As verticals go, there is one area that has the potential to well and truly change our lives. Health tech has now moved beyond pedometers and smart watches, with a range of start-ups and larger corporations leveraging all the latest technologies – smartphones, IoT, AI, VR, and more – to improve diagnostics, care, health monitoring, and more.
Investment – for the right start-up – is rife. For example, Babylon, an AI-powered triage tool that will enable faster diagnoses and treatment, has raised a total of $85m over the past two years.
There is big demand for health tech start-ups solving big issues
And it is companies like Babylon that investors, accelerators, and corporations are looking for; start-ups developing niche solutions that will contribute to the health and wellbeing of society overall. "We've seen too many companies that are scanner, a pill-counter, electronic reminder, none of which we found to be fully compelling yet," Krishna Yeshwant of GV (formerly Google Ventures) told Business Insider UK. Yeshwant, who leads the company’s Life Sciences team, said they are looking to invest in start-ups addressing issues such as physician burnout, adherence to prescription instructions, medical devices, infectious diseases, and treatment of inflammatory and neurological conditions.
Pharmaceutical giants and health care providers are also actively seeking ways to find and work with start-ups. Pfizer has launched Pfizer Healthcare Hub, an accelerator programme with the specific goal of helping health tech start-ups access the NHS. GSK is currently running an ongoing search for “partners for licensing and co-developing digital health technologies” in areas such as wearables, mobile medical apps, novel sensors, connected medical devices, machine learning algorithms and other digital health tools for consumers. AXA PPP recently ran its third start-up competition and received 190 entries. Winners across its range of categories encompassed wearables, care management, and apps and trackers for carers and their patients.
The UK government’s Digital Catapult initiative has a specific focus on digital health and care. Events like Digital Health World Congress illustrate the diversity of the health tech ecosystem. Read the write-up of Wired Health’s event earlier this year and read about solutions to health issues most of us never knew existed.
I could go on.
But surely health tech start-ups are spoiled for choice in terms of potential investment and partners?
Yes, and no.
The same rules apply for start-ups in health tech as they do in any other vertical: have a solid business plan, a catalogue of research, a clear understanding of the problem they are solving, and the cost of not solving this problem. Users needs to be at the absolute centre of the solution, with real life case studies of how their lives – and the lives of those who take care of them – are made better.
Otherwise, the sky is the limit. It’s a thrilling time for health tech, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
Are you a start-up or potential investor in health tech? Get in touch!