Health 2.0 VentureConnect: Startup Community’s Path To Mentorship, Investment
BY GRACE MOEN FOR HEALTH 2.0
(Indu Subyaiya and Chelsea Polaniecki of Health 2.0 flank Mike Kijewski of MedCrypt, winner of Health 2.0 VentureConnect 2018, posing with Howard Burde, event MC.)
Health tech funding this year has surpassed even some of the most optimistic expectations. To date, the industry has collectively raised $6.8 billion for digital health innovation and we haven’t even hit Q4 yet. The first three-quarters of 2018 has already outpaced 2017’s then-record of $5.7 billion. Companies claiming “unicorn” status abound and include Health 2.0 alum such as Flatiron, HeartFlow, Oscar Health, among others. Interestingly, while the number of deals in 2018 has decreased slightly, the number of total dollars divvied up among each startup has gone up, indicating that it is a good time to be in the startup game.
These companies didn’t get there overnight though. They started with an idea, fueled it with their unending passion, and may even go through the psychological slog that comes with entrepreneurship. Nurturing the growth of the startup community is a pillar of the Health 2.0 mission, which is why Health 2.0 VentureConnect (previously Traction) remains such an important event for startups and investors alike. This year, the Health 2.0 VentureConnect event will take place at the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, FL, as a full-day extravaganza on Feb. 13, complete with pitch competition and onstage conversations that provide context, advice, and invaluable connections.
To compete in the pitch competition portion, startups must be early stage and ready to raise for their series A round. Those who win Health 2.0 VentureConnect often go on to do big things, if Silver Cloud Health and Medisafe are any indication. SilverCloud Health boasts back-to-back championship wins at both Health 2.0 VentureConnect in the US and Europe’s EC-to-VC, while in June, Medisafe was announced as Apple’s first major partnership within the digital health sphere. The competition begins online with virtual submissions and culminates in a series of presentations in front of a live judging panel that has included the likes of GE Ventures and Esther Dyson.
The big money and big acquisitions of 2018 are very exciting, but it’s not without a grain of salt. If you’ve been tracking digital health investment for awhile, you may be wondering if this is a bubble that’s ready to burst. According to investor and Health 2.0 VentureConnect moderator Emma Cartmel, some of her fellow investors have already slowed their funding flow for fear of the predicted recession. Indu Subaiya and Matthew Holt - cofounders of Health 2.0 - are inclined to think that this may be the critical mass required in order to move the needle of innovation, they say. The third quarter of 2018 brought big deals for OneMedical at $350 million, 23andme at $300 million, and American Well at $366. “But what gives me hope is that all three of these companies were founded in 2006,” said Indu Subaiya at the 12th Annual Fall Conference, “so they’re not Johnny or Jane-come-latelies and maybe their maturity means they can be fed one-third of a billion dollars each and metabolize it and continue to grow. I say, they can.”
This year’s Health 2.0 VentureConnect will get into all of that in sessions that include updates on market trends, lessons learned from startups who’ve been there, and a deep dive on what investors are looking for now.