Looking back on New York

Sjoerd (van Tuijl), Nicky (de Jonge) and Jurgen (de Hart) were in New York for the Mitral Conclave meeting organised by AATS.

A trip like that is of course first and foremost about what they can contribute, in this case to NeoChord and to the surgeons invited to train up in the use of NeoChord’s mitral valve repair device. But the other, commercial side of things is also relevant for the business that LifeTec Group is.

The man in charge of LifeTec Group’s business side is Dr Jurgen de Hart (PhD). We asked him to share his impressions with us:

LifeTec Group | NeoChord | Passive Heart Biosimulator platform | Mitral Conclave, AATS New York
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you look back on the Mitral Conclave?

“How smoothly it all went, and how warmly Sjoerd and Nicky were received by the NeoChord crew as well as the surgeons who came to do the ‘mitral valve repair operation’. That’s always a really special moment to witness.”

LifeTec Group | Looking back on New York | street view
“A warm reception” in a world renowned for its aloofness?

“Yes, isn’t that remarkable? I saw how Sjoerd got a big hug from a heart surgeon he’d only ever met once.

You know, we recently got our new website up and running. Our marketing communications team suggested the phrase ‘nice people to work with’…

I was wondering if that wasn’t a little inappropriate. But then I saw the way we were greeted and I realised we have a really special team of terrific people here, so we shouldn’t be afraid to say it!”

Hugging surgeons was probably not the reason of your trip to New York though.

Jurgen laughs:  “No, Sjoerd is probably better at that. Our academic roots are a big part of us and we spend a lot of time with academics, clinicians and researchers on a day-to-day basis. But we’re obviously still a business, an SME. And although money is not the main motive in our existence, as a business we do have to provide for ourselves. So the commercial side is also important."

LifeTec Group | Looking back on New York | One World Trade Center
It almost sounds like an unpleasant obligation.

“No, it's definitely not an obligation. During those few days in New York I spoke to big and small medtech businesses, to clinicians, to Dr Adams, the program director of the Mitral Conclave; but also to venture capital investors, for example.

I get lots of valuable contacts out of meetings like that, lots of different ones too: potential clients, but also 'simply' interesting people with interesting backgrounds. I learn something new from all of those people and meetings. And that's just fantastic to do and to experience." 

Dr Adams | AATS Mitral Conclave, New York

What did you learn in New York?

“Too much to mention, and frankly also more than I'm willing to divulge here," says Jurgen with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Dr Adams came to our table after the event and gave us a huge compliment: he said he was very satisfied about our contribution to the success of the meeting. That really moved us, and it made us realise as a team that we do extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. So that was a good learning moment.

I also got a clear picture of the growing needs in terms of specific research and training facilities. Those facilities do not yet exist on a global scale, and we are able to provide them. This is something I will discuss with Marco Stijnen, our R&D director.

Another thing I’ve seen and learned is that although a huge number of individual investors pulled out of medtech a few years ago, they are currently regrouping into bigger funds with more serious 'due diligence’ departments, and they are actively scouting medtech investment opportunities again." Jurgen stops talking and allows a meaningful silence to follow.

Would you tell us a bit more about those investors?

“Well, let me just say for the moment that we warmly invite ambitious medtech start-ups to contact me or one of my LifeTec Group colleagues.” says Jurgen, again with a twinkle in his eyes.

Senior Research Engineer

Sjoerd van Tuijl


Jurgen de Hart

Relevant links and background:


  • Passive Heart biosimulator platform > on this website
  • PhysioHeart platform > on this website
  • Heart Valve Testing platform > on this website


  • Acceleration ('turn good ideas into great medical solutions') > on this website

Next on our calendar:

  • May 16 -19, 2017 | Euro PCR, Paris > website
  • June 21 - June 24, 2017 | ASAIO, Chicago > website
  • June 28 - July 1, 2017 | CSI, Frankfurt > newsletter


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