Skip to content.

Founder Stories University Spinouts: Echopoint Medical

with co-founders Malcolm Finlay and Adrien Desjardins

Deeptech Healthtech UCL Tech Fund


Founder Stories University Edition is a collection of fireside chats with the leading academic founders backed by the AlbionVC team. Having invested in over 30 university spinouts from the leading UK universities including UCL, Imperial College London, University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, the series highlights personal stories of those who made the leap from academia to entrepreneurship.  

David Grimm, Partner at AlbionVC, chats to Malcolm Finlay and Adrien Desjardins, co-founders of Echopoint Medical. A company backed by UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF), Echopoint uses new fibre optic technology to revolutionise cardiovascular diagnostics.

AlbionVC has been a part of the founders’ journeys before Echopoint was even formed, having funded the initial proof of concept in 2016, and cementing our commitment by leading their recent series A £4.2m fundraise.

The interview highlights how the founders’ complementary skills and shared drive for practical solutions led to the formation of Echopoint. It explores their business journey, emphasising the importance of seeking diverse perspectives, particularly from experienced investors, to guide their decision-making.

The UCLTF played a pivotal role in providing support and networking opportunities as they recalled the significance of hiring a CEO and executive chair to lead the company:

“The UCL Technology Fund was transformative for us, it allowed us to situate ourselves within this broader network of super engaged, switched on people who could point us to questions that we hadn’t even considered before.”

Prof. Adrien Desjardins, Chief Technololgy Officer, Echopoint

Reflecting on the early days, the pair impart advise to other founders on what to do when starting a business from an academic or IP-rich setting, including a hands-on approach to engaging with potential end users, understanding the entire user journey, and embracing diversity within the organisation.

Their first patient trial, covered in the Financial Times, was a huge milestone for Echopoint. It led to patients writing to Echopoint desperate to get their technology and marked a truly inspirational and validating phase for the company in tackling such important problems.

The fundraising process forced them to think broader to consider the journey ahead. They note the challenges of pitching to investors and VCs amidst trends like cryptocurrency which meant the need to adjust their approach and storytelling. Despite the challenges, they are thrilled to have secured a Series A funding, highlighting the value of engaging with VCs beyond just capital:

“We’ve been amazingly impressed with how much we can learn at an early stage through engagement this way. This is far more than just capital in. This is about people, this is about the network. And so I would suggest for those who are coming up through this pipeline to think about venture capital community that way, that they’re joining a community of people that that will become part of their journey”

Adrien commented.

The conversation also tackled the challenges of juggling responsibilities as professors and cardiologists, highlighting the support received from institutions like UCL and the Royal Academy of Engineering. They also discussed the importance of initiatives like the Investor Partnership scheme, which was supported by David and is aimed at providing non-dilutive funding for early-stage startups facilitating their growth.

What’s next for Echopoint? Looking ahead, they envision Echopoint becoming a global leader in minimally invasive surgical guidance. Reflecting on their journey, they advise their past selves to remain open-minded, resilient, and humble. Overall, they express gratitude for the shared experiences and look forward to the future of their venture.

Other news

UCL spinout Echopoint Medical secures £4.2m Series A

UCL spinout Echopoint Medical secures £4.2m Series A

Read the article >

Echopoint Medical’s first in human study in the Financial Times

First heart patients diagnosed using new fibre optic technology

Read the article >

From academia to entrepreneurship with biotech pioneer Prof. Amit Nathwani

Read the article >