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Quest for health accelerator launches in French Grand Est region with focus on healthcare start-ups

  • French leader in supporting healthcare start-ups with over 60 incubated companies, Quest for health is supported by team of experienced entrepreneurs, as well as local, national and European innovation ecosystems spanning three countries
  • Quest for health accelerates companies’ development by offering innovative financing tools, operational training, international access and real estate resources
  • By 2025, it aims to support 100 high-potential start-ups and make Grand Est region of France place to be in Europe to develop healthcare start-ups

Grand Est, France, December 1, 2022 – Quest for change, a French regionally-certified network of five high-quality incubators (Innovact, Quai Alpha, Rimbaud’Tech, SEMIA and The Pool), based in six locations within the Grand Est region, today announces the launch of Quest for health, an accelerator dedicated to healthcare start-ups. Quest for health benefits from the support of several institutional partners in France, Switzerland, Germany and Boston (USA), as well as the Grand Est innovation ecosystem, in particular BioValley France and SATT Conectus, both members of the DeepEst consortium.

Quest for health in numbers:

  • 60 healthcare projects (biotech, medtech and e-health) currently being supported
  • €55 million ($57M) in funds raised in 2021, with €190 million ($198M) in value creation
  • 235 jobs created in 2021
  • Two EIC (European Innovation Council) winners
  • 25 winners of French national awards since 2018: 21 for the i-Lab innovation award (including four top prizewinners) and four for the i-Nov innovation award

Based on these figures, Quest for health takes the top spot in France for healthcare start-up acceleration.

The launch of Quest for health is the result of a venture initiated in 2018 by the incubators of the Quest for change network. When the team, composed of former entrepreneurs, developed a new methodology adapted to other entrepreneurs, the number of healthcare projects supported rose from 5 to 60 in the space of just four years. With this rate of growth and with healthcare being the majority of start-ups now receiving support, Quest for change saw the perfect opportunity to create a project focused specifically on healthcare, leading to the founding of Quest for health. By increasing its visibility at both a national and international level, the accelerator intends to attract more high-potential projects, investors and partners. Currently, around a third of start-ups supported by Quest for health are from outside of the region: 20% come from other regions within France and 13% come from abroad, including spin-offs from Harvard Medical School, Stanford University and Technion (Israël).
“Quest for health is France’s number one healthcare accelerator and it’s right here in the Grand Est region. Its focus isn’t limited to the region itself, it extends to our neighbors in Germany and Switzerland. I see the development of the healthcare sector as a strong strategic pillar for the future and I’ve made it a key driver for our policies, alongside the industrial, environmental and digital sectors. Within the framework of the Business Act 2 and the Grand Est Transformation, we will be supporting all initiatives that allow us to build links between sectors and professions. Quest for health is exactly the kind of success story that we want to support,” said Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region.
Full-scale support based on three pillars: financing, international visibility and training
With a focus on the biotech, medtech and e-health sectors, Quest for health provides bespoke support for healthcare projects from the moment they leave the laboratory (whether public or private). It also welcomes start-ups that have completed seed funding, with the aim of guiding them to the point of generating turnover or raising additional funds.
The team has a wealth of experience in capital structuring and in funding schemes at regional, national and international levels for deep tech and healthcare start-ups. In addition, Quest for health offers guidance with respect to applying for national and international awards and accessing innovative funding mechanisms, such as WiClub Santé, the only funding instrument of its kind in Europe, which was created in partnership with the WiSEED crowdfunding platform.
Quest for health can help start-ups with its outstanding operational training. Starting this year, a degree will be launched in partnership with the University of Strasbourg, to bolster the knowledge of entrepreneurs and key employees within the healthcare start-ups.
It also provides start-ups with international access, through its partners in Germany (Life Science AcceleratorBadencampus) and Switzerland (University of Basel). The organization also acts alongside an acceleration program initiated by the Eurometropole of Strasbourg and Innouvo, a partner in Boston (USA), a sister city to Strasbourg for 60 years. One key goal of Quest for health is to help start-ups better understand the specificities of these foreign markets and to expand faster onto the international stage. To increase their visibility with investors and major companies while interacting with start-ups from other countries, in 2020 Quest for health launched an annual ‘Trinational HealthTech Days’ event. This has already generated more than 300 meetings between investors, multinational companies and start-ups.
“Our goal is to support 100 healthcare start-ups in reaching their market by 2025, to drive innovation within the industry for the benefit of patients and healthcare professionals alike. We all share the ambition of making the Grand Est and Upper Rhine regions the leading site in Europe when it comes to healthcare start-up development,” said Guillaume Vetter-Genoud, director of Quest for health.
Next steps
The accelerator will soon move into offices in Nextmed, the medical technology campus in Strasbourg, located within the Hôpital Civil de Strasbourg and near the prestigious medical institutions IRCAD (Research Institute Against Digestive Cancers), the Strasbourg University hospital and GEPROMED. The premises, measuring 320,000ft2 (close to 30,000m2), will provide start-ups with easy access to a full healthcare ecosystem in one place.
Over the coming months, Quest for health is also planning to set up resources to boost the development of its incubated start-ups. These include:

  • New and innovative funding mechanisms
  • A scientific and entrepreneurial committee, including key opinion leaders from the worlds of scientific research, academia, clinical practice and industry
  • A three-country platform for connecting investors, multinational companies and start-ups, operating on a tried-and-tested model already used by Quest for change
  • The launch, in 2024, of a master’s degree in deeptech and healthcare entrepreneurship, in partnership with the University of Strasbourg, with the goal of creating stronger management teams


About Quest for health

Quest for health is the healthcare accelerator for the French Grand Est region, at a European level. Created by the Quest for change incubator network (with offices in Reims, Strasbourg, Metz, Charleville-Mézières, Epinal and Mulhouse), the incubator currently supports more than 60 start-ups in the biotech, medtech and e-health sectors. Quest for health is the French leader for start-ups in these sectors.
Among those it supports, two have won EIC Accelerator prizes, and 25 have won national French prizes such as the i-Lab awards (21 winners, including four top prizewinners) and the i-Nov awards (four winners). In 2021, they raised a total of €55 million ($57M) in funds with €190 million ($198M) in value creation. Approximately a third of the start-ups are from outside of the region; 20% from other regions in France and 13% from other countries.
Quest for health promotes healthcare innovation in the Grand Est region, as well as abroad. With the support of its German and Swiss partners, the incubator uses a pragmatic, watchful and impartial approach to guiding entrepreneurs through the quickest route to their key project milestones, using its team of experts, primarily made up of other entrepreneurs.
Launched in December 2022, the accelerator is based at Nextmed, the medical technology campus in Strasbourg.

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Last Updated: 01-Dec-2022