🚨 Mapping 49 hot digital clinics
Early christmas present, folks, courtesy of your crispy healthcare sandwich and Nabla.
🎅 Good day healthcare aficionados. In the merry spirit of the holiday season, we present to you our end of year gift. You may indulge in it by the fireplace, munching on the cookies and chugging down the milk that your little ones so thoughtfully left under the tree. We won't tell Santa how you so shamelessly snatched his treats.
The (wobbly) state of digital health 🩺
Digital health was, by all means, the 2021 VC’s golden child. Digital health companies pulled in $60B in funding worldwide, which hit record levels - for all geographies.
Of course, all good things in life come to an end. Watching global markets in the first half of 2022 was like attempting to sit through the second season of True Detective. What was once promising entertainment crashed and burned before our teary eyes.
A fraught geopolitical climate and rampant post-pandemic inflation, among other things, have been keeping most numbers in the red. Investors are pinching pennies and advising their portfolios to brace for impact, while major companies are laying off staff fast and furious.
Logically, global digital health funding continued to decline in Q3'22, falling 36% from the previous quarter (QoQ) and 72% from its record high in Q2'21. Total funding in Q3'22 was the lowest for the sector since Q1'19. It sucked.
Does this necessarily spell impending doom for digital health? We think not.
Boom – then burst 🎆
In November 2021, Christina Farr insightfully wrote that "every digital health startup is a clinic now," with digital health evolving more and more into provider or plan models. The pandemic has encouraged this paradigm, rushing patients into the arms of virtual care providers.
However, the journey began before the pandemic. Evolving healthcare regulations have spurred technology adoption and permitted safe and open access to data. Healthcare is now a consumer good with at its core an empowered patient fully engaged in a seamless care pathway. The widespread shift from fee-for-service to value-based care has incentivised digital health platforms to focus on continuous, holistic, and preventive care. And finally, at least we like to believe so, tech enablers have built stacks that empower modern digital companies to provide this new kind of care.
These structural elements, along with the pandemic-related digital care boom, have undoubtedly contributed to the development of stunning care solutions. But, as the money markets did before, it also inflated the healthcare/tech bubble for a second time. We now see that, for many digital clinics, use tends to level off or even wane.
Now, the boom of the pandemic has faded and left investors reluctant to take random leaps of faiths. “To be successful, digital clinics have to be more than a concept that gets traction with customers. They have to show that digital care is capable of leading to true improvements in medical outcomes”, says Spencer Crawley, co-founder and General Partner at Firstminute Capital, a $300M venture capital firm based in London.
Mapping promising digital health startups 🗺️
Over the past decade or so, we have witnessed an unbundling of healthcare, with the development of digital health products and services positioning themselves on specific segments of the population to better meet their unique needs. This is imperative because, in today's competitive environment, doing many things well enough is not as valuable as doing one thing exceptionally well.
As a tech-enabler, we believe the digital healthcare delivery model will not only become all the more sustainable, but will also gain momentum. Therefore, the market opportunity for vertically oriented healthcare is significant. So is the opportunity for innovation.
Upon this conviction, we selected promising digital health clinics based on 4 main criteria:
Geography: based in Europe or in the United States
Stage: up to Series B
Care delivery: innovative and vertical (meaning they have a strong positioning on a specific medical area), demonstrating significant patient engagement rates
The list includes 49 companies (yes, we could have rounded it up to 50, but why make it simple when you can make it complicated) and is, of course, non-exhaustive.
So, without further ado, *awkward drum roll*, here they are.
Femtech is only at the dawn of its heyday. Although women make 80% of health care decisions in the U.S. and spend 29% more per capita on care than men, digital health for women only recently started getting traction with venture capitalists. Only 3% of the 2,728 U.S. digital health deals completed since 2011 have targeted this space. Of course, Femtech as a vertical includes many more promising care segments.
Many Femtech solutions focus on issues specific to women, such as safe access to abortion (Hey Jane, 2021, $6.1M in “Roe Round”), IVF cycles (Aura Fertility, 2019, $700k in Pre-Seed), and contraception (Tuune, 2018, $4.6M in Seed).
Digital health solutions also have the potential to ease the path to parenthood for countless women, couples, and individuals around the world.
In Europe, Apricity (2018, $23M in Series B) is an at-home fertility clinic for men and women powered by tech & AI while Freya (2022, undisclosed) allows women to assess their fertility in order to better understand and preserve it.
In the U.S, Robyn (2019, $1.2M total funding) provides virtual doulas and advice on the topics of fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood. Millie Clinic (2022, $4M in Seed) is a hybrid, holistic maternity clinic and Oath Care (2019, $8M total funding) offers a virtual community and care teams to answer every question about motherhood.
Some others are tackling the still very taboo management of perimenopause and menopause symptoms. EverNow (2019, $28.5M in Series A) offers responsive and holistic approaches to menopause through ongoing care and prescription treatments. Midi Health (2021, $14M in Seed) is a virtual care clinic for women of fourty and over created by perimenopause and menopause specialists. Omena (2021, €400,000 in Pre-Seed) offers an app providing personalized well-being programs & contents as well as community support.
Others are approaching digital care verticals from the perspective of women's health, whether it's therapy (Meela, 2021, $400k in Pre-Seed) or even navigating health in the workplace (Syrona Health, 2020, $779k total funding). Some are tackling issues of equity and representation by focusing on emerging markets (Grace Health, 2017, $2.4M in Seed).
Approximately one in three adults worldwide suffers from multiple chronic diseases. It is a burden that cannot be relieved by medication and doctor's appointments alone. It requires continuous and seamless care - beyond the doctor's office. Digital health can help ease that burden, by tracking behavior and disease progression and helping patients stick to a treatment plan.
As with Femtech, chronic diseases include a wide range of sub-segments. Solutions focus on many verticals, from neurological disorders (Neuroventis, 2017, $1.2M in total funding) to musculoskeletal conditions (Limber Health, 2022, $11M in Series A) to kidney care (Oska Health, 2022, undisclosed) and thyroid-related diseases (Paloma Health, 2019, $2.5M in Seed).
About one in five people experience chronic pain. Digital solutions can positively impact patient management, health behaviors, and treatment satisfaction, all of which contribute to improved health outcomes. Kins Health (2021, $4M in Seed) provides evidence-based virtual physical therapy for injuries. Vori Health (2020, $15M in Series A) offers access to a holistic care team for back, neck, and orthopedic care. Leva Clinic (2022, £3M in Seed) is an online clinic providing personalized care plans for multiple chronic pain inducing conditions. Swing Therapeutics (2019, $19.3M in Series A) offers digital therapies for fibromyalgia.
With more than 11% of the U.S. population diagnosed with diabetes in 2019, digital health companies are striving to find solutions to NCDs. Liva Healthcare (2017, $43.5M in Series B) offers coaching to help with weight management and diabetes prevention. Calibrate health (2020, $127M in total funding) provides a combination of FDA-approved prescription drugs and therapy for metabolic programs.
Finally, some solutions tackle rare diseases, which affect 400 million people worldwide. Mendelian Health (2015, $650k in Grant) is an expert-guided platform for disease discovery, bringing early disease identification to healthcare providers.
Digital health is increasingly focusing on complex diseases. Funding for oncology startups actually came in second with $946 million in Q3’22 (U.S. deals). Cancer is not always a one-off event. It can be a chronic illness, just like diabetes or heart disease. Digital health in oncology allows for care navigation, patient support, clinical trial optimization, symptoms detection and diagnosis, research & data management, as well as support in clinical decision making.
In the US, Canopy (2017, $13M in total funding) offers an intelligent care platform for cancer management. Jasper Health (2020, $31.8M in Series A) is a digital oncology platform providing patients with psychosocial support and coaching. Thyme Care (2020, $22M in Series A) gives access to virtual oncology management solutions, including personalized support and resources.
In Europe, Kaiku Health (2012, $5.3M in Series A) is a digital health intervention platform offering patient-reported symptom tracking and individualized support. Resilience (2021, $45M in Series A) is a digital platform for oncology allowing remote therapeutic monitoring of patients.
Mental health solutions have experienced an outlandish surge in the digital health space in recent years. While mental health technology funding has seen two consecutive quarters of decline this year, Q3 '22 showed a slight increase and digital mental health startups continue to lead investment activity by therapeutic area (U.S. deals).
In the US, Fort Health (2022, undisclosed) is a child and adolescent mental health company providing evidence-based mental health services. Meru Health (2015, $53M total funding) is a 12-week app-based program offering daily support from clinicians and a peer support group to treat anxiety, depression, and burnout. Mindful Care (2018, $7M in Series B) provides virtual & in-person mental healthcare with next-day appointments. Seven Starling (2020, $3.5M in Seed) is a digital platform offering mental healthcare services to new mothers and caregivers.
In Europe, digital mental health startups have focused on providing employees with personalized, digital-first mental health solutions (Koa Health, 2020, $44.1M in Series A, Olivia, 2020, $8.6M in Seed, Moka.care 2019, €17.5M total funding, Teale 2021, $3M total funding)
Although the pandemic has perhaps hastened the demand and use of virtual primary care, present trends indicate that it is here to stay. There is no shortage of great providers in this wide segment of care (Circulo Health, 2020, $50M in Series A, Galileo Health, 2018, $18M in Series A, Rezilient Health, 2016, $2.5M in Seed). Some solutions have also been positioning themselves on specific population segments. Folx Health (2020, $30M in Series B) is a telehealth platform providing care services for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Digital health addresses many more crucial care verticals
Sleep Reset (2020, $12.6M in Series A) is a digital and personalized sleep clinic. Dreem (2014, $35M in total funding) is a neurotechnology company providing a holistic virtual approach to sleep. Onera Health (2017, $9.3M in Series A) is a polysomnography-as-a-service solution offering sleep diagnostics.
Ophelia (2020, $67M in Series B) offers virtual, evidence-based treatment programs for opioid addiction therapy. Boulder Care (2017, $50M in Series B) provides telehealth addiction treatment and support for substance use disorders.
Charles.co (2019, $7.3M in Series A) provides virtual care for men in the areas of sexual health, sleep, and hair care. Regimen (2019, $2.3M in Seed) offers guided programs to overcome intimate health issues such as erectile dysfunction.
Far from us to end this post on "erectile dysfunction," of course. Again, our list is non-exhaustive and, as a tech-enabler, we are always looking for innovative and engaging digital clinics that strive to provide continuous patient care. You recognize your solution in this mission? Feel free to contact us!
May you be marvelously merry 🎄
THH & Nabla.
New here? Subscribe to The Healthcare Hoagie 🥪, Nabla’s bimonthly newsletter.
We have been operating our own digitial clinic focus on women health for 2 years and we know how hard it is to do it. So kudos to these 49!