Skip navigation

Space age diagnostic device for healthcare and consumers – VitalSigns is the winner in the Start Me Up 2024 business idea competition

VitalSigns Response diagnostic device_Winner of the Start Me Up 2024 business idea competition_Business Joensuu

VitalSigns Oy’s innovation in the field of health technology, the Response 1.0 diagnostic device, has been awarded the first prize in the Start Me Up business idea competition. The smart device measures and analyses a number of bodily biosignals and provides the user, such as a physician, with probable diagnoses and suggestions for suitable further examinations in the course of a single examination with one device. The diagnostic device will revolutionise the use of the traditional stethoscope and boost the efficiency of healthcare both at face-to-face and remote appointments. The device is expected to enter the healthcare market and reach consumers by 2025.

Other awardees include the CorFlux analysis software, which predicts aortic aneurysm rupture risk, as well as inventions and business ideas promoting sustainable development and responsible business, such as software solutions and product and service concepts.

Main prize: VitalSigns brings a space age diagnostic device to healtcare and consumers

VitalSigns Oy, a start-up company, introduces a high-tech diagnostic device that was partly developed at Aalto University. The diagnostic device combines the new generation of sensor technology with artificial intelligence in physical examination and diagnostic analysis, revolutionising the use of traditional stethoscopes. The innovation reflects the technological progress made in the field of space research. The device could be compared to the iconic Tricorder device used by Dr. McCoy to examine patients on the spaceship Enterprise in the sci-fi series Star Trek. In the series, a sensor device the size of a saltshaker scans and analyses the biosignals of the patient’s body. 

- We have practically created the Tricorder and incorporated Dr. McCoy’s expertise, says Alexis Kouros, CEO and founding member of VitalSigns.

VitalSigns’ diagnostic device, Response 1.0, combines several high-tech sensors that detect pulse, oxygen saturation, body temperature, heart and respiratory sounds, ECG, PPG, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate variability (HRV) with one instrument in the course of a single examination. The smart device automatically detects the measured body part to ensure accurate and reliable results. The obtained data are analysed using artificial intelligence, which provides the user with likely diagnoses and documents the results automatically and digitally.

- Response is primarily designed for professional users, such as doctors and nurses, but we are also planning a consumer version to be used at home and in institutions, says Alexis Kouros. - This will fundamentally transform telemedicine. In remote appointments, which are now based on video calls, our device allows patients to send biosignals directly to the physician, making virtual consultations as comprehensive as face-to-face appointments.

VitalSigns has developed a functional prototype of the device and system and is currently finalising its commercial version for mass production. Clinical trials are conducted in North Karelia in cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland, educational institutions and healthcare institutions. The product is expected to enter the market by the end of 2025. 

When Response is commercialised, the first customers will be professional users, such as doctors and nurses, whose primary market in North America and Europe is worth one billion euros. Response will also be introduced to the consumer market for remote appointments, expanding the market significantly. The device will improve the efficiency of health care, both in terms of quantity and quality, which will improve the care experience for both staff and clients. More efficient use of appointments and providing the right diagnoses will reduce the need for revisits, saving both time and resources and creating value for society again and again. 

Tomi Haring, CEO of Business Joensuu and Chairman of the competition jury, emphasises the obvious need for and commercial potential of VitalSigns’ diagnostic device in the global market:

- In the best-case scenario, VitalSigns may revolutionise healthcare and telemedicine, enabling quicker and more accurate diagnoses and improving patient experience. The device allows healthcare professionals to analyse critical health data quickly, accurately, and efficiently. This helps them examine patients and offers a probable diagnosis to initiate treatment quicker. Response saves healthcare costs and nursing staff resources, simultaneously improving patient safety and experience. Using a single, smart, multifunctional device will replace several separate devices and indicators, which will speed up and facilitate work, support the high-standard implementation of remote appointments and help nursing staff’s work with clients. This significant advance in health technology offers considerable benefits and savings for healthcare internationally.

VitalSigns’ core team, Alexis Kouros, Tapio Taipalus and Thomas Andrea, are specialists in health technology with extensive expertise in medicine, technology and business development and management. For winning the Start Me Up 2024 business idea competition, VitalSigns is awarded a cash prize of EUR 18,000 and expert services with a value of EUR 17,240 to support their goals in business development and commercialisation.

The Research-based business idea winner: CorFlux analysis software for predicting aortic aneurysm rupture risk

The winner of the Research-based business idea category, CorFlux, is a new medical analysis program that predicts aortic aneurysm and rupture risk. It allows physicians to identify high-risk aortic aneurysm patients more accurately compared to the current clinical practice and to refer them to preventive surgical treatment in time, which might be lifesaving. The program can also reduce the need for follow-up scans, which significantly reduces health care costs. In addition to the patient’s risk data, the analysis program is based on aortic imaging, creating a digital model and an assessment of aortic aneurysm rupture risk. 

There is no effective analytical method for predicting aortic aneurysm rupture risk on the market, leading to unnecessary and costly follow-up scans in hospitals. People have to wait for their scans longer. This also generates significant costs for the national economy globally. Follow-up scans are estimated to cost the healthcare system EUR 3 billion worldwide every year. Still, aortic ruptures occur despite follow-up. CorFlux enables optimal treatment planning, as the right time to perform surgery and the frequency of follow-up scans can be determined more accurately and cost-effectively. In some cases, mild risk patients may be excluded from the follow-up. This way, healthcare resources could be used for different purposes.

A patent is pending for CorFlux analysis software and the PCT procedure is progressing. The next steps in commercialising and launching business operations include applying for CE marking and launching a spin-off company at the University of Eastern Finland.

According to Jyrki Saarinen, professor at the University of Eastern Finland and member of the jury, the winner of the Research-based business idea category, CorFlux, will transform the diagnosis and treatment of aortic aneurysm worldwide: 

- Analysis software for assessing aortic aneurysm rupture risk has a global market, and its need is evident from the viewpoints of health care, patient safety and the national economy. Aneurysm is a disease that requires immediate diagnosis, understanding the risk factors and treatment, as untreated aortic rupture leads to sudden death. CorFlux has enormous potential to promote the correct diagnosis of aortic aneurysm and to refer high-risk patients to surgery in time all around the world.

CorFlux’s multidisciplinary expert group includes Tero Puustinen, Marja Hedman, Matti Kurki, Pasi Karjalainen, Saara Sillanmäki, Nora Rauhala, Mikael Kurki and Robert Brandt. They are experts in cardiology, cardiac imaging, cardiac surgery, physics, mathematics, commercialisation, regulation and programming. Their prize includes a cash award of EUR 3,000, and expert services with a value of EUR 10,400.

CorFlux is a joint research project of Business Finland and the University of Eastern Finland. The background research has been carried out in cooperation with Kuopio University Hospital, the University of Eastern Finland and Jamk University of Applied Sciences.

The Climate-smartness from Joensuu winner: Real-time emission calculation software for monitoring the use of mandatory diesel engines

The winner of the Climate-smartness from Joensuu category is Kaarlo Valli’s business idea, a real-time emission calculation software for monitoring the use of mandatory diesel engines. It was awarded EUR 3,000. The software calculates the emissions from operating a diesel engine in real time. The calculations rely on actual loading levels and operating hours, which are based on the emission data obtained from the engine manufacturer. It also provides companies with data for optimising the use of diesel engines and helps them find solutions to reduce fuel consumption. 

The software helps companies using and manufacturing diesel engines to meet their changing reporting obligations regarding carbon footprint calculations. The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) obliges companies to report on their responsibility as part of their annual report. With legislative changes, both equipment and motor manufacturers and their customers, such as constructors, are obliged to report on actual emissions. The need to measure actual emissions has also been observed in the City of Joensuu’s construction projects. 

The software is considered to have significant novelty value in the market, and it fulfils real needs. Kaarlo Valli’s (MSc, Industrial Engineering and Management) solid expertise and vision support the realisation of his business idea. When implementing his idea, he has paid attention to responsibility in terms of data storage, for instance. The business vision has potential for strong growth in the coming years. From the viewpoint of climate smartness, the software has the potential to help not only monitor and report, but also reduce emissions from the use of diesel engines and promote sustainable development.

The new Business for Joensuu region municipalities category 

The jury has selected and awarded the winners of the Business for Heinävesi, Ilomantsi, Kitee, Liperi, Outokumpu and Tohmajärvi categories. There were no business ideas from the municipalities of Polvijärvi and Rääkkylä that would have met the competition requirements and evaluation criteria.

Business for Heinävesi winner: Fillariparkki – concept of accommodation and rest areas for cycling routes

The winner of the Business for Heinävesi category is Virpi Pakarinen’s Fillariparkki (literally: Bicycle stop) accommodation and rest area concept. The concept was awarded EUR 1,000. Fillariparkki offers responsible and standardised accommodation and rest area for cyclists and other travellers, using the existing rural infrastructure in a new way. The concept emphasises the circular economy and the importance of local culture and services, while offering additional income and social contacts to rural residents who provide the Fillariparkki service.

Under the Fillariparkki concept, any entrepreneur living or operating in rural areas can act as a service provider, offering appropriate services to cyclists and nature visitors, such as accommodation, cooking, dining and washing opportunities, without major investments. Service providers can also supplement their offering with suitable services. 

The popularity of cycling tourism is increasing, and Fillariparkki offers one solution to increased service demand along the routes. The business idea has been thoroughly planned with comprehensive background research, and the concept is ready for testing. Fillariparkki can be used to improve the vitality of rural areas, and its expandability and consideration of sustainable development make it a convincing business idea.

Business for Ilomantsi winner: WSEH Oy, a system for utilising all wavelengths of solar radiation in energy production

The winner of the Business for Ilomantsi category and of the EUR 2,000 prize is a new energy collection system and related technology invented by Kiila Holding Oy, Sami and Katariina Vanhanen and Tenho Lamminluoto. The system collects solar energy and simultaneously utilises it in the production of electrical and thermal energy with a single device. 

The business idea is to produce new solar energy harvesters that utilise all the wavelengths of solar radiation in energy production. The subsidiary of Kiila Holding Oy, the owner of the invention, WSEH Oy (Whole Spectrum Energy Harvesting systems), is responsible for the management and business operations related to the invention. The goal is to establish a major part of the subcontracting cascade in North Karelia and to locate the assembly and the related functions in Ilomantsi.

The system optimises energy collection efficiency better than other solutions on the market with low and environmentally friendly costs combined with significant benefits. The innovative system is aimed at a broad audience, including consumers, housing companies and industry. It represents significant progress in the utilisation of solar energy in energy production and in sustainable development. The invention has great potential in the market, as similar solutions are not currently available.

Business for Kitee winner: Narskuttelu Oy, xylitol granules for a healthy stomach

The business idea of Narskuttelu Oy, Pekka and Marianne Hoppu, xylitol granules a healthy stomach, is the winner of the Business for Kitee category. It was awarded a prize of EUR 3,000. The idea is to develop and market a completely natural supplement for a healthy stomach. Many suffer from stomach issues, and as many as 8–26% of healthy adults encounter these issues regularly.

The composition of the product differs from that of its competitors and its manufacturing process is new compared to existing products. The company has already carried out background studies and preliminary product testing. The following development measures and their realistic cost estimates are already known. The production can be carried out at the company’s Puhos plant, where the necessary infrastructure and expertise are available. Xylitol granules for a healthy stomach are expected to have good market potential both in Finland and internationally.

- Narskuttelu Oy continues its determined and systematic product development to offer solutions for concrete needs. Professionally implemented product development processes and market studies suggest that there is also demand for new products. Narskuttelu Oy is an excellent example of a company in which expertise and the acquisition of new data are utilised systematically, keeping up with times, summarises Pekka Hirvonen, Mayor of Kitee.

Business for Liperi winner: Uuteko, manufacture and processing of plant extracts into organic products 

Uuteko, the business idea of Liisi Vuorjoki, Kniteco Oy, is the winner of the Business for Liperi category. It was awarded a prize of EUR 3,000. Uuteko is an industrial-scale extraction method for the production and processing of plant extracts into organic products. The company’s brand products include organic pesticides, biostimulants and fertilisers, which are used by farmers and horticultural and agricultural retailers. Plant extracts are also used to produce raw material for cosmetics and nutritional complements for the cosmetics industry. 

The business model is based on utilising by-product, promoting the circular economy and sustainable development. Uuteko combines technology, sustainable development and a versatile range of products, serving several customer groups. The company operates in Ylämylly, Liperi.

Business for Outokumpu winner: Innopelletti Oy, Villasta pulloon – sheep’s wool pellets for gardens and liquid fertilisers

The City of Outokumpu and the Outokumpu Industrial Park awarded EUR 2,000 to the winner of their category, Annika Kontkanen’s Innopelletti Oy, Villasta pulloon business concept (literally: From wool to bottle). The concept uses waste sheep’s wool for the manufacture of a soil improvement solution for gardens. If the product is condensated and hygienised, it could also be sold in pump bottles. To create the solution, sheep’s wool is crushed and soaked in water. All nutrients in wool are thus recovered and ready for use in the garden. The wool pellet is a separate product. It is used as a long-acting nutrient and moisture binding agent in the garden.

The business is based on the circular economy, utilising leftover sheep’s wool and recycling its nutrients for fertiliser. The product has potential for further development and expansion, which lays the foundation for sustainable business. The production facilities of Innopelletti Oy are located in Outokumpu, which supports the development and maintenance of vitality in rural areas and promotes employment.

Business for Tohmajärvi winner: Hirsiässät Oy, roof mount for connector and junction boxes

The business idea of Aleksi Sivonen, the entrepreneur behind Hirsiässät Oy, is the winner of the Business for Tohmajärvi category. He was awarded a prize of EUR 2,000. The roof mount is a new, responsible solution for the installation of connector and junction boxes in the roof structures of buildings before installing the ceiling material. It provides ready-made support for the box, enabling quick and easy installation. It replaces traditional plank solutions that damage the vapour barrier and are considered difficult. The design of the product takes the compatibility of the vapour barrier system into account. No tools are required for mounting it.

The roof mount serves construction companies, wholesalers and building factories, offering significant benefits to both construction professionals and end customers. The product saves working time, improves the airtightness of buildings and indoor air quality, and supports sustainable development and responsible construction with its environmentally friendly material choices. Based on a new study, the product also has potential on the international market. Hirsiässät operates in Tohmajärvi.

Student category winners

University of Eastern Finland winner: Electronic narcotic records software

University of Eastern Finland’s winner is an electronic narcotic records software, whose developers, Kuopio residents Eelis Komulainen and Teemu Sorsa, are awarded a prize of EUR 3,000.

The software provides health care actors, such as pharmacies, nursing homes, health centres and hospitals with a digital narcotic records system. The current practice of accounting on paper forms is slow, difficult to trace and prone to errors. The electronic system speeds up work and enables electronic certification. Digital processing increases work productivity and cost-effectiveness and enables the collection of new types of statistics. The system promotes patient safety and employees’ legal protection.

There is an obvious need to reform and digitalise narcotic records in the health care sector, which makes this solution important, feasible and tradeable. After the prototype, the team aims to pilot the application in the pharmacy sector, then to expand the use of the software to health centres and hospitals administered by the wellbeing services counties, based on user feedback. 

Karelia University of Applied Sciences winner: Liito Oy: disc golf tracking device and application

The disc golf tracking device and application by Liito Oy is Karelia University of Applied Sciences’ winner. It was awarded a prize of EUR 3,000. The disc golf tracking device attached to the disc allows enthusiasts to track their throw data in real time using their smart devices. This helps players improve their technique and performance and track personal progress.  The smartphone application also provides players with a gamified and interactive social environment for playing, allowing them to compare performances and share experiences, which improves community cohesion among players.

Liito Oy’s solution responds to the needs of the disc golf community with an innovative data solution that combines data, improvement and a sense of community among hobbyists. The convenient, light and easy-to-use monitoring device is specifically designed for disc golf enthusiasts and competitors in Europe and the USA. The business idea was created by three International Business students at the Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Emil Suomi, Mika Meriläinen and Henry Tuononen. Their start-up company operates in Ylämylly, Liperi.

The company has extensive market potential as the popularity of the sport grows globally. In addition, there is little competition in the service area, which offers plenty of opportunities for new operators. 

Riveria winner: Saukko – work planning application and service for companies

Programming student Minttu Kosonen from Riveria’s Degree Programme in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is Riveria’s winner with her business idea Saukko – work planning application and service for companies. It was awarded a prize of EUR 3,000.

Saukko is an innovative workforce management application that provides a solution for work planning and resourcing in SMEs. The application combines AI-assisted computing and participatory dialogue, enabling optimal resource allocation, continuous development and inclusive cooperation.  

The business idea can be further refined into business operations, taking into account the competitive situation and future developments in the sector. The business idea provides opportunities for cooperation with various stakeholders.

The ICT Innovator category

No business ideas were awarded in the ICT Innovator category, as the ideas did not meet the requirements and rules for ICT pilot ideas.


Business Joensuu’s Start Me Up business idea competition has been running since 2000, promoting entrepreneurship and the transformation of new growth and start-up companies into sustainable business. The competition has established itself as one of Finland’s most significant business idea competitions in terms of both the value of prizes and the number of ideas. This year, we received 168 competition ideas, of which 37 were submitted to the jury for evaluation. 15 finalists pitched their business ideas to the jury, and the Start Me Up 2024 winner was selected among the finalists. The main prize and the prizes of other categories were awarded in an Award Gala in the Science Park on 15 May 2024. The value of the main prize is EUR 35,240 and the total value of the prizes exceeds EUR 90,000.

Business Joensuu, Tomi Haring, CEO, Chairman of the Start Me Up jury,
+358 0400 380 130,

VitalSigns Oy, Espoo:
Alexis Kouros, Founding Member, CEO, +358 50 371 9400, Tapio Taipalus, CTO, +358 45 651 8359,

CorFlux, Tero Puustinen, MSc, Business Developer, Kuopio, +358 400 239 632

Real-time emission calculation software, Kaarlo Valli, Joensuu, +358 45 144 8555,

Fillariparkki, Virpi Pakarinen, Heinävesi, +358 40 730 1300,

WSEH Oy, Kiila Holding Oy, Sami Vanhanen, Ilomantsi, +358 50 378 9809,

Narskuttelu Oy, Pekka and Marianne Hoppu, Kitee, +358 40 195 5770,

Uuteko, Kniteco Oy, Liisi Vuorjoki, Liperi, +358 45 310 7272,

Villasta Pulloon, Innopelletti Oy, Annika Kontkanen, Outokumpu, + 358 50 366 4410,

Hirsiässät Oy, Aleksi Sivonen, Tohmajärvi, +358 45 200 9271, 

Electronic narcotic records software, Kuopio:
Eelis Komulainen, University Teacher, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, +358 40 417 0120,
Teemu Sorsa, Doctoral Researcher, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, +358 44 577 5457, 

Liito Oy, Emil Suomi, Liperi, +358 45 112 8551,

Saukko – work planning application and service for companies, Joensuu, Minttu Kosonen, +358 45 103 6022,

Related content

29.05.2024 Business Joensuu news

Complete rejection. That was the general feedback that Heinävesi residents gave in spring 2022 to the planned development of Kermanranta Harbor. At the time, Virpi Pakarinen had moved back to...

28.05.2024 Business Joensuu news

Press Release May 28, 2024

Business Joensuu’s How are companies doing? campaign is underway for the fourth time in Heinävesi in June 2024. During the campaign, Business Joensuu's experts will...

09.04.2024 Business Joensuu news

This year, the Start Me Up business idea competition received 168 accepted proposals, with the aim of discovering and supporting new growth entrepreneurs and startups. After the initial screening by...