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NeuroNation: brain fitness

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Today, nearly 50 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. With ageing populations, both the number of affected patients and the associated financial costs are on the rise.

”My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, my dad is showing early signs of it and there is a high chance that I will also develop it one day,” says Jakob Futorjanski, co-founder of NeuroNation, a company based in Berlin that develops cognitive training programmes to tackle brain degeneration. “There are genetic factors we can’t change but there are also modifiable ones that we can work with to improve quality of life in later years. At the end of the day this is what matters most.”

Jakob has been working on a solution since 2011 to help users maintain and regain a healthy brain. Together with co-founder Rojahn Ahmadi, they designed a cognitive training programme that helps improve memory and attention span, thought speed and overall cognitive fitness. “Our brain is almost like a muscle: we have to stimulate it just as we do other muscles in our body,” he says.

First used as prevention for memory loss and lack of concentration in healthy adults, NeuroNation soon became a go-to programme to help rehabilitate patients suffering from the effects of stroke, brain injury, infections like sepsis, and from age-related brain degeneration  illnesses (e.g. Morbus Parkinson).

“In Germany alone, there are about 400 000 people affected by brain-related illnesses like stroke. Cognitive training therapies are vital for recovery, but waiting times can be up to 20 weeks or more, and caring for these patients with brain injuries and dementia is very costly. Digitalisation can definitely help,” Jakob explains. NeuroNation’s programme is delivered digitally and provides cognitive profile testing training of core brain functions. It algorithmically creates 100% personalised training for the user, including daily challenges “and games to make it fun. But the real beauty is that it can be done remotely from the comfort of the patient’s home and own device.”

NeuroNation received an investment from Impact Partners, a venture capital fund backed by the EIF that helped them finance the clinical validation of the application while also setting up a partnership that amplified social impact. “They helped us steer the company in the right direction,” Jakob says. “…establishing social impact performance indicators, like monitoring how many people got better through our programme. I can tell you that a total of 68 000 users have trained their brains for 10 hours or more using Neuronation upon recommendation from a healthcare professional – or 28 000 in 2020 alone.”

“Cognitive Impairment is one of the biggest issues we have in our society right now. Post-COVID-19 related cognitive impairments accelerate this development and we want to do our part. Cognitive training can help here. It’s about supporting people to regain a life worth living,” he concludes. With 20 million users worldwide, NeuroNation is definitely doing its part.


Company: NeuroNation (Germany)

Type of business: ICT; health technology, medical devices; social enterprise

Financial intermediary: Impact Partners

EIF financing: EFSI Sub-window 1; SIA

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Germany, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/de/index.htm

 

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