Founded in 2018, startup UriSalt had developed a way to determine sodium balance via disposable urine strips and had been at A1 Startup Campus since 2020.
Typically, a lab test and invasive blood test is required to determine a person’s electrolyte status. Founded in 2018, the Tyrolean startup UriSalt – a spinoff of Uni Innsbruck and MedUni Innsbruck – worked until recently on a much simpler solution: an electrolyte balance determination by means of urinalysis (SODISENS), which can also be performed by private individuals, such as people with high blood pressure. Disposable urine strips and a point-of-care device were used for this purpose. But the corona crisis threw a wrench in the works for the eHealth startup, which had also been a member of A1 Startup Campus since 2020. Bankruptcy proceedings were recently opened.
UriSalt: delay due to pandemic as cause of insolvency
“The slide into the current insolvency is attributed primarily to the measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting delays in research activities,” according to the page of the Alpine Creditors Association (AKV). Most recently, the company, in which the University of Innsbruck also held shares, had four employees. According to AKV, 18 creditors with total claims of around 220,000 euros are affected by the insolvency proceedings.
“Immense market potential” could not be exploited
The trio of founders, chemist Gerda Fuhrmann, management consultant and chemist Pinar Kilickiran, and Peter Heinz-Erian, an employee of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical University of Innsbruck, won several prizes for their concept. As recently as the beginning of 2020, they were still very optimistic about the economic opportunities. “The market potential is immense. In the DACH region alone, there are 18 million patients with high blood pressure who should strictly avoid elevated sodium levels,” Kilickiran said at the time. The SODISENS test described above was fresh on the market at the time.