PeekMed, a start-up that created a programme to optimize orthopaedic operations, first caught the public's attention in 2016 when the media highlighted it as the Portuguese developer of the software used in the preparation for the knee surgery of a well-known footballer.
The 3 founders of this start-up met each other while students at UMinho. João Pedro Ribeiro and Sara Silva were master’s students on the Biomedical Engineering course and worked on the same team before setting up PeekMed. Jaime Campos was an Information Technology master’s student when he joined João in another project.
PeekMed’s technology base grew from the CEO João Pedro Ribeiro’s master’s dissertation. The idea was to expound a software programme that would allow the transformation of CAT scans and x-rays into 3D models able to assist health professionals with their surgery planning.
At the beginning of 2014, the alumni decided to quit their jobs in order to set up PeekMed, a software solution developed for orthopaedic surgeons who wish to optimize the pre-operative process through simulation of pre-surgery results, in order to obtain more precision and prevent unexpected outcomes.
According to the CEO of PeekMed, with this technology surgeons, “are able to determine very accurately what the patient’s problem is, what type of surgery they should do and the best tools to use, alongside reducing planning time, surgery times, sterilization costs and maximizing the final results of the operation”. The programme also has an extensive data base of prostheses and operating accessories, allowing the health professionals to choose the best combination of implements for each case.
In December 2015, as a result of a successful candidacy to Call For Entrepreneurship, the start-up was selected for investment from Portugal Ventures. This investment facilitated the development of a new version of the PeekMed system, the establishment of diverse partnerships with makers and distributers of orthopaedic material, certification, and an increase in the work team, which today numbers eight, all graduates of UMinho.
Biomedical engineering being the academic basis of the PeekMed team, they have a great knowledge of medical imaging and the development of software and hardware for the health area. The company also has a Clinical Board that, as explained to Nós Alumni by the company’s co-founder, “helps with the understanding and development of new features so as to respond to the doctors’ needs and to have them always in mind so as to be able to respond with the developed products”.
At the present time, PeekMed has over 500 users spread throughout 30 countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Brazil, the UK, the USA and India. The next aim of these alumni is to establish partnerships with more distributers and manufacturers. According to João Pedro Ribeiro, “they [alumni] have always had a core of entrepreneurship in their academic and professional lives. Thus, taking on their own business was a natural step to take”.
* Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem article, in partnership with TecMinho