Manuel Opitz and Mecuris
06 Jun 2018 in Alumni by Mireia Hernández Navarro
Tell us about you: Who is Manuel Opitz?
Born & raised in Germany, I lived, worked and studied in four countries before returning to Munich, where I co-founded the startup “Mecuris” only a year ago. As an Industrial & Bio-Engineer as well as MBA, I share our vision to create personalized prostheses & orthoses with the help of 3D-printing technology and machine learning.
In my daily work, I analyze healthcare processes to unlock automation potential for personalized products for doctors, technicians and patients alike. As a regular speaker at tech conferences, health congresses or at TEDx, I aim to move healthcare into the 21st century through better integration of digitization and 3D printing.
What are you currently doing? What’s your area of expertise? What drives your career?
Like many fellow UNITECHies, I have developed into a generalist: As a child, I dreamed of becoming a great scientist, but I was soon to realize that I was too inquisitive to stick to one single topic of interest. My thirst for exploration led me to study any new technology that I came across, to understand its potential. After majoring in industrial engineering at UNITECH Academic Partner RWTH Aachen with detours to bioengineering during my UNITECH exchange to Trinity College Dublin, I gained practical experience in technology scouting and innovation management at then UNITECH Corporate Partner SCHOTT in Germany and China.
Following my UNITECH graduation, I pursued an MBA program at Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris and went on to join an IP brokerage startup, where I was responsible for medical and production technology patents.
In 2016, I co-founded Mecuris, with a team of serial entrepreneurs, physicians, and experts in design, computer vision and machine learning. Together, we move orthopaedic care into the digital world by bringing together 3D technologies into one intuitive solution platform for prosthetics and orthotics design. We envision a future in which medical professionals are empowered to 3D-print prostheses and braces within 48 hours, and patients can co-design their own devices.
How was the UAA Symposium held last year in Amsterdam? How was it to collaborate with the UAA as a speaker?
Over the last years, I always planned the UNITECH Symposium into my schedule and therefore made it to Budapest, Madrid and Amsterdam. It is a great way to gain a different perspective - outside of my current startup bubble - and also allows me to visit another cool European city with a bunch of great Alumni every year. This quick deep dive is rounded out with a great typical local dinner and insights into different companies and European cultures during the talks.
Regarding the lineup in Amsterdam, I was most impressed by the workshops from externals like Mike Overdijk from JAM visual thinking. His brief introduction to sketchnotes led me to pursue a workshop in September 2017 to add visualisation methods to my moderation skillset. In my opinion, such professional workshops are a great asset to the UAA Symposium.
Why MECURIS? How did all started and what were some challenges and learnings of it?
View my TEDx Talk
And now the question.. are Millennials really the key to Digital Transformation?
Not alone! We as Millennials need to team up with GenX and others, to truly leverage the advantages the digital transformation has to offer.
Here is a recap of my talk at the Amsterdam UAA Symposium.
What has been your greatest challenge?
In my still young career, I experienced probably the toughest challenge lately: I shared a lot of responsibility to attract fresh financing for our team of almost 20 people now at Mecuris. When you have more than 150 investor contacts and speak to the 50 most likely of them, you are bound to earn a lot of “No’s”. Still, this built up quite some pressure. In the end, it worked out - better than planned - and we are on track for another two years.
Such work life experiences are dwarfed by the challenges the people with mobility impairments and amputees we work with face every day. These amazing people do not complain or feel as patients that need “treatment” or “patient aids”. They rather see themselves as wearer’s or user’s of prosthetics or braces. It’s a part of who they are. More and more of them openly display their device and wear it like an accessory - very much the way we nowadays wear our glasses.
Do you think that UNITECH has had any positive influence in your life? If so, how?
Certainly. UNITECH showed me vividly that there are a lot of young Europeans out there that are driven by curiosity and share an open mindset. Having graduated from UNITECH, it felt like a natural next step to pursue an MBA program abroad. The exchange with other engineers that like to look beyond just tech opened myself up for joining a startup and later on, co-found my own enterprise.
Besides my career, my personal development was also fostered by the diverse cultural influences during my UNITECH exchange and afterwards. One memorable experience includes attending the Irish-Brazilian wedding of my former flatmate in Dublin, where I lived during my UNITECH year. By now, I greatly enjoy having close friends from many European countries, here in Munich as well as abroad.