Plenty of businesses met their new partners. Photo by Luis Alvarez/Getty

Earlier in August, participants from around the globe gathered online for HealthTech Beyond Borders, a virtual summit hosted by ProChile that's designed to match American and Chilean businesses looking to explore the future and impact of new technologies in the healthcare sector.

During the four-day event, registrants sat in on more than 65 meetings — or an average of 2.5 meetings per hour — that tackled such topics as "Why Chile? Exploring Chilean Medical Innovations," "Dynamic Growth for Healthcare Innovators/Innovations (Venture Capital)," and "Harnessing Healthcare's Regional Resources: Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia."

"I was really impressed by the quality of groups and speakers for this event," says Torrey Adams, senior director of global life sciences at Greater Houston Partnership. "It was a very well put together with excellent networking and connecting opportunities. I gained a much better insight on the possibilities of collaborating with Chilean companies."

There were 37 registrants from Texas, which also contributed such strategic partners as Houston Methodist Hospital, the City of Houston, Houston Exponential, The Cannon, Greater Houston Partnership, MediaTech Ventures, Central Houston Inc., and InnovationMap (hello!).

A total of 35 Chilean companies participated, with such heavy-hitters as Cens (the national center for healthcare systems), ChileTech (a health providers association), Apis (medical devices), and CNL (the national labs board) joining the roster.

"It was a pleasure to moderate the HealthTech Beyond Borders session," says José F. Núñez, vice president of global development at Houston Methodist Global Health Care Services. "It is forums like these that foster the exchange of ideas and bring together individuals and organizations to further promote innovation in the health sciences space. Kudos to ProChile, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia for the resources they provide to entrepreneurs in facilitating these connections."

Though it's impossible to know the actual numbers — ProChile isn't privy to private negotiations — a survey taken by the attending companies estimates that $1 million in immediate business will be done as a direct result of the event. In the next 12 months, that figure is estimated to jump up to $2.9 million.

"We created an inclusive 'village' of innovation where entrepreneurs and startups from around the world come to solve humankind's boldest challenges," says Robert Pieroni, director of economic development for Central Houston, Inc. "Events like ProChile's HeathTech Beyond Borders demonstrate how the world is responding to what Houston has built. With Downtown Launchpad, TMC Innovation, the Ion, and others, we are clearly becoming a global center of gravity to inspire innovation and support entrepreneurship."

Find your next global match. Photo by Tone Fotografia/Getty

Final call for virtual global healthtech summit — and it's free to attend

Get Your Tickets

It's nearly time: The online international summit HealthTech Beyond Borders is about to explore the future and impact of new technologies in the healthcare sector. A special focus on medical and healthcare developments and opportunities in Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia is the highlight this year's event.

The basics
HealthTech Beyond Borders is sponsored by ProChile and runs August 10-13, with four days of virtual programming. You can reserve your spot for free here.

The topics
A curated group of successful Chilean and U.S. healthtech companies are participating, including those that specialize in artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, medical robotics, gene therapies, nanomedicine, neurotechnology, eye care tech, telehealth, imaging diagnostics, wellness and fitness, mental health, and more.

The summits
There are three summits on the docket., each beginning at 9:55 am Central. Day one's focus is "Why Chile? Exploring Chilean Medical Inventions," while day two will cover "Dynamic Growth for Healthcare Innovators/Innovations." Day three's focus is "Harnessing Healthcare's Regional Resources: Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia."

The speakers
Panelists include Matias Gutierrez, CEO of Genosur LLC; Alberto Rodríguez Navarro from Levita Magnetics, and such Chilean organizations as Asocciación de Clínicas, Asociación de Proveedores de la Industria de la Salud, Associación Nano Cámara Nacional de Laboratorios, ChileTec, Cobre, and Hospital Fundación Lopez Perez.

From the United States, presenting organizations include MEDIATECH Ventures, Houston Methodist, MATTER Health, the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, City of Houston, City of Philadelphia, Greater Houston Partnership, The Cannon, World Business Chicago, and Widener University Small Business Development Council.

The stats
A whopping 13 percent of Chile's startups are healthcare related (according to the Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation Ministry of Chile) and the growth rate of robotic surgeries done in Chile between 2010 and 2018 increased by 674 percent.

An estimated 93.7 percent of the Chilean population is covered by health insurance, and the county has one of the highest shares of health spending in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America.

Likewise, the United States is the top destination for Chilean exports of medical devices, representing over 25 percent of the total Chilean exports in the sector.

The Free Trade Agreement of 2004 and the Duty-Free status between the two countries also make Chile an attractive and reliable trade partner. So much so, that the U.S. is the No. 1 investor in Chile, with $22 billion invested in projects in the last 7 years.

You won't want to miss this virtual gathering — RSVP for free here.

Connect globally without ever leaving the States. Photo by Leo Patrizi/Getty

It's almost time for the free global healthtech event you won't want to miss

Reserve Your Spot

Imagine a gathering of such healthtech heavy-hitters as Genosur, Levita, MEDIATECH Ventures, Houston Methodist, and MATTER Health, all in one (virtual) room.

Now imagine hearing not only from these companies, but from a dozen more representing both America and Chile in a four-day online event, held August 10-13 that's free to attend.

HealthTech Beyond Borders, sponsored by ProChile, helps facilitate matchmaking opportunities between medical and healthcare organizations from both countries. Not only can they learn from one another, but hopefully these meetings will set the stage for future global collaborations.

The international summit will also explore the future and impact of new technologies in the healthcare sector. A special focus on medical and healthcare developments and opportunities in Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia is the highlight this year's event.

"We are proud to produce this event and bring so many innovative and leading healthcare organizations and associations together," says Sylas Bailey-Kelly, Chilean Trade Commissioner US Midwest. "Medical and healthcare innovation is an area where Chile and the United States can excel and continue to collaborate to benefit citizens in both countries, and around the world."

As the top investor in Chile, with $22 billion devoted to Chilean projects in the last seven years, the United States is the largest stakeholder in Chilean business developments and the top destination for Chilean exports of medical devices.

Likewise, an estimated 93.7 percent of the population in Chile is covered by health insurance, and the country has one of the highest shares of health spending in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America. Chile currently spends nearly 9.14 percent of its GDP on health as compared to the United States, where we only spend 13 percent on healthcare.

Some helpful logistics about the event: Its matchmaking platform allows participants to customize meeting times to fit their own schedules. Attendees can pick and choose which days and times they want to attend and can have one-to-one meetings (25 minutes per meeting) with Chilean participants from research centers, universities, hospitals, healthcare solution providers, and other key Chilean institutions.

The schedule for panel discussions will be posted in advance of the meeting. Presentations on partnering with Chile and the economic opportunities available, along with conversations on geographic hot spots in the U.S. and access to capital, will also be topics highlighted throughout the event.

A more detailed list of the participants includes Chilean organizations Asocciación de Clínicas, Asociación de Proveedores de la Industria de la Salud, Associación Nano Cámara Nacional de Laboratorios, ChileTec, Cobre, and Hospital Fundación Lopez Perez. From the United States, presenting organizations include the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, City of Houston, City of Philadelphia, Greater Houston Partnership, The Cannon, World Business Chicago, and Widener University Small Business Development Council.

If your company develops and sells healthcare products and services, medical devices, and equipment, or is a hospital supply manufacturer, you should attend this unique event.

Registration for HealthTech Beyond Borders is free — reserve your spot now.

Connect globally for free. Photo by AJ Watt/Getty

Get a glimpse at the schedule and speakers for global healthtech event

Itinerary Time

HealthTech Beyond Borders is coming up August 10-13, 2021, where American healthtech companies can find their perfect match with Chilean collaborators. But what exactly can you expect from the free, virtual event?

Besides answering the question "why Chile?," the seminars will touch on everything from software solutions and medical facility management to healthcare products and services, and even venture capital opportunities.

A curated group of successful Chilean and U.S. healthtech companies are participating, including those that specialize in artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, medical robotics, gene therapies, nanomedicine, neurotechnology, eye care tech, telehealth, imaging diagnostics, wellness and fitness, mental health, and more.

The first day includes such panelists as Matias Gutierrez, CEO of Genosur LLC, and Alberto Rodríguez Navarro from Levita Magnetics.

A discussion on the current healthcare innovation ecosystem in Chile and the region's strengths, as well as developments for key sub-sectors are also on tap.

Day two kicks off with everything you'd want to know about venture capital, and why the U.S. has been the largest for Chilean startups.

Find answers to questions like what do early stage companies need to consider and what steps do they need to take to best prepare themselves to receive funding, as well as what are the important tools for companies to reach VC on each territory?

Day three examines the question "Why the U.S.?" What have Houston, Chicago, and Philadelphia done to become key healthcare hubs in the world, and what role do international partners play in these efforts? Representatives from each city are participating.

Likewise, why do international healthcare companies prioritize your respective markets, and how do these cities support expansion? Learn how the global U.S. private healthcare sector can reach Latin America, and how ProChile — the event's sponsor — can help make these connections.

Registration is now open, so get your free tickets here.

Great collaboration doesn't abide by borders. Photo by Blue Images/Getty

Free virtual event helps healthtech companies go global

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

In the growing healthtech sector, two is better than one — two partners, that is. If you've ever been curious what collaborating with an international company would be like, HealthTech Beyond Borders can provide answers.

The free virtual event, sponsored by ProChile and set for August 10-13, 2021, was created to offer matchmaking opportunities and set the scene for global collaborations focused on innovative medical technology between companies from Chile and the United States.

A curated group of successful Chilean and U.S. healthtech companies are participating, including those that specialize in artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, medical robotics, gene therapies, nanomedicine, neurotechnology, eye care tech, telehealth, imaging diagnostics, wellness and fitness, mental health, and more.

You can explore everything from software solutions and medical facility management to healthcare products and services, and even venture capital opportunities.

And if you're wondering "why Chile?" there are some pretty compelling stats.

A whopping 13 percent of Chile's startups are healthcare related (according to the Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation Ministry of Chile) and the growth rate of robotic surgeries done in Chile between 2010 and 2018 increased by 674 percent.

An estimated 93.7 percent of the Chilean population is covered by health insurance, and the county has one of the highest shares of health spending in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America.

Likewise, the United States is the top destination for Chilean exports of medical devices, representing over 25 percent of the total Chilean exports in the sector.

The Free Trade Agreement of 2004 and the Duty-Free status between the two countries also make Chile an attractive and reliable trade partner. So much so, that the U.S. is the No. 1 investor in Chile, with $22 billion invested in projects in the last 7 years.

And with Houston being home to the largest hospital center in the world — Texas Medical Center, which served 13 million patients in 2020 — it only makes sense that healthtech companies here would be looking for ways to improve and expand. Reserve your free spot for the event here.

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3 businesses join Houston initiative for carbon capture and storage

seeing green

Three big businesses — Air Liquide, BASF, and Shell — have added their firepower to the effort to promote large-scale carbon capture and storage for the Houston area’s industrial ecosystem.

These companies join 11 others that in 2021 threw their support behind the initiative. Participants are evaluating how to use safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Houston-area facilities that provide energy, power generation, and advanced manufacturing for plastics, motor fuels, and packaging.

Other companies backing the CCS project are Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66, and Valero.

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity.

“Large-scale carbon capture and storage in the Houston region will be a cornerstone for the world’s energy transition, and these companies’ efforts are crucial toward advancing CCS development to achieve broad scale commercial impact,” Charles McConnell, director of University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, says in a news release.

McConnell and others say CCS could help Houston and the rest of the U.S. net-zero goals while generating new jobs and protecting current jobs.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide from industrial activities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and then injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for secure and permanent storage. Carbon dioxide from industrial users in the Houston area could be stored in nearby onshore and offshore storage sites.

An analysis of U.S Department of Energy estimates shows the storage capacity along the Gulf Coast is large enough to store about 500 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to more than 130 years’ worth of industrial and power generation emissions in the United States, based on 2018 data.

“Carbon capture and storage is not a single technology, but rather a series of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that work in concert to achieve a profound outcome, one that will play a significant role in the future of energy and our planet,” says Gretchen Watkins, U.S. president of Shell. “In that spirit, it’s fitting this consortium combines CCS blueprints and ambitions to crystalize Houston’s reputation as the energy capital of the world while contributing to local and U.S. plans to help achieve net-zero emissions.”

Texas doctor dives into Shark Tank with invention that stops hiccups

shark bait

Humans are weird. Take, as a perfect example, the phenomenon of hiccups — the sudden and involuntary spasm of the diaphragm muscle between regular breaths. All humans experience them, and so do other mammals and even amphibians. But we’re guessing other animals don’t approach treating hiccups in the wacky ways humans do.

For instance, some less-than-successful hiccup remedies of lore include sipping water upside down (and subsequently trying to not drown), holding one’s breath for a long time (and often hiccupping throughout the hold anyway), sucking on a peppermint, gagging oneself or pulling on the tongue, and even gobbling up a spoonful of peanut butter to help change the breathing and swallowing pattern.

The truth is those ideas are mostly a waste of breath. Luckily, one San Antonio doctor has invented a device that supposedly instantly relieves hiccups — and his invention is getting so much attention that he’s even hooked a chance to pitch the product on a new episode of ABC’s entrepreneurial-focused reality show, Shark Tank.

Dr. Ali Seifi, a neurointensivist at UT Health San Antonio and the inventor of the aptly named HiccAway, will appear on an episode of Shark Tank that airs tonight, January 21 at 7 pm.

HiccAway, a straw-like device that a hiccup sufferer uses to sip water through, is likely to wow the sharks — maybe even take their breath away? — as it is the world’s first scientifically proven medical product that safely relieves hiccups.

In fact, HiccAway was recently the subject of an article in JAMA Network Open, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association Network. The article addresses a four-month cross-sectional study of 249 participants from multiple countries that found that HiccAway stopped hiccups in almost 92 percent of cases and was rated a heck of a lot more favorably than home remedies.

“I believe that the science behind our product is what makes our product trustworthy and reliable. There are many hiccup remedies that are all hit and miss with no exact science to them,” Seifi says. “Some healthcare products claim they can cure a medical condition, but they don’t have scientific backup to support the product. I can confidently state that HiccAway is one of the few products on Shark Tank so far with a strong published research study as a backup.”

While hiccups are simply an annoyance for most of us, they can also be chronic for patients with cancer, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain or thoracic injury, and even for patients who have had surgery that requires anesthesia.

“After I witnessed my own neurology patients suffering from hiccups without an effective treatment, I was inspired to develop a safe and effective device that would be simple to use and easily available to all people,” Seifi says. “When you forcefully sip water through the device, it keeps the phrenic and vagus nerves occupied, so they don’t have enough time to cause unwanted spasms in the diaphragm. This interruption stops the hiccups.”

While the HiccAway device is already available to purchase through hiccaway.com and on Amazon, as well as at walmart.com and even in H-E-B stores throughout South Texas and at heb.com, Shark Tank (which boasts a viewing audience of about 7 million) could propel HiccAway and Seifi into a new realm of entrepreneurial success.

“For me, the experience was surreal,” says Victor Fehlberg, president and CEO of Higher Innovations Inc., which manufactures and distributes HiccAway from the Denver area. “It took so long to prepare, so much time was spent waiting, that when the pitch and appearance were finally recorded, it went too fast. It was like I was dreaming because it had been so long in the making.”

The Shark Tank appearance is likely a dream come true for Seifi and the HiccAway team — and a total breath of fresh air for the hiccup-suffering public.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.