On the left : Bastien Ritzen, CEO and co-founder @ Zebra Academy and on the right : Philippe Mauchard, President of the MIC Brussels’ board


Who is Zebra Academy?

Zebra Academy is a young company founded in February 2015 as a Spin-Off of the VUB. It was created by 5 founders who hold different backgrounds covering Medical, Clinical, Innovation & ICT knowledge among others. They won the MIC Acceleration Program Final on September 22. They were awarded further coaching for an amount of 3,000€.

Their vision is to bring innovative telemedicine solutions to the market backed up with strong research & user feedback for Pre-, In- & Post-hospital diagnose & follow-up of patients suffering from a disease.

Bastien Ritzen, CEO and co-founder of this startup, accepted to answer our questions.


What solution does Zebra Academy bring?

Zebra Academy’s ambulance solutions streamline urgent patient care by integrating pre-hospital & in-hospital procedures. By virtually bringing the medical expert in the ambulance, they believe it is possible to save those precious minutes that will make the difference in outcome for patients while the ambulance staff is taking care of them.

Critical data (e.g. vital parameters, symptoms…) can already be gathered & shared with the hospital staff (e.g. radiologist, neurologist, nurse…) through the Zebra Web Platform in order to be ready for the arrival of the patient.


What triggered you to join the Acceleration Program?

As an entrepreneur, it is important to participate in programs like the MIC Brussels’ Acceleration Program in order to get an external advice on what we are doing. We are so much into it and there are always so many things to do that we don’t always take the time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The difficulty is to find the right balance between coaching programs and dealing with all the necessary tasks to start the company.


What did you find interesting in the Program?

Different type of sessions have been organized through the program. Some sessions were coachings lead by an expert who gave us some pieces of advice on specific topics (e.g. sales, e-marketing…). Other sessions were about letting a startup present its challenges and problematics and thinking all together about a creative solution to allow the startup to keep going forward.

Above those very interesting sessions that gave us new tools to be tried out in our day to day lives, we all got regular one-to-one coachings which for me was the most interesting part of the Acceleration Program. We had the occasion to put our challenges on the table and discuss them with Roald Sieberath. Together we always managed to come up with some ideas to test out in order to go forward.


Finally, we got to discover very interesting projects next to ours along with the possibility to meet the entrepreneurs leading those. I think this is also a very interesting aspect of the program because in the end we all have a lot of challenges and it made me realize that we were not the only ones having to face complex questions and to solve problems.


How did the Acceleration Program help you move forward?

The acceleration program helped us reach the following:

  • Close deals with new customers.
  • Find new sectors of implementation of the solution outside the ambulance.
  • Test a new business model with the aim to close deals faster.

During the program, we closed in a grant from the European Commission.

Personally, I have taken a real boost in my business development experience thanks to experience on the field coupled with the sessions organized at the MIC.

The fact that we won the first price is one more sign that we are going in the good direction with the company. It doesn’t mean it will be easy but for us, it reinforces the belief that we are not the only one to believe in it and that we are taking on a good fight. This will also allow us to finance some tasks that are very important to further accelerate.


What will be your next steps?

We will:

  • Continue closing deals in Belgium.
  • Deliver the installation of the clinical trials we are involved in.
  • Finalise the CE-Marking of our solution.
  • Realise a European market study to define our European strategy for 2017.
  • Negotiate partnerships with national & international actors.


What would be your advice to new entrepreneurs?

My advice to other startups is to get out there with your ideas, solutions, great goals, and to get those challenged by potential customers, friends, etc. as much as possible. It takes a lot of time but this is how you create solutions that are useful to real customers.