Spotlight on Internationalisation

A short interview with Nico Van Tichelen, CEO VIPUN Medical, finding the right

partners for identified key markets.


Source: BioRN

First step towards internationalisation. Young start-ups struggle in establishing an internationalistion strategy, based on the available resources. What would be your tip to them, to maximise the impact of their actions?

Partner with local experts in a well selected targeted market.

Under continuous strain of having limited resources, a start-up will want to direct their attention first to new market where the impact of their actions and the return on investment is fastest and highest.

In my personal experience, there are 2 key factors driving the right strategy for internationalisation in this environment, which are market research and partnering with a local expert.

Your market research should aim to uncover the dynamics of the market you are playing in, first and foremost and regulatory or reimbursement hurdles and requirements, market need, locally present competition and any cultural or business factors that may accelerate or limit your return on investment.

Once you have identified your targeted market the next objective should be to find a local partner. One who is experienced in passing your product by the regulatory hurdles and who is committed and able to drive your product launch campaigns better than you can do it yourself.


Hand-on experience. Could you please summarise the internationalisation activities of your company in few sentences?

VIPUN is currently in the pre-commercial stage. Our internationalisation efforts are currently directed to finding the right partners for the key markets which we have identified, and engaging those partners already found by involving them on the product development and regulatory approval path. In addition, we are reaching out to our future customers in the targeted markets in order to create an early adopter customer set. In addition, we engage these customers as well in usability studies and clinical study development and execution.


In summary, based on your experience what is the ‘secret sauce’ for successful internationalisation?

Personally, I strongly believe that international networking with potential future partners, customers and suppliers is a crucial aspect of developing your internationalisation strategy. An active networking strategy will lead to unexpected meetings and exchange of ideas and information, which fill in the blind spots which you may not realise that you have. The more your network, the more interesting markets you identify, learn about and will include in any future internationalisation plan. In addition, people are eager to share their good and bad experiences with potential partners helping you to select those that are best for your own business.



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About VIPUN Medical

VIPUN Medical is a privately-owned, KU Leuven spin-off, located in Mechelen, Belgium. We develop a novel method tofeed critically ill and other vulnerable patients. The VIPUN™ Gastric Monitoring System aims to make it easy for medicalstaff to make a well-informed and faster nutrition therapy decision thus reducing malnutrition and feeding-relatedcomplications. https://www.vipunmedical.com/


About CELIS Project

CELIS project combines some of the world-class life science ecosystems in Europe, where cross-sectoral fertilisation hasgiven rise to promising new technologies and products, resulting in new value chains. The project builds on the existingHealth Axis Europe Alliance, with the aim to professionalise and expand this inter-regional cooperation and increase itsimpact, especially for SMEs among their members. https://www.health-axis.eu/celis