After Two Exuberant Years, Well being Innovation Funding Recalibrates to Pre-Pandemic Ranges | by StartUp Well being | Oct, 2022

The third quarter of 2022 noticed a 40% drop in international well being innovation funding from the earlier quarter, persevering with a year-long pattern of market contraction. Is that this a brand new regular for the well being sector or simply buyers reacting quickly to macro market forces? A lot will depend on your mindset — and your vacation spot. One factor is for certain: there’s nonetheless an enormous want and want to attain audacious heath moonshots.

For greater than a decade, StartUp Well being has tracked information on international well being innovation funding and shared it in a quarterly Insights Report. In our midyear write-up again in July of 2022, we described how these reviews have fallen into three distinct phases. Pre-COVID we tracked a gradual seven-year improve in funding. The expansion was constructive, however nowhere close to the place we knew it might be, or wanted to be, with the intention to leverage expertise to deal with the best well being challenges of our time — what we name well being moonshots. We knew then, and instructed anybody who would hear, that the time had come for the “inventive destruction” of healthcare during which expertise would remodel the business the identical manner it had upended the journey and retail industries.

Then COVID-19 hit, and the necessity for tech-enabled healthcare companies moved from “perhaps tomorrow” to “we’d like it yesterday.” Thus adopted two years of exuberant curiosity in digital well being and digital care firms. 2021 was a selected anomaly, almost doubling the funding on this sector in a single yr from $22.8B to $44.6B.

Now, with three quarters of 2022 within the rearview mirror, we all know that 2020 and 2021 have been an inflection level, a interval of excited enlargement in a market that desperately wanted it. After years of being handled like a sideshow (as a result of, let’s be sincere, senior care, major care, and power illness administration aren’t as splashy as Peloton and SpaceX), well being innovation received the entrance stage consideration it deserved. The COVID-fueled push for telemedicine reimbursement, information sharing, and value transparency will proceed to form the business for many years to come back.

That brings us to the third quarter of 2022 and there’s no sugar coating it: well being innovation funding, just like the broader VC panorama, is manner down. We tracked about $4B raised in Q3, which was a 40% drop from Q2 and a 57% drop from Q1. That brings the 2022 funding complete to $20B for 3 quarters, a 55% drop from the $34B that was raised over the identical interval in 2021. As dramatic as these decreases seem, funds raised YTD are increased than the identical interval than 2020 and seem like normalizing after a major COVID bump. The lower in funding that we’ve tracked, which takes into consideration international offers, is in keeping with the domestic-only numbers gathered by teams like Rock Well being, who reported a 48% drop between Q2 and Q3 for this yr.

Whereas complete funding has dipped, median deal measurement has stayed excessive. To this point this yr median deal measurement has been $14.5M in comparison with $16M in 2021 and $10M in 2020. For a dose of perspective, simply three years in the past, the median deal measurement was $7.3M, half of what it’s in the present day. The truth that median deal measurement and deal depend have stayed excessive whereas complete capital raised fell sharply yr over yr means that we’re seeing fewer blockbuster offers on the prime of the market. In accordance with CB Insights, the broader market has seen mega-rounds ($100M+ offers) fall for 3 straight quarters “to its lowest degree for the reason that early days of the pandemic.” We’re seeing related traits in our month-over-month chart of median deal measurement for 2022.

What everybody needs to know is whether or not these seemingly dramatic quarter-over-quarter decreases in funding are harbingers of even deeper cuts to come back, a brand new regular, or are they the pure, even needed, contractions of an exuberant market that results in a wholesome upturn within the close to future?

Some analysts recommend that the contraction available in the market might result in extra acquisitions and roll-ups as nicely capitalized firms consolidate companies. Anecdotally, we’ve heard from StartUp Well being portfolio firms that acquisition provides have been coming in additional steadily than prior to now, however the information has but to mirror that actuality. Within the first three quarters of 2022 we tracked 57 acquisitions, in contrast with 90 over the identical interval final yr. We’ll be watching these metrics intently in coming quarters.

We’re not fortune tellers, however we do have our ears to the bottom. Based mostly on our conversations with founders from our portfolio that spans 435+ firms throughout 29 international locations, it appears clear that well being tech buyers are retrenching to the necessities, specializing in companies with a extra rational ROI thesis.

We additionally know that in an financial system dominated by considerations about inflation, digital well being platforms change into highly effective instruments for decreasing prices. Telemedicine firms can scale back healthcare bills for sufferers and suppliers by permitting them to succeed in rural communities just about, like the best way Fashionable Ritual has elevated entry to pores and skin most cancers specialists. Digital well being startups may improve incomes energy by serving to folks scale back break day of labor. For instance, Everyplace Labs places medical testing kiosks in massive services to supply on-site medical diagnostics.

We all know that in a interval marked by labor shortages — particularly in healthcare — digital options provide a lifeline. There merely aren’t sufficient nurses, major care docs, geriatricians, fill-in-the-blank, to deal with the wants of rural and historically underserved communities. Digital well being platforms that redistribute expertise just about will assist alleviate that burden. We see this on a regular basis in our portfolio, notably in telemedicine firms like 1Doc3, Beam Well being, and Rejuvenan, simply to call just a few.

The challenges being addressed by our international military of Well being Transformers aren’t going wherever. Funding might dip for 1 / 4 or three, however the want for brand spanking new options to deal with power societal issues like Kind 2 diabetes, weight problems, and coronary heart illness are as current as ever. The necessity to treatment and deal with most cancers and ship psychological healthcare to the tens of millions of individuals battling nervousness and despair is rising, not diminishing. These will proceed to be high-demand important companies, not simply client conveniences, and we’re assured funding will develop to mirror that actuality sooner or later.

Every quarter we evaluate the most important well being innovation offers all over the world and see what we will study from following the cash. This train feels much more necessary than traditional on condition that these are the businesses receiving massive quantities of capital despite turbulent financial forces.

Topping our listing of US offers is Cleerly’s $192M elevate for its AI-assisted coronary heart illness detection platform. The “AI for X” sector in healthcare continues to be some of the thrilling and fast-moving evolutions in well being innovation. We see these merchandise taking form in a variety of verticals throughout our portfolio, like “AI for prenatal ultrasound” (BioticsAI), “AI for pathology” (Crosscope), “AI for MRI” (BrainScanology) and “AI for echo exams” ( The listing goes on. This market is just getting hotter as the info units get richer and the algorithms get smarter.

One other prime deal that could be a signal of the instances, this time from the worldwide markets, is Cera’s $320M elevate to help their aging-in-place platform. Geriatrics hasn’t historically been related to high-tech innovation, however with a tidal wave of seniors growing older up and needing superior care, there’s an unlimited want for purpose-built instruments and companies. We’re seeing this emphasis on senior care in lots of the younger firms we backed within the final two years, like MoodSpark, Decided Well being, Lena, and Eternally. They’re constructing on the established work of firms like LifeBio, who’s tackling senior loneliness, and CarePredict, which is upgrading distant monitoring for seniors.

Everside’s $164M elevate marks a uncommon prime greenback fundraise for the direct major care neighborhood. This market, the place normal apply docs maintain communities of sufferers in a value-based care mannequin, has been dominated by smaller gamers prior to now. For extra context on this sub-market, we reached out to Sharud Agarwal, CEO and founding father of Akute Well being, a affected person file platform promoting to DPC workplaces.

“This Everside funding spherical reveals that not solely is DPC a viable small enterprise mannequin, but it surely’s one which’s exploding and might maintain enterprise scale as nicely,” says Agarwal. “I consider that is solely the very begin of DPCs progress. A major care-centric mannequin the place sufferers get long-term well being upkeep (slightly than solely short-term illness therapeutic) is proving to have higher outcomes at decrease prices to sufferers and, crucially, much less burnout for physicians. DPC, mixed with value-based funds, will result in basic shifts within the healthcare market over the subsequent 10 years.”

Alma’s $130M elevate might assist to construct a stronger infrastructure for digital psychological well being. This has been a quickly rising — learn: crowded — sector, so it’s pure to see an organization streamlining workflows and knitting the gamers collectively.

Lastly, Unimaginable Well being, with its $80M elevate, is now the highest-valued healthcare employment market. This elevate places a highlight on problems with burnout and stress within the healthcare business. In accordance with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 1.7M folks stop their healthcare jobs this yr and a current survey of 1,000 healthcare professionals confirmed that 28% had stop a job due to burnout. Instruments like Unimaginable Well being, when mixed with credentialing startups like Mocingbird and HPEC, have the potential of placing energy — and job satisfaction — again into suppliers arms.

In america, well being innovation funding remains to be concentrated in San Francisco, with New York Metropolis, and Boston rounding out the highest three. Extra attention-grabbing, maybe, is to see which cities are rising into hubs of well being innovation. Topping that listing is Los Angeles, with $95M raised throughout eight offers in Q3. Internationally, London has emerged because the runaway favourite for well being innovators, clocking 17 offers this quarter and $573M in funds raised. Toronto continues to generate important deal exercise with eight offers this quarter and greater than $113M raised.

In accordance with funding information agency CB Insights, international enterprise funding took a significant hit in Q3 of 2022. The 34% quarter-over-quarter drop was the most important lower in a decade. Not surprisingly, the well being innovation funding market, which we’ve been monitoring for a decade, took an analogous downturn this quarter. Invested capital is down, deal depend is down, and acquisitions are down.

The place CB Insights characterizes this drop as “doom and gloom,” nevertheless, we at StartUp Well being see a unique story line. Sure, well being innovation funding is recalibrating to pre-pandemic ranges, however that’s partially as a result of COVID fueled two years of exuberant investing as corporations tripled down on digital well being. These chips fell and corporations have been capitalized, and now we consider we’re seeing a pure contraction and consolidation.

Suppose we’re being overly optimistic? Perhaps that may be true if we have been solely wanting on the funding numbers. However with greater than 435 firms in our portfolio and almost 1,000 founders from 29 international locations, we get pleasure from seeing the market from a number of angles. And what we’ve seen is that despite this funding dip, international well being challenges are as urgent as ever, well being entrepreneurs are making breakthroughs each day, and the world is demanding solutions about methods to dwell an extended, more healthy life. The truth is, we predict the market is as ripe for a tech revolution now because it was 10 years in the past after we began writing these reviews.

Most of the finest, most modern firms on this planet have been constructed throughout down markets as founders have been compelled to get inventive about constructing lean firms and irresistible merchandise. Let’s benefit from this second and construct the way forward for well being, collectively.