Interview with Leo Exter from Hack For Health

Leo Exter talking about Hack For Health

Leo Exter talking about Hack For Health

Have you always wanted to join a startup, but lack a solid, credible idea? Or tired of solving the same problems at hackathons? Hack for Health may be your answer.

On Tech Brew, we’ve spoken a number of times about how much we like weekend startup events. They are fun, safe environments to experiment with ideas, team building, and pitching. If there is a downside to these types of events, it is that a lot of energy can be expended simply producing a viable idea and figuring out the team leadership. So what if you could skip that?

Hack for Health, organized by and MIC Vlaanderen, is also a weekend event. There are Friday night pitches and team formation, Saturday/Sunday team work, and Sunday evening presentations to a jury. In today’s podcast, Leo Exter, co-founder of, explained the difference is in how they bring more focus to the weekend.

First, before each event, the organizers actively solicit “challenges” from their network of health professionals. These challenges are validated to ensure it is clear enough, can be applied outside of Belgium, and there is a potential business model. Even better, many of these challenges are backed by organizations who are willing to commit to a pilot project if there is a promising solution. This is HUGE for a startup: by the end of the weekend you could have your first client!

Second, each team is led by a preselected Captain. These are people who are entrepreneurs or business persons experienced in building and managing teams. Thus at the outset, there is no need to figure out who is leading the team. The Team Captain is already familiar with the challenge and the challenge owner, and can therefore focus on organizing the team based on each person’s talents.

De Verboden Vrucht

De Verboden Vrucht

Have your own idea related to healthcare? No problem. You are welcome to share it in advance with the Hack for Health team. If it is eligible, then you will be invited to pitch it on the Friday night to try to build a team. The point is to ensure the ideas are thought through before the weekend so time is not wasted. With only 48hrs, time is precious.

Hack for Health, coming up May 9-11 in Kortrijk, sounds like an evolution of the traditional startup weekend. Their model maximizes the time teams have to build solutions by optimizing the administration. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to our podcast with Leo and judge for yourself.

We paired this episode with a few bottles of De Verboden Vrucht (The Forbidden Fruit). It seemed appropriate!

What do you think about the Hack for Health concept? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Show notes

You can see all the current challenge ideas at

Contact Leo via the WeStartup website if you have an project that you think would be a suitable challenge.

Company Website:

Company Twitter: @healthstartup