Now the equivalent of Mrs. Astor’s Four Hundred? CB Insights has entered the list game with a brand new listing of digital health startups, the Digital Health 150, no ballroom needed–perhaps a convention hall? They are classified, sliced, and diced as follows:
- Digital therapeutics
- Pharma supply chain
- Insurance and benefits
- Consumer health and wellness
- Providers: administrative tools, specialty care, primary care, clinical tools
- Diagnostics: imaging, pathology, other diagnostics
- Drug R&D: drug discovery and development, clinical trials, real-world evidence
Another slice is by deal stage from 2014 (the receding of seed funding and progression into Series B and C is notable), top well-funded companies, and ‘unicorn startups’. Unlike Rock Health, CB Insights also looks at where in the world the startups are from: 116 in the 150 from the US, 17 from Asia, 16 from Europe, and 1 from Canada (League employee health benefits).
Many of the usual suspects are here: 23andMe, Babylon Health (UK), American Well, Doctor on Demand, Proteus Digital Health, Iora Health, MDLive, Oscar, One Medical, the relentlessly advertised (in US) Noom, TytoCare, China’s WeDoctor and GoodRx (which last month acquired telemedicine provider HeyDoctor). Others are surprising in various aspects: the new well-wired Medicare Advantage company Devoted Health, Let’s Get Checked (Ireland, though they list their HQ as NY on website), Protenus (breach tracking), Kry (Nordic/LIVI in UK), Zava (UK), Teckro (Ireland), AbleTo, Higi, ClearCare, and CarePredict. It’s nice to see nods to the un-sexy areas of senior telecare, home care, and cognitive health. CB Insights page
Confirming reports from various sources last year [TTA 21 Dec] and prior (July) is a report in TechCrunch confirming what we already guessed: Jawbone is out of the consumer fitness tracker market, is aiming at a B2B2C market of health providers, and needs to raise a lot more money.
Key points in the article:
- It intends to market a “health product and accompanying set of services sold primarily to clinicians and health providers working with patients”
- It’s seeking additional funding from investors. TechCrunch‘s sources claim that is at an advanced stage, but no closings as of yet.
We noted in December that research/analytics company CB Insights calculated that 2015 wearable computing (a broader category that includes smartwatches) investment funding fell 63 percent from 2014 to a level comparable to 2012-13, in large part due to the cooling of the fitness segment. TechCrunch’s end of year report from eMarketer and other sources also noted that 2016 sales growth of the wearables sector, forecast at 60 percent, only achieved 25 percent growth and will be equally weak in 2017. Lack of demand, lack of loyalty (most fitness bands are discarded after 3-6 months), unreliable (TechCrunch makes much of customer displeasure), their looks and generally useless (in a clinical sense) data and the greater versatility (and appearance) of smartwatches for those who want them, are all factors. There’s a disenchantment here (‘who needs ’em?’) that mass marketing can’t overcome.
It is worthwhile reflecting that Jawbone, which started off in 1997 as an audio technology company, has burned through over $980 million in 14 funding rounds, generously provided by various VC luminaries of Silicon Valley. (One wonders how much equity is even left in the company, a la ‘The Producers’) (more…)
[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/crystal-ball.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The first in a series of brief projections for 2017. Fitness wearables aren’t even lukewarm anymore, and it’s visible in consolidation and the nay-saying articles. In late November, Fitbit bought one of the pioneers, Pebble, for a cut price of $40 million (TechCrunch). Fitbit shares are also cut price at below $7.50, whereas the 2015 IPO debuted at $50. Editor Charles’ favorite, Jawbone, is moribund; the springtime rumors of company sale and shutdown of the fitness band line have not been contradicted since [TTA 27 July]. Research/analytics company CB Insights calculated that 2015 wearable computing (a broader category) investment funding fell 63 percent from 2014 to a level comparable to 2012-13, in large part due to the cooling of the fitness segment.
A sure sign that fitness bands have chilled is negative play in the consumer press. ‘My fitness band has made me fat’, spun off the JAMA article [TTA 28 Sep], is now the theme of hilarious ‘dieters gone wild’ articles like this from the New York Post (warning, eye bleach photos!). But The Sun (UK) waves a warning flag that the information could be sold, sent to your employer or insurance company to profile and/or discriminate against you, or cyberhacked. All this can knock a pricey band off the Christmas shopping list. And no, it hasn’t shifted to smartwatches as most insiders predicted, as smartwatch sales have leveled off–as expected–until their functionality and appearance improve to justify their high price.
What’s in our crystal ball? Clinical-quality and specialized wearables will rise from these ashes.
- Doctors are simply not interested in the current poor quality of data generated by current wearables–‘it’s worthless, Jim!’ ZDNet’s much-discussed article on this subject paradoxically stresses this, then focuses in on the clinical quality data generated by startup VivaLnk’s eSkin for temperature and stress. Clinical quality data is what is required for a health and wellness research partnership like the one recently announced by RTI and Validic.
- Industry buzz is that Fitbit bought Pebble for its better IP, apps and stable of developers, not its smartwatch hardware, and that IP includes clinical quality measurement. Other biosensor companies on the rise according to CB Insights are Thync, Thalmic Labs, YBrain and mCube.
- In specialty wearables, there’s the recent funding success of Owlet, the High Cute Factor baby monitor sock. Lifebeam transfers multiple sensing technology to helmets and hats for richer data.
And if sensor patches develop with speed, in two to three years they may eliminate all of these!
[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/1107_unicorn_head_mask_inuse.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Money, money everywhere–unicorns get the headlines, but the companies are still (largely) small
Up until early August, this Editor would have assumed that our Readers would look at this funding roundup as a bracing windup to a largely positive eight months and a veritable Corvette Summer for healthcare technology funding. We may have to give back the keys a little sooner than we imagined. Will the dropping market affect digital health as 2008-9 did–‘out of gas’ for years? Or will it barely affect our motoring onward? Despite the Dow Jones average hitting an 18 month low today, we hope it’s closer to the latter than the former. though the new and big entrant to digital health investing is the country most affected, China.
Our roundup of the August Action includes ZocDoc, Fitbit, Alphabet, PillPack, Owlet and more, along with a few comments:
**ZocDoc, a NYC-based online medical care appointment service that matches patients with doctors by location and schedule, had the most sensational round with last week’s Series D funding of $130 million, giving it a valuation of $1.8 bn. It took over a year after the filing (June 2014) and was led by two foreign funds (London-based Atomico and Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford) with additional funding from Founders Fund, which previously participated in raises of $95 million.
Though it claims 60 percent coverage in the US and ‘millions of users’ (numbers which have been quoted for some years), ZocDoc won’t disclose profitability nor volume–metrics that would be part of any IPO.
Direction? Points given for deciphering this windy statement (quoted from Mobihealthnews): (more…)