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CEO letter, October 2020
Being a disrupter and challenging set ways.
Being a company in the innovative space, introducing change to a very traditional industry governed by strict regulations, and challenging set ways in authorities and public bodies, is a very exciting venture. And we hope to achieve great things – to make a historic mark in the transformation of healthcare and wellness. Embarking on this path can be a challenging task, and there have been obstacles. The regulatory requirements and market approval processes are good examples of this. With that said, I’m very proud of what we have accomplished so far.
Although we have come a long way since the launch of the Actiste project in 2015, and have put many obstacles behind us over the years, Brighter is still just at the beginning of its journey.
I am excited to see the progress on so many different levels throughout the Group. The Brighter team has grown rapidly to around 60 people, which is necessary in this phase of scale-up. In total we are around 100 people in the Group now. And our investments are beginning to bear fruit; last week Camanio was awarded two out of five tender areas in the nationwide procurement framework agreement regarding care alarms by The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions – SALAR (sv: Sveriges Kommuner och Regioner – SKR). Tender area 1 is for stationary security alarms and alarm response (the entire alarm chain), and tender area 4 is for mobile security alarms and alarm response (the entire alarm chain).
This means that Camanio is one of five possible suppliers within each of the two areas, and that the company has the opportunity to submit tender proposals for each area. Companies not included in the framework agreement do not have the opportunity to submit proposals. Before the agreements become final (on October 12), however, there is a 10-day period during which the agreement enters into force, meaning that the decision can technically be appealed. With that said, this was very pleasing news and I look forward to seeing what it may lead to during the next four years. There are no guarantees in terms of monetization, but it is one of the largest framework agreements in the municipal care sector in Sweden.
We have received several inquiries about the process, to which we have responded by explaining that there is no ranking among the suppliers within the framework agreement. Each submitted offer is evaluated between the five potential suppliers. No matter what, this is a huge step forward for Camanio and a clear indication that the company has developed an attractive offer. Winning the right to tender in a public procurement like this to become a supplier to the public care sector in Sweden, also shows that Camanio holds a very high standard in terms of quality. Overall, Camanio will be reducing its focus on the physical aids in its portfolio to primarily focus on the digital services through its Smartcare ecosystem – uniting welfare technologies, care alarms and sensors.
The investment made in Accumbo in late 2019 has also turned out to have been very successful. During the first half of 2020, Accumbo grew its registered user base from around 2,000 to over 13,000 registered users. Incredible growth! This was a very pleasant surprise, but it also triggered a need for extra resources to successfully manage the rapid growth rate and thus it impacted the rollout of our co-development project Diabetesdoktorn, featuring Actiste, resulting in a postponement. We will revert with updates on the timeline as we move closer to launch.
Nectarine Health, the AI remote-care company focused on assisted senior and independent living that Brighter acquired in January, is also headed in the right direction. We expect to be able to launch the new B2C service early 2021, with the USA being one of our primary markets. Compared to the first-generation version, which is already live for professional use, the second-generation B2C offering has been developed with simplicity in mind. It may be sold directly over the counter and on e-commerce sites, and with its smart plug-and-play installation, next-of-kin can, for example, easily install the system in their parents’ home. Nectarine’s algorithms are best-in-class and the technology is very impressive in terms of both usability and design when compared to alternatives.
On top of all this, we are continuing to pursue the commercial opportunities for Actiste in Sweden, the Gulf Region and Southeast Asia. Our teams are constantly engaging with hospitals and health clinics, authorities, distributors and other parties interested in joining or being part of our journey. Each market has its own complexity, with different rules for market entry and medical devices, import and distribution. This makes the selection of partners very important. Brighter’s priority – to improve health for everyone, everywhere – means we primarily focus on volume agreements, which are complex and take time to achieve. In parallel, we also offer the service directly to consumers through actiste.com in countries with market approval and compliance. The strategy is to ensure successful commercial progress in the initial prioritized regions – the Gulf Region and Southeast Asia – as well as Sweden.
Market approval processes are still underway in the UAE, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. The UAE process, however, has taken a lot more time to complete than initially anticipated. The delay is caused by administrative processes and we are in a continuous dialogue with the engaged authority in order to stay on top of things. Covid-19 is likely to have caused some disturbance, but I will not speculate on when the registration will be finalized, as there are other external factors too that impact on the process. We do not think it would be beneficial for the process to start pointing fingers. We chose to support as much as we can from our side and direct our focus on maintaining a good relationship with our counterpart through continuous dialogue. But in general, the process is not a “straight line” where we “send in a paper” for someone to put a stamp on, as one might think. The reality is that it is more of a back-and-forth dialogue involving a complex ecosystem with multiple stakeholders within and outside the organization. The Actiste service may be very easy to use for the patients, but behind the scenes is a very complex structure related to data management and storage, connectivity, logistics, suppliers of consumables, government entities, and more. It’s a puzzle, and being the disruptor means that sometimes not all the answers are there from the beginning.
The Board of Directors elected on July 31 is a complete board that meets quorum and has added lots of new energy and enthusiasm, as well as strategic direction and industry knowledge. To strengthen the Board even further, the aim is to introduce a permanent Chairperson. The Nomination Committee has done a good job in presenting a candidate for the role as a permanent Chairperson. However, due to formalities related to the proposed chairperson and its current engagements, we have not had the possibility to present this person in the timely manner as we had planned. While that is being sorted out, the Nomination Committee is also evaluating additional suitable candidates. I’m glad to see that the Board is functioning well in the meantime and I agree that there is no need to rush the election of additional board members.
Additional growth capital is, as communicated, still needed and for now we will continue to finance the routine operations with our partner Unwrap Finance. Although it might not be the primary option in the future, our assessment is that it is the best choice readily available for the company and the shareholders today. However, we are constantly evaluating what is the best solution at any given time. Longer term, we see directed share issues to larger institutions and pre-payments from larger customers as the primary solution for financing our ambitious growth plans.
Lastly, we have received some questions regarding the Actiste Mini and whether it’s being included in the ongoing market approval processes. The hardware (the device) is finalized and has received CE marks. The associated digital service interface is in progress. Market approval processes can not be initiated until the service is completed. We look forward to the official launch and market introduction of Actiste Mini as soon as possible, so stay tuned for further news!
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CEO Brighter AB (publ)