In September 2022, our team, the “Natural Killers”, embarked on an unforgettable journey at the EU TalentOn Hackathon event in Leiden. Little did we know that our participation would ignite a spark of innovation, leading us to create a groundbreaking solution that would revolutionize cancer detection. This is our inspiring story of how OncoSwab was born.
The EU TalentOn Hackathon, held in Leiden from September 14th to 18th, 2022, was an intensive event that brought together 100 talented individuals from across the European Union. Guided by Mission Navigator Henrik Scheel, participants like us were tasked with tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing society today including climate adaptation, beating cancer, smart cities, and achieving healthy soils . From dawn until dusk, the headquarter at PLNT was our creative hub, providing us with the space and resources to work diligently on our innovative solutions, all aimed at shaping a better future.
As the Natural Killers, we stood before the public on that memorable Friday 16th and the Grand Jury Saturday 17th of september. Our pitch was filled with passion and hope, showcasing our vision for transforming cancer detection. While we were thrilled to secure a first place in the pitch competition and third place in the general challenge, we left the event with more than just an award—we left with a newfound sense of purpose and the backing of investors who believed in our dream.
Following our success at the EU TalentOn Hackathon, we returned home with a clear vision for our project. We recognized that our initial idea had immense potential, but it needed further refinement and a deeper understanding of the market to truly make an impact. After the event, we embarked on a journey of introspection and market evaluation.
We engaged with mentors and learned from experienced entrepreneurs who provided valuable insights. Their guidance helped us see the gaps in our concept and, more importantly, the opportunities we had overlooked. It became clear that our mission to revolutionize cancer detection was more vital than ever, and we needed to take a different approach to achieve our goal.
With these lessons in mind, we made the pivotal decision to pivot our project. We transitioned from the Natural Killers to OncoSwab, a name that embodied our dedication to creating a non-invasive, accessible, and reliable cancer screening solution. Our journey to refine the idea and reevaluate the market was a crucial step in our evolution, one that set the stage for the development of a groundbreaking innovation.
Today, OncoSwab continues to evolve and expand. We’re delving into research for even more accurate and specific cancer detection methods, partnering with leading cancer research institutions, and relentlessly pursuing our mission to make cancer diagnosis more accessible, less invasive, and more effective.
Our journey, from winning the pitch competition as the Natural Killers to creating OncoSwab, is a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and the support of a community that believes in change. What started as a dream in Leiden at the EU TalentOn Hackathon has become a global beacon of hope for those affected by cancer. Our story shows that when a team of determined individuals comes together with a shared vision, they can make the world a better place, one swab at a time.