Aleap does something no other health incubators do

Published: 17 November 2022

Text: Newslab

Photo: Sigurd Reistad Klæva

While other health incubators specialize, Aleap has kept its doors open to various fields. This approach has led to success. Now, they have doubled their office space and continue to grow with nearly 60 companies in their stable.

"There has been a tremendous increase. We didn't think it would be like this after the pandemic, but almost everyone has made it through," says Erling Nordbø, CEO of Aleap.

Aleap is an incubator that helps health entrepreneurs succeed. It was established in the Oslo Science Park in 2016, initiated by Inven2, Oslotech, and Norway Health Tech.

Initially, Aleap's focus was on companies and ideas stemming from the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital. But that quickly changed.

Aleap has doubled the size of its office space and increased staffing to accommodate the growing companies affiliated with the health incubator.

"After only six months, we started receiving calls from Trondheim, Tromsø, Bergen, Stavanger, and the rest of Norway. Suddenly, we had to decide whether to be a regional incubator or take on a more national role, and we chose the latter. We want to work with companies from all over Norway."

The number of companies increased from eleven to 30-40 in the first three years.

"Entrepreneurs who come here bring their networks and quickly connect with our networks so that they can solve challenges and enter the market quickly," says Erling Nordbø (left), CEO of Aleap.

"By the end of the year, we will have 60 companies with us, and we are now approaching the limit of how many companies we can handle at once," explains Nordbø.

Aiming for diversity

The significant interest has prompted Aleap to expand. They have hired more staff and doubled their space in the Park to 2,500 square meters. Additionally, provisions have been made to allow companies to grow and hire more employees.

The startups that join Aleap are categorized into four areas: pharmaceuticals, medicine, diagnostics, and digital health and ICT.

According to Nordbø, this is quite unique.

"What we do is unique in the Nordic and international context. Most incubators specialize in one or two of these categories. We aim for the entire breadth of health companies. We see the synergy between them, and companies working in diagnostics, for example, greatly benefit from collaborating with digital health solutions, and vice versa."

"It is also unique that we are physical. Most incubators abroad are either digital or gathering-based. We think the opposite, that it's best for a company to sit together with other entrepreneurs."

"Half of the value that companies take away from here comes from advisors and networks, and the other half comes from what they learn from other companies," elaborates Nordbø.

Aleap is in the process of establishing its own fund with private investors from Aleap and the rest of the country.

Success through openness

On average, a company stays with Aleap for two to three years, some shorter and some longer. The idea is that companies should only be there for a short period before establishing themselves in their own premises.

"We are like a factory. We welcome young, promising companies and provide them with access to critical expertise and resources so that they can grow."

When companies join Aleap, they receive help with product development and capital raising. Networking and sharing experiences with others are important aspects of Aleap's philosophy. The goal is for companies to quickly solve challenges and enter the market.

"As an entrepreneur, you face many challenges that you have never encountered before. Here, you have the opportunity to solve those challenges by using and learning from other actors and gaining insights. To succeed, you have to operate in that way, you have to be open to everyone."

"We say yes to only 15 to 20 percent of all companies that want to work with us. We are focused on maintaining the highest possible quality, having entrepreneurs with ambitious goals, and creating a culture. If you're here, you will be exposed to many talented people," emphasizes Nordbø.