The burgeoning “healthcare at home” movement reflects what consumers are increasingly clamoring for across almost every industry—more convenience and flexibility. While using telemedicine may have once been a matter of personal preference, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made it practically a necessity. The unprecedented crisis triggered large-scale responses by governments and businesses alike, ushering in a new reliance on virtual care delivery, as well as innovations across healthtech as a whole.
With that in mind, let’s look at the definition of healthtech, emerging spaces within the industry and some of the top healthtech companies.
What is healthtech?
Healthtech is the fastest growing vertical within the healthcare sector. It includes any technology-enabled healthcare product and service that can be delivered or consumed outside of a hospital or physician’s office—one notable exception being hospital and practice management software.
Healthtech companies can also provide mobility and other information technologies to improve healthcare delivery while decreasing costs. One example is Outcome Health, a company that offers exam room technologies to engage patients as they wait to see their provider. Another is Oscar, an online insurance network that provides telemedicine consultations. Healthtech companies aim to optimize patient-centric healthcare through solutions like cloud computing, internet services and social mobility.
What are the top healthtech companies?
PitchBook tracks over 16,000 healthtech companies, and the top six companies by capital raised include:
Village MDTotal capital raised to date: $6.55B
Latest deal: April 2022
Latest deal type: secondary private transaction
Village MD is the provider of a healthcare management platform designed for primary care physicians. The company's platform provides the tools, technology, operations and staffing support needed to drive the highest quality clinical results, enabling physicians to deliver a high-quality patient experience and lower costs in the communities they serve.
SenseTimeTotal capital raised to date: $5.22B
Latest deal: December 2021
Latest deal type: IPO
SenseTime is the developer of SenseCare, a smart health platform that provides diagnostic and treatment solutions through leading AI algorithms and advanced image post-processing technology.
Zelis HealthcareTotal capital raised to date: $3.83B
Latest deal: March 2022
Latest deal type: Debt
Zelis Healthcare is the developer of a healthcare information technology platform designed for end-to-end healthcare claims cost management and payments services. The company's technology tool offers network management, claims integrity and electronic payments, serving healthcare payer clients, healthcare providers and healthcare consumers in the medical, dental and workers' compensation markets nationwide.
Ping an Healthcare and Technology CompanyTotal capital raised to date: $3.79B
Latest deal: September 2020
Latest deal type: PIPE
Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company, is an online platform that offers healthcare services through a health maintenance organization, or HMO, model. The company’s platform provides commercial healthcare insurance and offers healthcare checkup, healthcare management, and corporate reimbursement for a fee.
Oscar Health IncTotal capital raised to date: $3.36B
Latest deal: March 2021
Latest deal type: IPO
Oscar Health Inc is a health insurance company that provides various insurance plans for individuals, families and employees. The company also provides virtual care, doctor support, scheduling appointments and other related services.
MultiPlanTotal capital raised to date: $2.60B
Latest deal: October 2020
Latest deal type: PIPE
MultiPlan is a leading provider of data analytics and technology-enabled solutions designed to bring affordability, efficiency and fairness to the U.S. healthcare industry. The company is a partner to over 700 healthcare payors in the commercial health, dental and government markets.
How is healthtech different from medtech?
While healthtech is centered around optimizing personal and preventative care, the medical technology—medtech—vertical focuses on therapeutic technologies and medical devices that treat existing medical issues and diagnostic technologies that detect medical conditions (i.e., in-hospital care).
SPR Therapeutics, developer of a peripheral nerve stimulation therapy platform designed to be an alternative to addictive opioid medications, is a prime example of a medtech company. So is Auris, which creates robotic micro-surgical devices designed to help with eye-related procedures.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact healthcare in the US?
The COVID-19 outbreak not only brought the global economy to a standstill—it exposed the inadequacies of the world’s health systems in addressing fast-spreading pandemics. As governments, health systems and businesses scrambled to contend with the crisis, they renewed interest in technologies and initiatives that can provide solutions.
Startups in disease tracking, disease testing, telemedicine, biopharmaceutical research and medical supplies are at the center of building a technology-based pandemic preparedness and response ecosystem. These companies are most likely to have the capabilities to predict, identify, track, contain and treat outbreaks and future pandemics. Our report on startups helping to build pandemic preparedness and response infrastructure breaks down the key companies addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
At the end of 2020, enterprise health and wellness saw the largest increase in raised capital of the last five years. The sector raised a total of $8.3 billion in VC funding—up nearly 70% year-over-year despite a relatively flat deal count. Showing no signs of slowing down, the size of the enterprise healthtech industry is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025.
We believe the venture ecosystem will be a vital incubator for tech that can help mitigate the impacts of future pandemics, a mission that governments and NGOs are likely to prioritize.
What are the top trends in enterprise healthtech?
Enterprise healthtech generated $20.2 billion across 377 VC deals in 2021—a notable increase from 2020’s deal value of $12.1 billion and deal count of 463—indicating industry maturity. Relative to 2020, angel and early-stage deal counts and capital raised were lower, while late-stage deal count and capital raised were higher. This reflects the relative ease with which late-stage deals have been completed during the pandemic in contrast to the difficulties faced by early-stage startups in raising funds.
Additionally, many late-stage startups in the prescription technology industry likely benefited from the increased adoption of e-pharmacies, while corporate distribution-focused startups gained traction from increased employer interest in growing employee benefits.
Emerging spaces within healthcare and healthtech
PitchBook tracks more than 141+ emerging spaces across every industry. These are the nascent, but growing areas in the healthcare industry.
AI-powered drug discovery
Companies in this space are experimenting with artificial intelligence to research and discover new pharmaceuticals and drug therapies. AI systems are able to sift through millions of different chemical compounds and isolate the most promising candidates at a fraction of the time it would traditionally take human researchers.
Anti-aging refers to companies researching and developing restorative treatments to combat the effects of aging and increase lifespan. Research areas include genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alteration, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion and altered intercellular communication.
Assistive technology refers to any item, piece of equipment, software or product that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Though assistive tech has been around for some time, a new wave of companies are using emerging technologies such as VR/AR, AI and robotics to jump start innovation and offer more compelling solutions for differently-abled individuals.
CRISPR diagnostics refers to use of the gene editing tool, CRISPR, for diagnostic purposes. The underlying science relies on CRISPR’s ability to isolate snippets of genetic material that it was programmed to find. In theory, this technology could produce diagnostic results more quickly and cost-effectively and would require fewer trained professionals to administer the tests.
Fertility tech companies are developing technology-oriented medical solutions for couples struggling to conceive, and as PitchBook News reports, fertility-focused tech is attracting an unprecedented amount of VC funding. These technologies including sperm and egg freezing services, hormone testing systems and monitoring platforms. Kindbody, a fertility clinic and PitchBook client, talked to us about how the company adapted to a digital landscape in response to the pandemic.
Gene therapies insert sections of DNA into a patient’s cells to correct damaged or abnormal genes. Gene therapy can be done using a variety of mechanisms, including replacing a disease-causing gene with a normal version of the gene, inactivating a disease-causing gene that is malfunctioning or introducing a modified gene into the body to treat a specific disease. These therapies are exciting as they could enable researchers to find cures for cancer, HIV and heart disease.
Medical exoskeletons and prosthetics
Medical exoskeletons and prosthetics companies are developing prostheses that are mechanically powered as well as exoskeletons that are used for medical purposes such as rehabilitation. These devices offer a far greater range of motion and activity than their older counterparts, enabling physically disabled individuals to experience a greater quality of life.
Medical robotics refers to robots used in healthcare settings, with the benefit of providing services more precisely or consistently than human doctors could. Applications include surgeries, rehabilitation, telepresence, transportation and general patient care. In 2020, Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, WA put this technology to the test; they used a telemedical robot to take vitals from and interact with the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in the US.
Mental health tech
Mental health tech encompasses companies developing software and hardware solution to empower individuals to take better care of their mental health, and enable practitioners to better monitor the mental health of their patients.
Shortl S y after the pandemic began, mental health startups saw an increase in demand. Average hours spent on mental health and fitness apps spiked about 30% in the US from December 29, 2109 to March 1, 2020. Headspace, a company that developed an app to help users meditate, experienced double the average amount of inbound requests from members looking for content to help them cope with pandemic-related stress. The company also saw a 100% increase in corporate clients seeking support for their employees' mental wellbeing. The crisis could help drive longer-term interest among corporate clients to ensure mental health products are available to employees.
Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology that ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials and biological devices to nanoelectronic biosensors as well as possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology such as biological machines. VR health Companies in this space are using virtual reality to provide innovative therapies and treatments to various healthcare issues. Uses of virtual reality in healthcare include education, therapy, rehabilitation and even mindfulness.
Neurotechnology refers to technology that enables us to better understand consciousness, thought and higher order activities in the brain. Companies in this space are developing brain machine interfaces, implantable devices, neuroprosthetics, neurostimulation and neuromonitoring devices.
Psychedelics includes companies harnessing mind-altering substances for the purpose of treating mental illnesses such as addiction, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Though substances such as psilocybin and LSD have long been outlawed by the US government, changing cultural attitudes and recent promising scientific studies have reopened the door for their potential authorization. Companies in this space are primarily developing psychoactive treatments for mental health conditions, but may also be operating clinics to provide said therapies or developing software to help clinics manage patient treatment.
Sleep tech encompasses a variety of technologies with the explicit goal of improving the quality of a person's sleep. Sleep tech providers seek to improve behavioral, environmental and genetic causes of insomnia along with common sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Some examples of sleep tech include tracking sensors, smart mattresses and sleep monitoring headbands.
Companies in this space are using virtual reality technology to provide innovative therapies and treatments for a variety of healthcare issues. The uses of virtual reality in healthcare include education, therapy, rehabilitation and even mindfulness.
PitchBook's expanding coverage of healthtech
PitchBook tracks thousands of transactions across the healthcare industry and healthtech vertical. We support a multitude of clients that work in the health industry and 88% of healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations that we surveyed said they saw ROI within the first year of using PitchBook.
“PitchBook has accelerated our fundraising and due diligence efforts, even in niche industries like digital health and healthcare technology! PitchBook is the gold standard data platform for founders and investors alike.”
-Mike Becich, Analyst, Octave Bioscience, Inc.