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Meet the Mentors: Shari Langemak

Introducing Meet the Mentors, our latest interview series featuring the top mentors and coaches in our ecosystem.

This edition features Dr. med. Shari Langemak ❤️, who has been working at the intersection of digital healthcare for more than 10 years and is currently spearheading efforts to accelerate treatment development and empower patients through digitalization.


What do you currently do? And what are you currently fighting for?

I’ve worked at the intersection of digital and healthcare for more than 10 years, and it truly fulfills me to see how ongoing digitalization not only accelerates treatment development but also patient empowerment. But to tackle the many challenges we still see in healthcare and to cope with exploding costs, we urgently need more innovation, more intersectoral collaboration, and eventually more courage to try new things. This is what keeps me going and has led to my latest endeavor – founding my new startup, plato.


What are 3 things you’ve learned from your work with entrepreneurs?

Working with early-stage founders and having made my own mistakes in the past with my own ventures, I have learned several valuable lessons that I believe are critical to success in this field. Firstly, I have seen time and again that having a well-developed pilot plan with clear, trackable milestones is key to securing early-stage funding. Especially during early-stage, it is easy to get lost as there are always more tasks than people to complete them. Making yourself and your co-founder accountable for what you do and putting each step into the big picture will make sure that you meet your big goals.

Secondly, I have learned that fundraising takes much longer than many early-stage founders anticipate. Reaching out to investors early will not only put your startup on their roadmap, but also help define what’s important during that time and what isn’t. 

Finally, having a clear vision and go-to-market strategy is crucial, but it's not enough on its own. It's essential to test your hypotheses early and validate your assumptions through rigorous testing and experimentation. Without this step, even the best-laid plans can fall short in the end. 


What trends do you foresee in the next 5 years in the world of entrepreneurship? 

While I can only speak about trends in the digital health space, I believe that we will see several important developments over the next five years. Firstly, we will see a continued shift from outcome towards patient-centered care. This means patient well-being will play an increasingly important role, especially in my current focus field of oncology.

Secondly, with continuous efforts being made in terms of interoperability between systems and devices, we will see a whole new era of entrepreneurship, leveraging new and newly-structured data for health. Unfortunately, Europe and especially Germany took a long time to force digitization in healthcare, and there is still a long way to go. It’s about time that this changes for the better.

Finally, I believe that we will see even more cost-driven approaches to healthcare as the ongoing increase in healthcare costs continues to put pressure on healthcare systems and payers. This will drive a greater focus on efficiency and value-based care – with direct consequences for new business models and startups.

Overall, I believe that the digital health sector is poised for continued growth and innovation in the coming years, with exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors alike. By staying attuned to these trends and developments, we can help drive meaningful progress and improve outcomes for patients around the world.


What currently excites you in your field?

As a physician and entrepreneur working in the digital health space, what excites me most about my field is the vast potential for innovation and impact. Compared to many other sectors, there are still countless opportunities to improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs through the application of cutting-edge technology and data analytics. Whether it's developing new treatments, improving care delivery, or enhancing patient engagement, there is no shortage of exciting challenges and opportunities in this field, directly improving the lives of patients and their families. Entrepreneurs who decide to take on this challenging field, full of regulation and hidden barriers, have the chance to have it all: create a highly-profitable business while improving the world for the better.


Tell us one practical hack to boost work and life productivity.

As an entrepreneur, you always have more high-priority tasks than you can actually handle. Before starting a new project, always ask yourself if it directly contributes to meeting your most important milestones first.


Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your time as a mentor/coach within the FCA/FHA?

Actually, I have many :-) I feel lucky to be able to support so many awesome founders during one of the most exciting phases of a startup. It is especially great to see how an idea becomes an actual product that helps actual patients.


Is there anything you would like to share with the audience?

I am always happy to connect with you on LinkedIn!