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An Apple Watch a day keeps the doctor away

| August 03, 2015|Tags:

August 3, 2015

CVS is recruiting IBM’s Watson to supercompute the health of 70M Americans. Can a computer predict chronically-ill patients on the decline? By having his Apple Watch-recorded heart data on hand (er, on-wrist), this man’s self-diagnosis saved a hospital stay—and probably his life.

Epic (and IBM) lost the competition for the hottest health IT contract of the year—as the Department of Defense struck a $4.3B deal with Cerner, Acceture, and Leidos to overhaul our military’s EHR system.
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What VCs think of the digital health IPO landscape

| July 29, 2015|Tags: ,

Bessemer Venture Partners has been active in healthcare technology investing for over three decades. They’re also one of the lead investors in the Rock Health Fund and have co-invested with Rock Health. We talked to Vice President Ambar Bhattacharyya about digital health’s evolution over the past 30 years, his thoughts on the IPO landscape and some of his favorite companies in the space.

[Mollie McDowell] Q: Why do you think so many IPOs are happening now? What does this mean for digital health funding?
[Ambar Bhattacharyya] A: The IPO window has opened on the biotech side the last 18 months and on the digital health side the last 6 months. In digital health, if you look at Evolent, Fitbit, and TelaDoc, these companies each trade above $1B market cap and have matured to the point of sustainability in public markets. Fitbit is already a billion dollar revenue company; Evolent Health has posted amazing top line growth in a transformative space; and Mindbody, a Bessemer portfolio company that went public this past month, is the clear market leader for health and wellness studios.  This creates very positive signalling for digital health. If the market continues to reward Veeva, Benefitfocus, and this past IPO class well, I’d expect a whole host of companies to file and go public in 2016 and 2017. I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

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What payer M&A activity means for digital health entrepreneurs

| July 24, 2015|Tags:

The ACA has set off a wave of M&A activity within healthcare.  Hospital networks have been consolidating, resulting in dominant regional and national players.  Now, with the uncertainty of King v. Burwell comfortably in the past, some of the nation’s largest payers are also considering the potential benefits of merging with competitors.  M&A activity in the space suggests the importance of scale and the allure of government business, especially the administration of Medicare Advantage plans.  High-profile examples in recent weeks include Aetna’s acquisition of Humana for $37B and today’s news that Anthem is buying Cigna for $54B. These deals provide evidence that in size there is security.

Increased interest in consolidation within the payer space raises questions about underlying motivations.  Some skeptics might argue it’s about insurance companies trying to increase their negotiating power and drive higher profits.  These goals are certainly important in the short-term, but they only partially capture what payers hope to achieve. (more…)

We can land spaceships on comets. Why can’t we design prosthetics for Veterans?

| July 20, 2015

Andrea Ippolito, Presidential Innovation Fellow at Veterans Affairs

Army Veteran Lisa Marie Wiley is faced with the everyday reality of people staring at her below knee amputation caused by an injury inflicted by an IED in Afghanistan in November 2010. While strong-willed and resilient, Lisa can’t help but feel frustrated that only a handful of the 10,000 prosthetic legs available can meet her specific body type and needs to function and resume her quality of life. As Lisa stated, “if we can land spacecraft on comets, why can’t we build personalized devices for our Nation’s Veterans?” By leveraging the growing movement of 3D printing in healthcare exploding across the US and the world—we can.

While we often think of personalized and precision medicine related to providing the proper dosage of medications based on individual’s genetic information, personal predilections, and environmental context, additive manufacturing or fabrication (often more commonly referred to as 3D printing) offers a new paradigm to design devices based on individual needs and preferences. 3D printing is emerging across healthcare in surgery, patient education, prosthetics, and bioprinting tissue and organs. We’ve seen the power of 3D printing to inspire a global network of volunteers in the eNABLE community to build prosthetic 3D printed hands for over 1500 children missing their fingers or arms below the elbow.

Imagine losing your ability to use a utensil, use a video game controller or even continue a beloved hobby like photography.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is aiming to accelerate the development of technologies to improve the quality of life of Veterans and invites all designers, engineers, and problem solvers alike, to the first VA Innovation Creation Series: Prosthetics and Assistive Technology Challenge.
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Rock Weekly: #YouOnlyLiveOnesie

| July 20, 2015|Tags:

July 20, 2015

Choosing the right surgeon can be a matter of life or death, but how reliable is thisSurgeon Score Card database that took the Interwebs by storm? Some sing its praises while others cry methodological foul. In other matters of life and death—the first government-approved medical drone delivery dropped Friday in rural VA.

We’re proud to announce our investment in Welkin Health, a company led by former Googlers to help case managers provide care to patients with chronic illness. (Oh, and you might have caught wind of our other investment in Silicon Valley’s hottest new wearable company, Ubsie.) #YouOnlyLiveOnesie
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The startup hiring an elite team of health-conscious people

| July 09, 2015|Tags:

headshot-4Cofounder and CEO Munjal Shah (right) with their newest hire Jack Dunham

Health IQ is on a mission to celebrate—and reward—the health-conscious. Users can take a nearly limitless amount of quizzes covering 300 unique topics certified by experts in various fields of medicine, nutrition, and exercise. Afterwards, they are coached about the healthy decision.

Health IQ wants their team to genuinely reflect their customer—and they have a highly unique hiring process to do so.

“We don’t believe in resumes or in-person interviews,” Munjal Shah, Cofounder and CEO of Health IQ and former Cofounder and CEO of Like.com (aka Google Shopping). Why? “Work is not done on the fly—it’s project-based and testing people in an interview doesn’t provide insight into how a person actually performs at work.” In addition to scoring well on Health IQ’s own test (a core element of their product), potential employees present their work to the team and spend a few hours hanging out and getting to know them.
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With $2.1B in digital health funding, first half of 2015 is keeping pace with 2014

| July 06, 2015|Tags: ,

At the end of the first quarter, it was too early to tell if digital health funding could keep up with the record-breaking growth in 2014. But now at the half-year mark, investors have spoken—digital health isn’t slowing down with 2015 bringing in $2.1B in funding, just short of the same time period in 2014. There were 139 deals and the average deal size was over $15M, exceeding 2014’s $14.6M. (Note: Our venture funding data only includes disclosed US deals over $2M. Companies that are sector-agnostic with a healthcare vertical are excluded.)


The top six categories of 2015 accounted for more than 50% of all funding in the year, with three categories not being ranked in 2014.

Top six category rankings for wearables and enterprise wellness were driven by single deals—Jawbone in the case of wearables, and Virgin Pulse in the case of enterprise wellness. Both categories, in addition to EHR and clinical workflow did not show up in the 2014 rankings. The fact that analytics and big data show up year after year in the top rankings show that healthcare is not immune to larger trends within technology. The Affordable Care Act has forced consumers into the healthcare marketplace, and they’re not pleased with their dot-com and mobile experiences. Companies are rushing into the expectations gap, delivering experiences that engage consumers in health insurance purchasing (e.g., Stride Health) or product purchasing (e.g., PillPack) and decision-making (e.g., MDsave).
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Learn from the best in digital health: Startup Elements

| June 29, 2015|Tags: , ,

We caught up with leading founders in digital health to tap their insider expertise on everything you need to know about building a company in healthcare—from recruiting top talent and building a company on human-centered design principles to hospital sales and putting your customers first. Here are the four newest installments in our Startup Elements series:


23andMe cofounder and CEO Anne Wojcicki discusses how her team built a leading genomics company by putting the customer first.
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Rock Weekly: Wearables: we’re doing it wrong.

| June 29, 2015|Tags:

June 29, 2015

SCOTUS stole the show last week with two huge rulings affecting healthcare’s future. King v. Burwell went the way of Obamacare, with subsidies remaining intact, while the long-awaited marriage equality ruling promises to alter the health insurance landscape.

On the wearables front, Google wants to change clinical research with its new wristband. Health execs see positive ROI from patient-generated data but is the technology accurate enough to turn the devices into digital medical tools?

Learn from the best in digital health. Watch our just-released Startup Elements videos featuring 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki, Omada Health’s Sean Duffy, and more.
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Deconstructing the Teladoc IPO and S-1

| June 22, 2015|Tags:

Over 10 years ago, Michael Gorton announced TelaDoc Medical Services, a new way for patients to receive medical care. Call the 1-800 number, and within an hour a doctor would call you back. All for only $35 per visit (plus a one-time fee of $18 and a monthly membership fee ranging from $4.25 for an individual to $7.00 for a family; more on subscription fees later). The American Medical Association fired back quickly, stating that “It is important to have a first visit at least where you have a face-to-face encounter and a comprehensive medical examination.”

Led by current CEO Jason Gorevic, Teladoc has grown from 20,000 members to more than 10,000,000 in the ensuing 10 years—fueled by an enterprise-focused business model. Thanks to Teladoc, somewhere close to 300,000 people all received medical care in under an hour just last year. And yet the same arguments remain, just this time it’s in Texas. It has become obvious that telemedicine is inevitable (although that doesn’t mean we should stop advocating for interstate licensing compacts and reimbursement), and that it will rapidly consume a large share of the estimated 1.2 billion ambulatory visits per year in the U.S.

Following significant year-over-year revenue growth, Teladoc has filed its S-1 and is set to go public shortly. While the company is somewhat unique versus its competitors, the filing provides a lens into the overall telemedicine category. With the initial price range set, Gorevic is now offering everyone the opportunity to invest in the first ever telemedicine IPO.

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