With a career that spans the US, Australia, Belgium, and Russia – managing international activities for over 200 startups – MedTech Actuator Head of Programs Maria Pelipas is supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health entrepreneurs to improve and save lives.
A seasoned program manager, Maria has experience in BioTech strategy consulting, partnerships, accelerators, investment funds, a startup, and innovation agencies. She holds a Master of International Relations from Tomsk State University, Russia and a Master of European Studies from the University of Brussels, Belgium – and is qualified in project management, venture deals and tech transfer management.
“My role involves managing the flagship MedTech Actuator – Asia Pacific’s MedTech accelerator,” says Maria. “We help founders to achieve in 15 months what usually takes three years or more – the program is unusually long for an accelerator due to the complexity of the medical space.”
Maria explains that bringing a MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech innovation to market requires an industry-specific acceleration model. As a life sciences startup, they are likely to design and manufacture a physical product, navigate clinical trials, regulatory submissions, reimbursement models and multiple customer and stakeholder groups.
“It definitely brings a lot of exciting challenges which we tackle as a team and with our dense ecosystem of partners,” says Maria.
Maria has enjoyed supporting teams through diverse challenges including founders moving at a different pace across verticals such as medical devices and digital health, and founders with research backgrounds taking the first steps to nurture their idea into a solid business.
“What excites me the most is seeing the growth in real-time,” says Maria. “I would even compare it to being a passenger in the backseat of a fast moving car – you help startups accelerate by fine-tuning the course. It is pure enjoyment to plant those seeds and watch the growth unfold.”
Maria has recently onboarded a new cohort of Asia Pacific’s best MedTech and HealthTech entrepreneurs and will kick off the program in the weeks ahead. Maria anticipates a dynamic journey for the startups that span Australia and Singapore and looks forward to lots of in-person glitz and glamour for all startups.
Maria is blown away by the MedTech Actuator team, saying that it is a kind and welcoming environment where people with different backgrounds and experiences come together to drive health innovation forward.
“Running this program reminds me of building a startup – we come up with MVP ideas; choose the best solution; pivot when we face obstacles; and keep building the best experience for our startups,” says Maria.
“I am impressed with how far the MedTech Actuator team has come since the program’s inception in 2018 and look forward to taking this to the next level, applying all of my skills, knowledge, and passion.”