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Advisory Board Gains Revolutionary Cancer Medtech Co-Founder, Maria Sievert

Meet our newest Advisory Board member, Maria Sievert, co-founder and CEO of inveox GmbH, a medtech start-up committed to making cancer diagnosis faster, safer and more reliable.

Maria Sievert, CEO and Co-founder of inveox // Photo: Nathalie Zimmermann

According to recent data from the World Health Organization, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide.[1] By 2040, the American Cancer Society expects the global number of new cancer cases to rise to 27.5 million with 16.3 million deaths as the result of the growing aging population.[2] While a range of novel, more effective and less harmful cancer therapies are in development, inveox co-founder and CEO, Maria Sievert, noticed an opportunity for innovation at one of the most critical stages of cancer detection and management – diagnosis.

But first, let’s rewind and start from the beginning. Maria has always been a person intrigued by entrepreneurship and innovation. As a child, she grew up watching her father found and run his own business and was eager to take on responsibility and lead school projects. Eventually, Maria would go on to study engineering management at TUM. It was during her studies there that she first came across the problem inveox would later aim to solve.

While studying abroad in the United States, Maria went on a tour of a histopathology lab during which she was introduced to the pathology process. As described during the tour, due to manual data entry, tedious sample collection processes and potential communication inefficiencies between doctors, pathologists and laboratory technicians, modern-day pathology still employs a labor-intensive and error-prone system that can result in inaccurate disease diagnoses. Even today, there is up to a 15% chance that when a cancer biopsy sample arrives at a lab, it may get lost, mixed-up or contaminated.

Once back in her home country of Germany, Maria would first earn her master’s degree and then become a project manager in the Digital Services division at BMW. In the meantime, the problem within modern pathology incubated in the back of her mind. Not long thereafter, Maria decided to tackle the problem head on and shared her initial ideas with the Manage&More program by UnternehmerTUM. It was there that she was connected with her future business partner and husband, molecular biotechnologist and fellow TUM graduate, Dominik Sievert.

From there, the two innovators tested potential approaches and established a network which led them to defining their business plan: launching a medtech to develop systems to digitize, automate and connect histopathology laboratories and physicians. The ultimate goal of the company was to increase the safety and reliability of cancer diagnoses while leveraging the potential for personalized diagnostics based on big data and artificial intelligence.

Between the conceptualization of their business plan and founding inveox in 2017, Maria and Dominik met a woman named Linda that would solidify their drive to launch the company. Linda, a healthy and active young woman, had received tragic news that she had an aggressive form of breast cancer that would require a mastectomy. Following the operation that removed one of her breasts, Linda was met with more shocking news – she never had cancer in the first place and had received a faulty diagnosis. For Maria and Dominik, this heartbreaking story further emphasized the need for innovation in pathology.

Fast forward four years and Maria stands today as a successful entrepreneur, a leader in Munich’s start-up community and a role model for young, aspiring business founders. In parallel, inveox has grown into an international company with over 100 employees and 12 unique departments. It has also won more than a handful of awards, was listed on the 2018 Forbes list of “most promising startups” and has been a member of the World Economic Forum since 2019.

“My journey as an entrepreneur has gone in directions I never could have imagined when I started investigating the potential for innovation within pathology and cancer diagnosis. With inveox, I want to harness the enormous potential of today’s technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to improve outcomes for patients and streamline processes and communication for medical professionals,” commented Maria Sievert. “Moreover, as a TUM alumna and proud partner of this outstanding academic institution, I am honored to join the Advisory Board and contribute my insights as a female founder in medtech.”

The TUM School of Management is just as honored to have this TUM alumna enrich the school’s Advisory Board with her impressive journey and experience. “I am exceptionally pleased that we were able to recruit Maria Sievert as a member of our international Advisory Board and I am convinced that she will make an important contribution to the strategic orientation of our school with her wealth of experience as a young entrepreneur,” said Prof. Dr. Gunther Friedl, Dean of the TUM School of Management.

 

The Advisory Board is a founding institution of the TUM School of Management, to which leading figures from business, science and society are appointed to advise on departmental strategic affairs. Currently, the Advisory Board consists of 20 members from a broad range of disciplines. More information can be found here: https://www.wi.tum.de/about/board-advisory-board/

 

[1] World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

[2] American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/global.html

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