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Lucas Scherdel hands over the reins to the new Director Ursula Costa. They sat down to talk about important steps in their career and plans for the future.

Ursula: Lucas, congratulations on your new job! Please tell us about your new role and how you feel about leaving DayOne now? 

Lucas: I will join one of Basel’s great companies in the next months as an Executive. I will be sad to leave such a talented team behind but I believe DayOne is in a suitable place to transition to new leadership – especially with our most recent fundraiser and the great team in place. I couldn’t be happier to be transitioning to you after having worked together and seeing how dedicated and effective you are. What drives you, Ursula? 

Ursula: My passion for healthcare comes from my personal experience as a patient at a young age. I’ve never stopped working to make the healthcare system more effective, efficient, and patient-centered since then. I started my career as a clinician and transitioned to an innovation office. Being at the interface between research and clinical practice departments at a university hospital gave me a solid understanding of the innovation needs from both the academic and provider sides. My next chapter was in the industry, where I worked in different global roles for a Swiss med-tech company, for example, as global lead of the clinical and research teams. After my experience as an entrepreneur, DayOne was the natural place to join, a place where we bring all stakeholders together and where my experience as a clinician, researcher, entrepreneur, and in corporate could make an impact to transform the healthcare system. We achieved our goal with the implementation of the digital health nation innovation booster. I wonder, how did you discover healthcare as your career?   

Lucas: I’ve worked in healthcare and innovation my whole career and am always driven by the potential of bringing better care and experiences to more people. This has taken me all over the world, from the US to the Middle East and Asia, with organizations such as the World Health Organization and World Economic Forum. Now, I’m more convinced than ever that innovation and technological transformation hold the keys to better healthcare for all. That’s why DayOne’s mission is something I’ll always believe in and support, even from afar.  

Ursula: What challenges have you faced over the past 2.5 years, and what are you most proud of? 

Lucas: Over the last years DayOne has grown through the pandemic and achieved great things, such as expanding our offering and growing the team. Since we launched a new strategy to become a leading European accelerator, we’ve accelerated 30 companies in the last 2 years alone. Approximately 25% of these companies have been further funded. One of the challenges we’ve faced is raising funds from the pharmaceutical industry to support companies in their growth. What are your plans for DayOne, Ursula?  

Ursula: Firstly, you have done a really good job of making DayOne the largest digital health accelerator in Switzerland and building a strong financial foundation with the cantons. It’s a great place to take over. 

I want to continue building the biggest healthcare innovation community in Europe with DayOne. We will continue to be a space for all relevant stakeholders to meet and innovate at events, acceleration programs, and catalyst projects.  

My approach to moving the initiative forward starts with communication, collaboration, and a focused effort to build strong relationships with public and private stakeholders. We want to be the partner to serve our stakeholder’s needs, no matter if it’s on building innovation capacity, external partnerships with startups, or connecting with the best talent and ventures from Europe.  

One of the main challenges we will tackle is cooperation and collaboration across partners: how can we ensure the creation of new startups at the interface with the pharma and medtech industry? How can we better integrate patients, payers, and healthcare providers in the innovation circle? We aim to maximize efficiency and adopt new solutions while creating economic impact in the region.  

Lucas: How can our industry readers become involved in DayOne in the future? 

Ursula: I am looking forward to meeting our industry leaders at a very special event we are preparing for fall 2023.  

In the meantime, collaborate with us on some of our upcoming events, such as the 2023 edition of the Health Hack, our corporate acceleration program, or our upcoming events.  

You can also reach out via email or connect with me on LinkedIn.