Onward the 76 Hundred! Healthcare M&A, funding jam the news

Healthcare mergers, acquistions, investments and joint ventures are doing their own Charge of the Light Brigade as we cross the mid-year bar.

* Onward the 76 Hundred! 7,600 startups around the world are developing solutions in digital health, according to accelerator/investor StartUp Health’s 2015 mid-year report. It also notes that ‘personalized solutions’ are the It Girl of digital health, and that data analytics/big data has fallen to third in investor interest after wellness/benefits (largely skewed by Zenefits) and patient/consumer 
experience received large funding rounds. Cheering news is that StartUp Health notes that investment in 50+ health companies is remaining steady. But the rest might be a bit frothy. The Gimlet Eye’s tut-tut: “whatever Zenefits is, it can’t produce enough Employee Wellness and manage enough HR to be worth an investment of $500 million”. For our Readers, we give you a direct link to their 2015 Midyear Funding Insights Report. (We await RockHealth’s take on the the Year to Date.)

* Onward with an IPO! Telemedicine darling Teladoc (TDOC, NYSE) is even more so with a smashing initial public offering, targeted to open at $19 which closed on Wednesday at $28 and today (Thursday) at same. Rosy forecasts abound despite those annoying losses ($12.7 million in 1st quarter ’14) and court action (Dallas News, TTA 9 June) . We at TTA are sticklers on terminology; still, we were happily surprised to see USA Today in our corner chiding Mr Gorevic on his misapplication of telehealth for telemedicine.

* Onward to Invest in Each Other! The new Allscripts-NantHealth deal gives new meaning to swap. EHR Allscripts bought a $200m, 10 percent equity stake in NantHealth, the health informatics chunk of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks mini-conglomerate. Meanwhile another Soon-Shiong company bought stock valued at $100m in Allscripts. Neil Versel in MedCity News

* Onward from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv! MedCity News and Reuters also report that Teva Pharmaceuticals and Philips Healthcare have inked a joint investment (more…)

Breaking news out of the mHealth Summit

mHealth Summit this year had an abundance of digital health company news announcements, not only from the conference but also timed to coincide with the heightened interest around it. Your Editor looks over the most interesting of them, briefly. Thanks to Ashley Gold of Politico’s Morning eHealth (@ashleygold, daily reports archived here), Stephanie Baum of MedCityNews (@stephlbaum) and Anne Zieger of Healthcare Dive for their coverage and their company in the press room!

Partners HealthCare researches, Validic expands, AliveCor and Omron ally, Happtique sells out, Doctor on Demand is telemental, Orange goes dental, VA Innovation Rocks

  • Partners HealthCare/Center for Connected Health’s cHealth Compass will use panel and other research to help companies, device manufacturers, startups and investors determine what end users–consumer and provider–want out of personal health tech. Focus groups, interviews and usability testing will help to determine product design, evaluation, assess applications and feasibility as well as interim/final product testing. Partners is already organizing in Massachusetts a 2,000-patient database which rewards participants $50 on registration and $110 annually to be in a monthly survey panel. cHealth Compass website, BetaBoston (Boston Globe)
  • Health data connector/aggregator Validic demonstrates the attractiveness of Anything Big Data on with new clients including the Everyday Health consumer/professional website and the adidas Group’s sport and fitness apps. Recently they added WebMD, Pfizer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), NexJ Health and MedHost to their client list. The company claims that their ‘ecosystem’–probably the most popular buzzword at this year’s conference–of healthcare companies and tech developers now reaches over 100 million people with devices such as Omron, Alere, Qardio, Telcare, Jawbone and Withings. Release
  • AliveCor accentuates the retail with Omron. AliveCor, which developed the first FDA-cleared ECG for smartphones and gained clearance for an atrial fibrillation algorithm in August, is collaborating with Japanese device manufacturer Omron on developing its retail presence. Omron’s devices are available in major drugstores such as Walgreens, RiteAid and Walmart so certainly AliveCor is due to benefit. AliveCor is also part of a revived QualcommLife (more on this in an upcoming article)  ReleaseMobihealthnews (Your Editor had the pleasure of meeting at last AliveCor’s CMO and founder Dr. Dave Albert.)
  • Happtique sold to SocialWellth. Last year’s floor talk was about Happtique’s first class of certified apps and a security expert’s untimely discovery of major flaws (more…)

The CES of Health (Monday)

A managing director of Accenture, writing in Forbes, looks at the health tech trends as ZDNet did (TTA 5 Jan) and lobs a few surprises. He checks the boxes for wearables and real-time monitoring (what ZDNet called The Internet of Things), but also added in–happily for us–aging in place technologies, giving as examples household robots, med dispensers, video calling, easy navigation screens and interfaces (Bosch Health Buddy Web, GrandCare?). Surprisingly on the list: telecare–“motion sensors that can tell if a person has fallen”. Could it be QuietCare’s and Healthsense’s time–or will these be in a watch form factor? And how about proactive fall detection to help prevent them in the first place?

Withings gets into the Z-Z-Z-Z market: the Aura Smart Sleep System monitors noise, room temperature and light level. It also has an under-mattress sleep sensor to monitor breathing, body movements and heart rate. The app on your mobile device makes sense of the data so you can understand your sleeping patterns and make needed changes for better rest. It’s one of ZDNet’s top 10 products (so far) today.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/blue-blazes.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]Our Blue Blazes award (so far) goes to the Kolibree Bluetooth Toothbrush. It connects with an app which somehow sizes up how well you–and other members of your family–are polishing their pearlies. Crowdfunding this summer, available either in July or 3rd Quarter (depending on reports) for iPhone and Android (Samsung Galaxy III and S4). It sounds like a good fit for the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. MacRumors The Guardian takes an even more dim view by including it in its ‘Day Zero vapourware at CES’ list but Engadget likes it (the job to be done by the inventor related to the kids).

And if you are already there, accelerator/investor RockHealth has a guide to where they will be participating at CES through 9 January here, if you’re interested.

Fast funding and sale roundup for Thursday/Friday

A quick summary of news on both recent funding, another recently released funding analysis to add to the pile and sales–one completed, one potential:

  • The StartUp Health accelerator is now producing its independent analysis of health tech funding deals, presumably to catch the fire of RockHealth’s recognized quarterly report [TTA 9 July]. The July 2013 Digital Health Insights Funding Report is available in Slideshare format on their website with the most reported news being the 47 percent year-over-year growth to date, contrasting to RockHealth’s 12 percent, though the difference in all three may be the sampling. Practice management, big data and body computing/sensors lead the trends, according to their summary.
  • What is intriguing in the July deals is the whopping $40 million Series A funding of Oscar, which will integrate telemedicine (presumably consults) and free generic medications to its members in New York State, where they’ve stated they will be integrated into the Health Exchange in NY State. One wonders how they plan to do so on insurance exchanges which haven’t even started yet and which will be having their own challenges being a retail platform for health plans. Not unexpectedly you’ll find Khosla Ventures and Thrive Capital on the roster. MedSynergies led with a $65 million Series A for their software which will facilitate hospital networks performance monitoring of practices and provider referrals/scheduling. Internationally, Withings raised a $30 million Series A in July. MedCityNews also delves deeper into what they see as trends.
  • Fitbit just raised an additional $43 million to add to their previous $23 million. While they are still lagging fitness monitoring rival Jawbone UP by $84 million, rumors abound on what Fitbit plans to do with it: a more fully featured smartwatch? Additional apps to keep their user base engaged?–at the risk of overcomplication?   Fortune, TechCrunch
  • Toronto-based Diversinet closed their sale to New Jersey-based IMS Health for what seems like a small amount: (US)$3.5 million. Its MobiSecure technology provides government-security level mobile app security to customers such as AirStrip and the US Army. However, they were embroiled in early days in a breakup with a mobile provider, AllOne Health, and despite all their high-level tech clearances, the income realized, according to Mobihealthnews, was only in the $1 million range per year and declining and losses increasing. IMS Health is best known for its healthcare informatics, but has been involved with Ford’s in-car SYNC in development of the Allergy Alert app [TTA 7 Aug 12].
  • The ‘For Sale’ sign is also up at BlackBerry, with a corporate committee now officially exploring alliances and a sale, in the usual depressing drill. In a company once ubiquitous enough for smartphone usage to be dubbed ‘Crackberry’, and which still enjoys major worldwide market share and enterprise favor, they cannot get traction with new models. This Editor never used or liked BB, but it’s still kind of sad. ZDNet.

Is health IT funding hot and not just warm?

Mercom Capital Group has also been on the trail health IT/digital health investment trends–we last looked at their 2012 report in January— and finds the opposite from the mid-year ‘warm not hot’ RockHealth digital health investment report [TTA 9 July]. They see sizzle in the $1.1 billion invested to date ($623 million in 2nd Quarter alone) in 272 deals done, versus RockHealth’s $849 million. This may all be in the definitions and the composition of companies surveyed–they had commonality on only two of the five leading deals (the leading deal for both was Proteus, the other was Watermark). Mercom is also predicting a bullish $2 billion this year which would double their 2012 market total ($200 million lower than RockHealth’s). They both see a shift from practice-focused to consumer-focused technologies–and the concentration in deals by 11 funders. Executive summary, announcement, FierceHealthIT article.

Related: A sobering article in Wired depicts the ‘series A crunch’ affecting now over-valued Silicon Valley tech startups moving from overly generous angel and private investors to hard-nosed venture capital companies. Part of the problem is, ironically, accelerators, which polish start-up founders’ presentation and business planning skills to the point where they look better than they should to angels, and perhaps get more than they should. Investors are still ‘dabbling in digital health’ (RockHealth’s POV), and that may actually be…healthy. A Fleet Street (or NY Post)-worthy lurid headline: The Screams of Crushed Startups Echo Across Silicon Valley

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

‘Wildcatting’ health tech acceleration in Texas

Instead of oil wildcatting, well gushers out of ‘Giant’ and the travails of the Ewing family in Dallas, think…tech accelerator. Health Wildcatters is introducing the RockHealth-StartUp Health-Blueprint Health model to the Southwest. Executive director/co-founder Hubert Zajicek, MD announced an initial class of 15, with applications accepted in May. The program starts in late August and extends for 12 weeks. On completion, each company will receive $35,000 in seed funding in exchange for 8 percent equity. The Southwest has had some incubator action–in Texas at NTEC (where Dr. Zajicek was previously medical technology director) and Arizona’s SEEDSTART [TTA 5 Feb]–but accelerators have largely stayed glued to the poles of San Francisco/Silicon Valley, San Diego, New York and Boston. However, both Dallas and Houston are major US–and international, mainly Mexico, Central and South America–health delivery, educational and tech hubs. The Wildcatters have raised $1 million from about 30 investors, including physicians and local entrepreneurs, many of whom will also invest time as mentors. According to Mobihealthnews, they include Mike Bartlett, founder of vision test app makers Vital Art and Science and Michael Gorton, founder of telemedicine provider Teladoc; another major investor is Green Park & Golf Ventures. Co-founders and partners are Gabriella Draney (also of related Tech Wildcatters), Clay Heighten, MD and Carl Soderstrom. Dallas Morning News article. More information on their website.