2nd Brain Innovation Days Pitch Competition

Do you have a start-up or business plan set up for the next great brain innovation and are up for some competition? Then the Brain Innovation Days Pitch Competition is the opportunity for you! Pitch your business in no more than 180 seconds to join the running for a Jury and/or Public Prize.

In 2021, the first Brain Innovation Days Pitch Competition was held online, amassing more than 1000 audience votes. This year, the Pitch Competition went live in person, with the finalists pitching on stage in Brussels

We want to provide the opportunity to showcase great examples of brain innovation in Europe that can create positive impact — innovations and solutions that will improve the quality of life of people with brain disorders (neurological and mental alike) and support clinicians, researchers, patients & caregivers, industry, and society as a whole.


And the 2022 Pitch Competition winners are…


Jury Members

Enric Claverol-Tinturé

Programme Manager -
Medical technologies and medical devices

European Innovation Council

Diana Saraceni

Founder & Managing Partner

Panakès Partners

Christos Vaitsis

External Business & Innovation Consultant

EIT Health

Maarten Van Gorp

Start-up Scout & Project Officer


François Véron

General Partner

Newfund Capital

And special thanks for our pre-selection committee: Prof. Peter Falkai, European Psychiatric Association (EPA); Dr Orla Galvin, European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA); Dr Kathleen Gorman, European Paediatric Neurology Society (EPNS); Dr Ming Lim, European Paediatric Neurology Society (EPNS); Maarten Van Gorp, Imec.istart.


2022 Finalists

Pitch Competition Finalist #5 - Virtuleap
Improve brain health with VR | Lisbon, Portugal 

Virtuleap combines neuroscience and virtual reality to help increase attention levels, and address cognitive illnesses, disorders, and learning challenges. We have created a library of VR games designed by neuroscientists in order to test and train a range of cognitive abilities and make that data accessible through our enterprise platform. We’re working with leading institutions, like Roche, the VA Health Care System, and the Pacific Brain Health Center to validate our solution as an effective diagnostic and treatment for attention deficit and cognitive decline.

Virtuleap will be pitched by Amir Bozorgzadeh,CEO and one of the co-founders at Virtuleap, having founded Gameguise and Time Dirham. He is an alumni of York University and THNK School of Creative Leadership. Prior to Virtuleap, Amir served as a contributing writer to tech blogs like VentureBeat and Tech Crunch on the topics of spatial computing and frontier technologies.

Pitch Competition Finalist #4 - Panaxium Panaxium’s precision neurostimulation therapy to direct brain recovery following injury | Aix en Provence, France

Panaxium, is developing a first of-its-kind, bioelectronic therapy to help heal patients suffering disability following a stroke. Through our personalized treatment approach, that starts with a patented injury assessment tool, Panaxium precisely delivers a neurostimulation therapy that guides brain remapping through our proprietary ‘iontronic’ device.  By driving ions directly to the cortex of the brain, this iontronic device delivers unprecedented stimulation, effectively, safely and selectively, to optimize patient recovery.

Panaxium will be pitched by Jonathan Balfour, is a seasoned medical industry business executive, with over 20 years of experience across neuro-oncology, orthopaedics, wound care and pharmaceuticals.  For the past decade as a medical technology entrepreneur, Jonathan has led the development and commercialization of multiple devices and drugs, while also building business operations.  Mr. Balfour brings a strong strategic and operational approach to Panaxium, honed as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Jonathan holds an MBA from the AGSM, University of New South Wales, completed on exchange at the London Business School, and a B.ScH in Life Science from Queen’s University in Canada.

Pitch Competition Finalist #2 - BrainTrip
BrainTrip Dementia Index (BDI) – an AI-optimized EEG-based biomarker that can detect dementia in its early stages and be used to measure its progression  | Naxxar, Malta

BrainTrip has developed a novel AI-optimized EEG-based biomarker for dementia called the BrainTrip Dementia Index (BDI), which can discern early symptoms of the disease at a quick and scalable pace. BrainTrip’s algorithm can detect subtle EEG changes early on, having been developed on high-quality automatically processed EEG data specifically to detect early-stage dementia. BrainTrip’s solution for detecting early-stage dementia is based on a 15-minute EEG test with an accuracy of 90% and can be used by minimally trained staff at any facility. General practitioners can use the BDI as a quick and cheap screening test to optimize referrals. The main benefit of the BDI for neurologists is the ability to monitor disease progression and optimize treatment for each patient. The BDI can help pharmaceutical developers of anti-dementia drugs reduce clinical-trial costs and duration and determine the effectiveness of newly developed drugs. Patients who receive a timely diagnosis can start taking medication earlier (possibly 2 years in advance), which arguably reduces the incidence of injuries and postpones disease progression.

BrainTrip will be pitched by its Co-Founder, Jurij Dreo. Jurij Dreo graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. In 2012, he transitioned into the field of neuroscience research, specializing in critically assessing and interpreting neurophysiological data (EEG, EMG, TMS). he officially co-founded BrainTrip Limited with his long-time research collaborator, David Sakić. BrainTrip is a startup using applied neuroscience to help solve important issues in medicine and society. Currently, the company is mainly focused on the field of early screening for dementia by use of quantitative analysis of electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. Jurij Dreo has spent 5 years in basic R&D to develop the company’s EEG-based, rapid, non-invasive, and scalable screening tool for early dementia detection.

Pitch Competition Finalist #3 - Optoceutics
Towards Treatment of Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases by Targeting Gamma Deficits | Copenhagen, Denmark 

Optoceutics is developing cutting-edge technologies to help fight neurodegenerative diseases and mental health disorders. It was established in 2018 as a university spin-out based on a world patent from collaborative research at Danish Technical University and University of California Berkeley on the medical effects of masked 40 Hz light brain stimulation. In particular, Optoceutics is investigating new approaches to gamma brain wave stimulation and is currently conducting a clinical study to investigate the potential effect of masked 40 Hz flickering light on Alzheimer’s Disease patients. 

Optoceutics will be pitched by CEO and Co-Founder, Mai Nguyen. Mai has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. During her time at UC Berkeley, she also received training in management in technology and innovations, entrepreneurship and design thinking. Mai utilizes the skills she learned to integrate her biology and management background to mentor students and consult with start-ups on various interdisciplinary topics.

Pitch Competition Finalist #1 - Alpha Brain Technologies
Seizure prediction for in-time intervention | Maastricht, Netherlands

Alpha Brain Technologies develops a wearable patch that can alert the epileptic patients and the caregivers at least ten minutes before seizures happen. This device is virtually seamless and does all the real-time computations fully standalone based on the latest advances in hardware design and AI. In the long run, this device will be paired with a non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation module to fully stop the seizures before happening in a closed-loop manner. The scope of this closed loop system is well beyond epilepsy and can benefit various neurological and psychiatric disorders in the future.

Alpha Brain will be presented by its tech lead and co-founder Mehrdad Seirafi. Mehrdad is a physicist by training with a PhD in neuroscience and more than 7 years experience in building new technologies for people with brain-related disorders.


Additional Information

  • Finalists are expected to attend the BIDays in person and present their pitch on stage.
  • Only one pitch can be submitted per company. 
  • All Finalists will receive waived tickets to attend the Brain Innovation Days. Already bought one to avail of the Early Bird? No problem, if you make it to the Final, we’ll reimburse you – or invite you to pass your ticket on to a colleague!

The application process consists of 3 rounds and applications must be submitted online via Oxford Abstracts. 

  • Round 1: Open submissions for eligible start-ups (see below). Answer a few questions, provide a bit of background material and off you go.  
  • Round 2 (Live Finals): The Live Pitch Finale! This is where the magic happens. The 5 finalists chosen by our experts will compete LIVE at the Brain Innovation Days. Once all finalists have pitched, our panel of judges will choose a first winner. The public will choose the 2nd winner for the public prize. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • The startup must be less than 5 years old; it can still be early stage, however, you must already have a company name and business plan. 
  • The startups needs to be focused on solutions/innovations supporting the brain innovation community (researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, society) to improve the quality of life of people with brain disorders (neurological and mental alike) and with a strong societal impact. 
  • Startups with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are strongly invited to apply.  

All information must be submitted and presented in clear English with accurate grammar and spelling. 

After you start submitting your application, you can re-enter the submission link at any time to view and edit your information until you submit. Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation email containing the title of your pitch. If you do not receive this confirmation e-mail or have any other questions related to the pitch competition submission, please contact the BIDays team at info@braininnovationdays.eu.

Jury members are experts from the wider networks of the European Brain Council and Brain Innovation Days, with varying backgrounds in the brain space. They will review the excellence of your submission and ask questions before and during the day of the live pitch competition. 

The Application Review Committee and Jury is made up of:

Prof. Peter Falkai, President, European Psychiatric Association (EPA)
Dr Orla Galvin, Executive Director, European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA)
Dr Kathleen Gorman, Board Member, European Paediatric Neurology Society (EPNS)
Dr Ming Lim, Board Member, European Paediatric Neurology Society (EPNS)
Maarten Van Gorp, Start-up Scout and Project Officer, Imec.istart

Ann Van Mele, Venture Acceleration Manager – Health, Imec.istart
Christos Vaitsis, External Business & Innovation Consultant, EIT Health
Diana Saraceni, Founder & Managing Partner, Panakès Partners

  • First round of applications closes on 31 August.
  • The finalists will be announced in September 2022.

On the 12 October, the 5 finalists will pitch their idea LIVE on stage in 3 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A.

Didn’t make it into the final round but want to showcase your work at the Brain Innovation Days anyway? We also have Poster Presentation and Innovation Showcase slots ⁠— more info available here. Applications are closed but please drop us a line if interested and we may be able to accommodate info@braininnovationdays.eu