#AustinInnovates The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI)

#AustinInnovates is a hashtag highlighting regional stories of health and life science success, partnership, and work that is contributing to community vitality.

In our first, #AustinInnovates blog post we are highlighting ABHI, our friends who have made it from across the pond and have landed right here in Austin, Texas.

Leading HealthTech Across the Pond

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (or ABHI for short) is the UK’s leading industry association for health technology (HealthTech).

ABHI supports the HealthTech community to save and enhance lives. Members, including both multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supplying products from syringes and wound dressings to surgical robots and digitally enhanced technologies. 

They represent the industry to stakeholders, such as the government, NHS and regulators. HealthTech plays a key role in supporting the delivery of healthcare and is a significant contributor to the UK’s economic growth. In the UK, HealthTech is now the largest employer in the broader Life Sciences sector. It employs 121,000 people in 3,500 companies, with a combined turnover of £22.2bn. In recent years, the industry has enjoyed the growth of around 5%. ABHI’s 300 members account for approximately 80% of the sector by value.

Ultimately, ABHI’s work supports the vibrant ecosystem that is the HealthTech sector in the UK. They also provide support for US-based companies to enter and explore the UK market.

A Bridge to Austin

In 2017 ABHI landed in the Dell Medical School’s WorkSpaces @ Texas Health CoLab and set up their inaugural ABHI Innovation Hub in the United States, effectively choosing Texas as the landing site for their work in the States. ABHI recognizes that the scale and diversity of the US can make it a daunting market for foreign companies to penetrate, especially in health. So they decided to focus on one state as a “soft landing” site. 

Massachusetts, California, and Tennessee were all considered as high-potential locations for ABHI’s Hub. When asked “Why Texas?” communications manager at AHBI, Jonathan Evans shared his insight. 

“Though the West coast is known for its credentials, the market is very busy,” said Evans, “This makes it harder for small and medium-sized companies to navigate and to get plugged in when it comes to regulations, requirements, partnerships and more.” 

Evans shared,  “When we asked who has the expertise and opportunities for our companies, people kept speaking about Texas. Its central geography makes it accessible and the presence of significant academic and military institutions support innovation in the healthcare field.”

Texas also has the second largest economy in the U.S., and most of its 30 million people live within a few hours of Austin, making it a great landing site for European health companies. Being able to engage multiple major cities within a single, business-friendly regulatory environment is unique in the U.S. - the perfect way to soft land in this market. 

Innovating with the Dell Med Difference 

Partnership with Dell Medical School provides ABHI’s member companies with “on the ground support” including access to regulatory professionals, clinicians, business mentors, manufacturing expertise and more. Dell Med’s expertise and connections have helped ABHI member companies to validate their technologies and refine their business models for the U.S. market. 

Evans tells UK health tech companies that the ABHI Innovation Hub at Dell Med makes Texas the perfect place to land, de-risk, and scale. And the proof is in the pudding (as they say in the U.K.).

Since launching their work in Texas only two years ago, more than 25 research collaborations have been initiated by ABHI member companies, with UK delegations meeting the likes of Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White and St David's in recent years. 

Currently, 15 ABHI companies are housed in the WorkSpaces @ Texas Health CoLab at Dell Med

The products and services that ABHI member companies are delivering improve patient outcomes and enable more efficient health systems. By connecting these UK companies with the health system leaders across Austin, ABHI is enabling their entry into the US and opening up new pathways for solutions to better healthcare outcomes abroad and right here in Austin.

We look forward to following their growth and amplifying their member company success within the community as we continue to explore how #AustinInnovates. 

Get in Touch 

Connection and collaboration are key for impactful innovation. ABHI usually has a delegation that visits town 2-3 times a year and 15 companies have joined Dell Med and are regularly using the facilities at the WorkSpaces. Most recently a trade show was hosted late April

If you’re looking to break into the UK, ABHI offers a dedicated international membership service to companies that are not based in the UK. The membership is focused on three areas:

  • Access to ABHI’s UK network

    • Signposting and introductions to a highly-developed network of UK health system leaders

    • Introductions to potential partners for joint-ventures

  • Access to ABHI’s leadership team

    • Market intelligence

    • In-depth knowledge and understanding of business opportunities and government initiatives

  • Insight and intelligence

    • Access to a variety of written briefings and market analysis

If you would like to get in contact with ABHI or their member companies please email us at howdy@capitalcityinnovation.org and we’ll get you connected. 

Leave a comment to share other innovators that you think should be spotlighted for #AustinInnovates.


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