- OKRA Technologies was named the best Female- Led Startup in 2019
- The company aims to transform healthcare by developing AI solutions that help bring the right treatment to the right patient quickly
15/04/2020 Brussels. Technology has become one of the best allies for scientists to continue research and for health care providers to save lives. Loubna Bouarfa, is the founder and CEO of OKRA Technologies , the startup of artificial intelligence that empowers life science professionals with AI driven insights anywhere and at any time. The company, located in Cambridge (UK) and in Leiden (Netherlands), is leading the implementation of AI in life sciences at the European level. D
Dr. Loubna Bouarfa has fought tirelessly to move her project forward and has won several awards, including the Best Female-Led in 2019 at the special edition of the European Startup Awards. The Finnova Foundation helped her a lot, and thanks to this award the company has achieved visibility across Europe.
We spoke with Loubna Bouarfa to find out what OKRA Technologies is all about. A company that, without a doubt, can contribute its grain of sand to help healthcare professionals in the fight against coronavirus.
Q- What prize have you won, on which date and through by what means or institution?
A-My company OKRA.ai was named Best Female-led Startup in 2019, at the StartUp Europe Awards Special Edition.
Q-What has Finnova helped you with or is helping you with?
A– StartUp Europe Awards is a fantastic initiative of both the European Commission and Finnova Foundation. This award has given us visibility across Europe, which is absolutely essential to boost small innovative companies like us and help us scale globally.
“The Eurovision for Startups” has built a powerful ecosystem, and has connected us with relevant stakeholders across Europe.
Q- How did you meet Finnova?
A- I met Finnova Foundation thanks to this initiative. I am very impressed by how Finnova is promoting a culture of innovation across the EU and beyond.
Q-Are awards for entrepreneurs or startups important?
A-Absolutely. As an entrepreneur, to me an award is an absolute honour, as it means a clear recognition of the value that my company is bringing to the world.
Q- What is your project about and how do you differ from the rest?
A- At OKRA, our mission is to support and transform healthcare, developing AI solutions that help bring the right treatment to the right patient at speed. We are here to unleash the potential of AI and use it to save and improve human lives.
We collaborate with the life science industry to create AI systems that accelerate the growth and create real value for healthcare, with the aim of having a direct impact on every step of the pipeline – from drug to patient.
The big breakthrough for OKRA’s technology lies not only in our capability to integrate huge amounts of data and extract relevant insights to drive actions, but also in the delivery of this information in a very user-centric way. Our AI systems are not black boxes: they are powered by explainability. This means that our predictions and suggestions are coupled with explanations, so that users understand the situation and are empowered to make the right decisions consistently.
What makes us different is that we develop trustworthy AI. I am a member of the European High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on AI, so at OKRA we implement the European AI strategy and guidelines, making sure that AI is lawful, ethical and robust.
Q- Do you think it’s hard to invest in a startup?
A-Investing in startups may be generally considered to be risky, but I believe that it is really necessary. Investing in a startup means putting money into a revolutionary idea that has the potential to change reality. For me, innovation is where money should be spent.
If a great idea turns out to be unprofitable, you can confidently say that at least you made an effort to challenge the status quo . But if a great idea comes to life, the consequences are unimaginable.
Q- How has your company evolved since you won the acceleration ticket?
A– Over the last year, OKRA has experienced great growth. Our team has doubled in size and we have a team of brilliant professionals who go the extra mile every single day to develop the best AI solutions for life sciences.
At OKRA, we develop AI products that are easily scalable. We believe that strong foundations and agile methodologies are the key to success in the technology industry.
This acceleration ticket has brought us really far.
Q- Do you consider that Startups are the future on a global level?
A– Definitely. Startups are the future because they can literally change the world. We need revolutionary ideas on a global scale, so that we can solve current problems and thrive with innovation.
Q- Do you think there should be more Startup Europe Awards? And what would you say to those entrepreneurs who are thinking of approaching European projects?
A- Of course there should be more Startup Europe Awards! There are many exceptional people in Europe and worldwide, and their game-changing projects need to be valued and recognised.
I would encourage all entrepreneurs to actively approach European projects, because they offer fantastic support and help boost companies to the next level.
In this video Loubna Bouarfa, Founder & CEO of OKRA Technologies, explains her journey in AI, the company mission and the amazing OKRA team.