What HealthTech pioneers can learn from FinTech
In any industry, when a gap between supply and demand is prevalent and existing regulation fails to step in, the role of innovation for the public good is often taken up by startups. Nowhere is this more evident than in the healthcare space. Large delays in innovation linked to complex and widely different healthcare systems around the world, as well as outdated legacy software all provide the perfect foundation for wide-scale disruption. The sudden shifts in what we considered to be “normal” life through the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the tremendous speed at which HealthTech startups are able to deploy lasting positive changes in our daily lives when given the right catalyst.
Crises as a catalyst
There are certain parallels that can be drawn between the speed at which HealthTech solutions have been deployed to meet pressing needs and the FinTech boom over the last decade. We believe that the broader healthcare industry will follow FinTech’s trajectory.The 2008 financial crisis served as an inflection point; people lost trust in banking systems, which resulted in increased awareness in taking ownership over personal finances. Customers started looking for alternative, personalised and more engaging services as a consequence, coupled with the growing regulatory openings such as PSD2 on Open Banking.
For Healthtech, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be the inflection point. As healthcare took centre stage in global discussions, individual awareness grew dramatically and an urgent need for personalised and alternative care solutions has arisen. This contributed to fast tracking deployment of services like telehealth, which now even allows for remote prescriptions under certain jurisdictions. Now more than ever, both patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) expect healthcare to move faster and more seamlessly. The opportunity for HealthTech startups to leverage the wider FinTech stack within their products will help in facilitating global access to healthcare.
Breaking down the HealthTech value chain
At Seedcamp, we break down the HealthTech value chain by dissecting how someone would experience their personal health on a day-to-day basis. This covers four main categories: the first three capture the end-to-end patient journey – 1) getting sick, 2) receiving treatment, and 3) life after treatment. The final bucket covers the end-to-end software that HCPs engage with in their efforts to make the first three steps as seamless as possible for patients.
1. Medical Diagnosis (we get sick): Medical assessment tools, usually tech-heavy companies that may require both heavier funding and longer research/approval periods
2. Care Delivery (we get treated): Anything that involves interactions between patient and healthcare professionals
3. Quality of Life (our life after treatment): These aim to cover either the facilitation of recurring health-related issues (e.g. chronic disease treatment) or the enhancement of day-to-day life (e.g. healthier/longer life)
4. “Software as a Stethoscope” (software for HCPs): Our co-founders Bahbak and Connell from Elephant Health say it best, Software has the same effect as a Stethoscope: it bolsters HCPs’ abilities to reach certain decisions while enhancing the patient journey at the same time.
We’ve seen some outstanding companies lead the way on the matter, across all four categories. If you’re building something with the ambition to truly redefine the vertical you’re tackling, please do get in touch and apply for funding here – we’d love to chat!
Some examples of companies that are already spearheading HealthTech innovation include:
• Kheiron’s medical diagnosis tool Mia, supports radiologists in mammograms to ultimately better evaluate breast cancer
• Babylon’s reengineering of care delivery by allowing fast, personalised and seamless access to care for patients, while easing the burden on doctors through technology. We’re lucky to have Rabin Yaghoubi (ex-Babylon CCO) as an EiR at Seedcamp. He works closely with our portfolio companies on commercial topics.
•Maven’s ability to better the quality of life of mothers by supporting them throughout the parental journey
•Doctolib’s layering of software for HCPs in building their online booking tool (BMS), to a fully-fledged patient management system (PMS) for doctors.
Seedcamp’s Healthcare Footprint
Over the years, we’ve made a series of bets that led to backing exceptional founders throughout the value chain mentioned above. It has been inspiring to follow the 33 different company journeys in their efforts to break down the barriers of healthcare and improve the overall human experience across the entire healthcare value chain.
- Medical Diagnosis: Ezra
One of the toughest bets to hedge within healthcare lies within the diagnosis technology realm. Ezra is one we were happy to make with Diego and Emi (a second-time Seedcamp founder!). Ezra’s affordable and accessible technology provides early-stage cancer screening through AI & MRIs. From easily booking an annual screening with your physician to managing your results, Ezra ensures the end-to-end experience will be comfortable and hassle-free for patients. At the peak of the pandemic, Ezra successfully pivoted into screening for lasting lung damage for COVID patients.
- Care Delivery: Tooth Fairy
We’ve all found ourselves scouring the internet to find a trustworthy, affordable dentist within proximity. The ToothFairy app aims to cure the toothache that comes with finding the right dentist and proper individual treatments. With their past experience in the dentistry space, we are confident that co-founders Deepak and Kian have the ability to continue making the dentistry experience less painful, less costly and more seamless. By covering everything from initial scans, to tooth alignment and even emergencies, ToothFairy are in the running to become a category defining one-stop shop for our teeth.
- Quality of Life: Hi.health
Hi.health is on a mission to remove payments from healthcare. By simply scanning medical bills on a mobile device, they provide instant reimbursement to patients. Through the layering of FinTech on top of their insurance aggregation product, Hi.health decreases the financial burden of healthcare, making it more accessible for all. The founders behind Hi.Health has a stellar combination of experience: Fredrik has previously built a HealthTech company (mySugr) that was later sold to Roche, while Sebastian has spent a couple of years at McKinsey.
- Software as a Stethoscope: Elephant Health
Elephant Health is laser-focused on digitizing frontline healthcare in emerging markets. The first thing that made us excited about Elephant wasn’t the mission (and it’s an awesome mission!) but the founders, Bahbak and Connell. They embody a lot of the characteristics we love to see in founding teams: deep topic expertise as both are experienced A&E doctors, a relentless hunger to build (Connell, underwhelmed by the tech in his emergency room, once built his own patient system); and the ability to talk fluidly about big, meaningful ideas. We made a bet on their vision after their initial four-month pilot program deployed in mobile refugee camps in the Middle East, supporting some 40k patients with digital health passports, while empowering clinicians with infrastructure to facilitate care.
What we are looking for in companies moving forward
We’re now at a time where the leaders innovating the healthcare industry have widely acknowledged that capital should also flow into health management processes rather than just deep into R&D. Many systems are broken and outdated, meaning there is still plenty of leeway for startups to innovate. We are at the point where we’re moving from reactive to proactive healthcare, which has the potential to improve both individuals’ health journeys and the health systems at-large. There are many more problems to be solved in the healthcare space and many founders in Europe tackling them head-on. If you are an ambitious founder who’s building something groundbreaking, we’d love to hear from you! Apply for funding here — we look forward to learning more!
While we highlighted some of our companies in the post, our portfolio includes many more ambitious health-related companies, a list of which you’ll find below:
- Ezra: Developing next generation cancer screening technology using AI & MRIs
- Thriva: Making it easy, convenient and quick for anybody to easily find out what’s actually happening inside their body
- Viz.ai: An artificial intelligence medical imaging company that helps optimize emergency treatment
- Gyant: From symptom to likely condition and right treatment, by AI
- KareInn: Improving the quality of life for our parents’ generation
- Medall: The medical career passport
- Medefer: Consultant advice at your fingertips
- MyRecovery: Partnering with leading orthopaedic surgeons to transform the patient journey every step of the way
- Patients Know Best: World’s largest personal health records company
- SwiftShift: Helping multi site organisations minimise staffing gaps and improve internal communication
- Tooth Fairy: Dentistry on demand
Quality of Life
- Gaia: Making IVF accessible, affordable and personal
- Habitual: A unique combination of digital therapeutics and nutritional treatment that reverses chronic disease
- Hi.Health: Your personal concierge for health insurance
- Humanity: Subscription platform enabling you to live a healthier, longer life
- MindLabs: A live mental health platform
- Parla: Revolutionising reproductive health by providing greater access to diagnostic tests and proactive support
- Peppy: Employee support in moments that matter, by employers that care
- Rosita: AI-based longevity coach, specifically built for seniors
- Sano: Providing researchers access to valuable genetic and health data while protecting the individuals who provide it
- Spill: Bringing the benefits of talking therapy to your phone
- Sweatcoin: Digital currency backed by physical movement
- VIV: A high end performance coach that monitors key indicative vitals in real time
Software as a Stethoscope
- Agamon Health: Improving clinical performance by unlocking the value of critical data trapped within unstructured medical reports
- Doctorly: Manage your medical practice with one simple system
- Elephant Healthcare: Digitising frontline healthcare, with a focus on emerging markets
- Peer Medical: Helping you access real treatment histories from cancer patients
- Repositive: Find genomic data relevant to your work.
- Veratrak: Smarter analytics, collaboration tools and record-keeping for pharmaceutical supply chain companies