damage. “This has happened a lot in the last month – I could get drunk from all this champagne. Somehow or other, all my efforts seem to be paying off, after eight years of blood, sweat and tears.”
It is now eight years since Horeman graduated and established Medishield, having secured a patent. In the company, he works with ir. Willem Nerkens developing medical sensors, training systems and surgical instruments.
His latest company started in 2015. Surge-On Medical markets endoscopic instruments that facilitate knee surgery. “I have an idealistic drive to solve the problems clinicians face.
Papers or laboratory concepts do not offer enough help to healthcare. The aim is to offer surgeons safe and certified instruments. This involves a level of commercialisation.”
Besides this, Horeman is a practical man at heart. He started out in technical vocational school and only came into contact with the medical world by chance. As a trainee mechanical engineer, he built a special container for rubidium 131 capsules, which contain radioactive substances. “That was my introduction to the medical world. I immediately found it interesting creating things as small as possible and giving them as much functionality as I can. I wanted to do more and heard at TU Delft that a biomedical engineering programme had recently been established.”
He has secured a doctorate at the 3mE faculty, where he works as a post-doc four days a week. Does this mean he only spends one day a week on his companies? “You sometimes see entrepreneurs secure a lot of money and then sit on it, essentially eating up their business. Personally, I combine the commercial objective of our medi-tech start-ups with research activities, such as demonstrating how efficient our innovations are. That means that I do not have to allocate all of my hours to the same budget. The only disadvantage of this combination is the increased risk of heart attack, because it can be quite a challenge, working 70 hours some weeks.”