RockHealth mid-year 2013 digital health report; warm, not hot

RockHealth is back again with its 2013 Midyear Digital Health Funding Report (SlideShare link). The good news from 2012 [TTA 8 Jan] continues, but the growth rate for the half-year is down from the torrid pace of +45 percent increased funding 2012/2011 to a more modest +12 percent versus prior year, with 25 percent more deals done. Former darlings biotech and medical devices continue to sink like stones, down 2 and 29 percent respectively (PwC MoneyTree; also TTA 26 April). What is notable is the ‘small world’ concentration:

  • 90 digital health companies raised in excess of $2 million to date in 2013
  • 20 percent of all funding went into five deals: Proteus, Health Catalyst, Watermark Medical, NantHealth, HealthTap
  • 20 funders did two to three deals each
  • Remote patient monitoring, hospital administration, big data, EHRs and wellness by far lead the way
  • Maturity is still hard to find: only three 2012 A-round deals have proceeded to B round so far this year; seven 2012 B rounds have moved to C round
  • Crowdfunding has partially filled the ‘angel gap’ for companies in wearable fitness tech like Misfit and Amigo (plus HAPIfork), but the bulk of the action has been at non-healthcare specific sites like Indiegogo versus Medstartr and HealthTechHatch which take on a wider variety of health tech such as health management platforms, HIT and even education videos. The reality is that 40 percent do not meet their fundraising goals in an ‘all-or-nothing’ setup.

The cool-off reflects RockHealth’s chief Halle Tecco’s POV that both VC and angel investors are still dabbling in digital health–without a billion dollar success story, there’s still reluctance to put money where sentiment may be. Further at VentureBeat, but the reasons may go deeper….

Update 10 July: Long term, are VCs cooling because fundraising is off? Digital health is one of the few points of growth in a contracting VC investment market. Second quarter fundraising by US VCs dropped 54 percent to $2.88 billion, the weakest quarter for fundraising in almost two years, according to the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters. In addition, return performance for VC-funded companies has been off relative to the stock market. Less money=less funding. The ‘smaller, more agile fund’ trends may conversely help the smaller funding required for A and B (and modest C) rounds where digital health is still, but the Magic 8 Ball says ‘continue to dabble’. More room for crowdfunding? Reuters

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