US business incubator and venture capital firm Sandbox Industries has announced that Healthbox, Europe's first healthcare business "accelerator" programme, is to be based in London.

Healthbox will support healthcare entrepreneurs by providing early-stage businesses with seed capital and connections to organisations and individuals from across the healthcare spectrum, including private and public providers, investors, retailers, business experts and national health stakeholders.

This week, the fund began its search for health tech start-ups with the potential to bring real change in healthcare delivery by hosting the first of a series of Europe-wide awareness events in London. The final selection will take place in September, when 10 teams of entrepreneurs will secure an initial £75,000 of seed capital, access to Healthbox's mentors and wider industry network, as well as use of their London offices. Healthbox's European programme has already attracted applications from London, Germany, Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Scotland, the firm notes.

Commenting on the decision to site the healthcare accclerator programme in London, Healthbox’s founder Nina Nashif, said that the city is "the obvious place to come to be part of the UK's world-renowned academic institutions, science and tech tradition, as well as being a gateway to the rest of Europe. It is the natural seedbed for new, passionate entrepreneurs looking to grow their ideas.” 

"Healthcare has traditionally been a challenging sector for innovation because, by its very nature, it has been risk-averse. Healthbox has developed a new ecosystem and culture for stimulating change by bringing together early-stage companies with strategic organisations, individuals and investors who mutually benefit from working together on new ideas that transform health," she added.

Firms supporting Healthbox's European programme include healthcare companies Bupa and Serco, and its mentors will include individuals from Care UK, Novo Nordisk, Dell, Deloitte and DocCom.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed Sandbox Industries’ decision to base Europe's first healthcare accelerator in London.

"It is vital that entrepreneurial individuals who have had their light bulb moment get the support they need to progress their business,” he said.

"Healthbox is all about nurturing innovative people, helping their ideas to develop into expanding businesses and creating jobs for Londoners, so I am thrilled to welcome them to the capital. Their commitment recognises London is Europe's science and tech capital, with access to premier academic centres, hospitals and the largest cluster of life science businesses. This is what I will be broadcasting to the world during Games-time to attract even more investment into London," Mr Johnson added.

- On August 2, the Global Business Summit on Healthcare and Life Sciences is to be held at the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House, St James's, London SW1. The Summit - which will be hosted Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green and Professor Lord Darzi, UK Business Ambassador for the Life Sciences and chair of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London - will discuss and debate the ways in which transformational change in healthcare can be achieved through collaboration between industry, academia and healthcare providers.