Coffee Talk: How Digital Health Startups Respond and Thrive in a Global Pandemic

How Almirall's Digital Garden is helping startups move from crisis to opportunity

Imagine this: You’re the founder of a digital health startup. You’ve been carefully selected and invited to participate in a brand new accelerator in Barcelona. At the start of the year, you say goodbye to your friends and family, you find a place in Barcelona to call home, and you focus on growing your business with the mentorship and support of one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

And then, COVID-19 happens.

How does that impact your strategy? How will it affect your success? And will the fight you wage for survival have an impact the healthcare sector at large?

In this Coffee Talk we speak with Carlos Gallardo, the CEO and Founder of CG Health Ventures and a board member at Almirall. He has invested personally in about a dozen companies – including Washington DC-based Babyscripts, whose co-founder Juan Pablo Segura was a guest on episode 67. Carlos is based in Barcelona, and he often takes an active role in helping his companies develop their product market fit.


Just to refresh your memory, and to give you a little bit of trivia – Almirall is a pharma company that’s in over 100 countries and it has it’s main offices in Barcelona. They focus on skin health – on conditions like acne, atopic eczema and psoriasis.

You probably know that skin is the largest human organ, but did you know that adults have about 8 lbs of skin? It’s about 22square feet if you measured it all out. That just seems like a lot. For our international listeners – 8 pounds is a little less than 4 kilograms and 22 square fee is about 2 square meters – that’s just a lot of skin.

At the end of 2019, Almirall selected and invited 4 companies to participate in their first cohort – aka “First Harvest” – at the Digital Garden in beautiful Barcelona. Like all things in 2020, the plans had to change to adapt to our new reality. In the face of this global crisis, the startups have embraced and benefited from opportunities that no one predicted in January. And Almirall itself has benefited from the Digital Garden as well.

In October 2020, Almirall launched their call for their second cohort – or, as they like to call it – their “Second Harvest.”  Applications are open until October 31, 2020, so don’t delay.

Links and Resources:


Digital Garden's First Harvest:

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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall


As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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