Vigo rises as one of the leading European healthcare innovators in 2019

This year, one-third of the EIT Health flagship stories approved by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) comes from InnoStars – Central, Eastern and Southern European regions, also known as the "moderate innovators". The regions are growing rapidly, and it is evident that they have become the birthplace to some of the most successful, innovative projects that are on their way to transform European healthcare ecosystems. Vigo rises as one of them. A start-up from Latvia that allows patients worldwide to access stroke therapy digitally at the comfort and safety of their home. That is more important today than ever, in the changing world due to COVID-19.

How have the InnoStars regions proven themselves in the European healthcare systems?

“I think it is no longer a matter of opinion. InnoStars and EIT Health RIS have caught up and become a genuine pillar of innovation in healthcare, and this is an objective fact to be reckoned with. I am delighted about the EIT recognition of Success Stories and Innovations in Action. Obviously, there is still room for improvement, and a lot of challenges remain unsolved. Yet, the 2019 Success Stories EIT recognition is a testament to the tremendous work of our Partners, EIT Health Hubs as well as a range of innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, and healthcare professionals,” said Mikołaj Gurdała, EIT Health InnoStars Manager.

EIT proudly approved 9 Success Stories from InnoStars and EIT Health RIS countries for 2019. It stands for 33% of all accepted stories coming from EIT Health. Vigo rises among them, as EIT writes about Kristaps Krafte/Vigo: "A graduate of EIT labelled programme MSc Innovation in Health Care at Copenhagen Business School and a co-founder of Vigo. The start-up is developing digital therapy for stroke recovery using evidence-based tools and artificial intelligence."

To read the full article and learn about the rest of the EIT Health InnoStars success stories in 2019, go here.

Vigo in collaboration with Cēsis clinic begins a pilot project for stroke survivors

Cēsis clinic is the first health institution in Latvia that has begun offering a new program for stroke patients that aims to reduce the time and efforts needed to recover from stroke and return back to normal life. The application "Vigo", made in Latvia, thus far provides the greatest availability and most frequent rehabilitation out of all stroke rehabilitation programs, and can be used at home or when the medical specialist is not around. It is personalized for the needs of each individual stroke survivor.

"At a time when many health institutions are starting to consider options to consult with patients remotely, Cēsis clinic has taken an important step in using modern technology aids. It is obvious that the lead and personnel of Cēsis clinic are thinking strategically, and I am very pleased about that. Because I myself grew up in Cēsis, I feel honored that once again my hometown demonstrates its progressive spirit. Other health institutions, and not only in Latvia, have expressed a similar initiative, and we are sure they will be able to learn a lot from Cēsis' example," Kristaps Krafte, Founder of Vigo, comments.

The pilot project in Cēsis clinic will last three months. During this time, the usual consultations with medical specialists and physiotherapy exercises will be complemented with "Vigo" application for free for clinic's inpatients. Neurologist Inese Irbe from Cēsis clinic, who coordinates the collaboration with the app developers, talks about the goals of the pilot project and the benefits patients will experience.

How does this program work?

Vigo works as a digital assistant during rehabilitation process for patients after they experience stroke. At the moment the process is not completely automatized, but down the line that is the goal. The program is customized for each patient individually, considering each individual's functional abilities, and is put together by medical and technical specialists.

The greatest benefit for a stroke patient is that the application helps with covering the period in between treatment in hospital and being able to start a rehabilitation program in person in one of the rehabilitation facilities. It provides not only physical benefits but emotional support as well which is no less important for a stroke survivor. This therapeutic can help motivate patients such that they work on their own to recover their health, and such that they find this process interesting. That is why the developers have intended to incorporate gamification elements with virtual rewards after each completed exercise.

What is the role of Cēsis clinic in this pilot project?

Through obtaining wider clinical experience, we will be able to work out guidelines to see which patients will find "Vigo" digital therapy the most useful and for whom it won't be suitable unfortunately. Additionally, we will work an an algorithm that will standardize the introduction of "Vigo" for patients and the prescription to use it at home. Afterwards, this experience will be useful for other health institutions. We have received the equipment needed from "Vigo" app developers - a stand and a tablet, as well as the rights to use the program's demo version.

Which patients will be prioritized for offering Vigo?

Those will be patients with acute stroke who are being treated at Cēsis clinic. We are planning to offer the program to most patients who have the communication abilities that allow for that.

Will this tool be helpful for patients who suffered stroke a year ago or more?

The target audience is acute patients. However, patients who had stroke a while ago should maintain rehabilitation procedures at a level that at least would help maintain the previously achieved results.

How is collaboration with other clinic's specialists intended?

The evaluation of the application is interdisciplinary, it is a team work. Just like up to date, we will include a rehabilitologist and a physiotherapist who will come to the patients, work with them in person and will evaluate their progress. Because these medical specialists work with each patient a certain amount of time, the digital therapy will be available to them for use for the rest of the time. Therefore patients will certainly benefit.

The founder of Vigo is Kristaps Krafte, who while studying healthcare innovations in Copenhagen and Rotterdam, found himself working in evaluating the efficiency of stroke treatment. Vigo Co-founder Jānis Šlēziņš, a neurologist, has work experience in Latvia, the UK and Portugal. Vigo partners with National Rehabilitation Center "Vaivari" in Latvia.

To learn more about Vigo, read in our homepage.

"Vigo reaches its first customers" - Message from the Founder

Dear Reader,

On May 12th we launched the first public version of Vigo. Yay!! It took us around a year and a half, and even though that is considered a short time for launching a med tech product, sometimes it seemed like it was taking forever. Finally, Vigo is here and a limited number of first release users have already received their packages. Not going to lie, it feels a bit surreal.

This milestone is also a time to reflect and be grateful. Vigo's story didn’t begin by founding a company. It started with a research project in acute stroke treatment in two large hospitals. Spending countless hours in these institutions, talking to stroke survivors, their relatives and families, doctors and other healthcare workers, I learned about the complexity and challenges of stroke treatment. It became clear that a new, more accessible solution was necessary. That is how Vigo came about.

I wanted to say a huge thank you to the staff at Riga Stradins Clinical University hospital, especially to the Stroke Unit and the Scientific Institution, to the staff at Bispebjerg hospital’s Stroke Unit, my research partner Monika and the Latvian Society of Stroke Survivors “Vigor” (as you can see, they inspired us to choose our name). I also wanted to say thank you to everyone at Copenhagen Business School, University of Copenhagen and Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management in Rotterdam. Without the education I had, I would not be innovating in healthcare and celebrating the launch of our first product.

But it’s not all roses. On May 14th, 2 days after the launch, my grandma was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with a stroke. It was a big hit for me and my family. People often asked me if I had chosen this path because of personal reasons, and I always answered that spending 2 years with stroke survivors made it personal. However, now Vigo became personal to me to a greater extent. Whether it’s a circumstance, in a strange way my granny got lucky - she’ll get access to Vigo and will be able to receive treatment at home during this unsafe time. But there are many people out there who haven’t had this chance. Therefore we are working hard, even harder now, to make Vigo as accessible as possible to stroke survivors in Latvia and beyond.

I’m very thankful to my team that has endured uncertainty, constant change and everything else that comes with a startup life. A big thank you also goes to our partners - National Rehabilitation center “Vaivari” who we partnered with in therapy content development and LMT, our partners in technical support. Our path is still just at the beginning.


Kristaps Krafte

Founder and CEO

Vigo Health Latvija

Digital stroke rehabilitation assistant Vigo will be presented on European Stroke Awareness Day

On May 12th, 2020, at 11:00 AM EEST, digital rehabilitation assistant Vigo will be presented live on the internet and will become available to stroke patients in Latvia.

25 to 30 thousand stroke patients every year are in need for a timely rehabilitation in Latvia. However, the limited human resources, limited capacity of rehabilitation facilities as well as various social and functional obstacles prevent stroke patients to receive sufficient rehabilitation services. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the accessibility of rehabilitation has decreased even more.

Therefore, a digital and individually customized rehabilitation assistant is necessary for the stroke patients. It allows them to begin the rehabilitation process immediately and allows to continue with it alongside a rehabilitation process provided by human specialists. The digital rehabilitation assistant “Vigo” is made in Latvia, in collaboration with the National Rehabilitation Center “Vaivari”.

The presentation of the digital rehabilitation assistant “Vigo” will be joined by the following participants:

Kristaps Krafte, a healthcare innovation specialist, and Dr. Janis Slezins, a doctor. Both founders of Vigo

Anda Nulle, a doctor of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Chair of the Board of the National Rehabilitation Center “Vaivari”

Ingmars Pukis, Vicepresident of LMT

The presentation will also be joined by members of NHS (National Health Services), the biggest hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Latvia, Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and others.

The live stream will occur on Facebook platform, LMT and Vigo Health pages and LMT Straume platform.

Stay tuned and follow the news of Vigo on our Facebook page, as we continue our growth: Vigo Health


Accessibility of rehabilitation for stroke during world wide isolation

It is well known that recovery from stroke takes a lot of time, discipline and effort from patients. It also requires a tremendous amount of human specialist involvement. Even before the COVID-19 virus had changed the world, the majority of stroke survivors worldwide were not able to receive stroke rehabilitation in sufficient amount. The reasons for that were multiple – there were simply never enough rehab facilities, beds in dedicated rehab centers, rehab specialists. Not to mention multiple social and functional barriers that kept patients away from stroke rehabilitation services. No surprise, results of stroke recovery are poor. 

And now this, when all non – essential travel has been restricted to the most of world’s population, where majority stroke survivors as high risk individuals are not able to access post stroke rehabilitation due to risk of catching Covid-19 virus, where they can’t even accept anyone coming to their own home without risking to be infected.

How can patients access rehabilitation? It’s time for Vigo

Vigo was born long before we knew what self isolation and quarantine is. Vigo was born when people were not afraid of meeting each other, before rehab facilities were closed. But now Vigo has become important. 

Vigo is your digital rehab assistant for stroke which is always by your side and will guide you through the rehabilitation process at the comfort of your home without putting you at risk.

Vigo wins the grand prize in accelerator programme in the Netherlands

Vigo won the grand prize of €10’000 no-strings-attached cash in the accelerator programme organized by the European fintech unicorn Adyen, as well as mentorship from some of the Adyen’s most talented experts. The cash prize will be invested in further growth of the company.

The company participated in an accelerator programme organised by Adyen with 9 other companies from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, and competed for the main prize. The one-week long programme took place in Amsterdam, ending on 21 February with the pitches.

Kristaps Krafte, CEO of Vigo, said: “As a company, we are first and foremost pleased with the knowledge gained through the program and the contacts we now have with Adyen experts, whose experience is very useful for us at this stage of the development. And, of course, winning the grand prize is a powerful incentive for our entire team to continue our work.”

Adyen is a global fintech company based in Amsterdam in 2006 offering payment technology solutions for brands like Spotify Technology SA, Ebay, Netflix, Uber, Gap Inc. etc. Launched as a start-up, it became the 6th largest unicorn in Europe at a valuation of $2.3 billion in 2015. In 2017, it was granted a European banking license and in 2018 it was listed on the stock exchange. Adyen’s net revenue was 348.9 million euros at the end of 2018, achieving 60% annual growth.