''Spark goes the extra mile''

August 9, 2022

Cooperating with Lieuwke de Jong, entrepreneur in healthcare.

Our collaboration with Lieuwke de Jong started around 2010. First as a customer, and now as a partner in joint venture Mencius Medical. Together we are developing the Easysteer; the world's smallest controllable microcatheter. The distance, he now lives and works in Australia, is not an obstacle for the collaboration or the way in which he can very aptly describe Spark.

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“Spark is a great company, with nice people. The creativity in the group, the space to spar with each other and the perseverance is rock solid. We did a lot together, I participated in many activities and got to know many employees. Spark can handle design processes very seriously and professionally, but the fun surrounding it is just as important. Spark receives a lot of customer goodwill, because they go the extra mile for you. They sincerely want a project to succeed and are happy to give something back. Little extras, like a logo or a suitable gadget, sound like little gestures. But as a customer you really feel valued.

From zero to hero

Projects in medtech are intensive and you enter a long-term collaboration. From zero to hero, it takes at least 10 years for a complex class III product in medical technology. In the beginning I was still a start-up operating out of a dorm room. I had to start from scratch. Spark is well aware that this is the real business. To help customers as individuals and as a company, they involve customers in Spark activities, giving access to a wider network.

Balance between innovation and regulation

In the 10+ years that we have worked together, there have been a lot of developments. But luckily the fun and joviality haven't changed. I always feel welcome at Spark, especially when the mini stroopwafels are on the table, as always. Of course things have changed. The company has become much more structured. In the medical branch, this regulatory piece is extremely important and Spark has managed it well. And that is a special achievement, because regulation and innovation are at odds with each other. Spark has found a good balance in this over the years. When do you record things - from a risk management perspective - and when do you wait? The trick is to capture things well and still get innovation off the ground. Spark and I complement each other well. I am proud of the team. With all the qualities and creativity that everyone brings, we get a lot done.”