Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has launched a new fund specifically focused on the digital health field, called OurCrowd Qure. They will work with Johns Hopkins University to provide validation of value, market access, and on-going feedback on the startups.
"I think that crowdfunding for digital health makes a huge amount of sense," John Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, told MobiHealthNews. "We’re not just raising money in a different way. We’re helping to build the company in a different way. A crowdfunding platform is uniquely positioned to help digital health leaders."
The $30 to $50 million fund will be based in Israel and administered by serial entrepreneur, investor, and practicing physician Dr. Yossi Bahagon and Allen Kamer, cofounder of Humedica who went on to work as a C-level executive at UnitedHealthcare, which acquired Humedica. Bahagon was on the founding teams of TytoCare, Medisafe, Sweetch, and Luminox Health.
"We want to focus on companies that bring better quality of care, more transparency and efficiency, in a reduced cost," Bahagon told MobiHealthNews. "We can invest in companies that their focus is on the systems side, and indeed the first company we already did an investment in is Zebra, which provides clinical decision support tools based on imaging analysis. But our focus is on being patient-centered. Examples include artificial intelligence, utilization of big data, consumer medical devices, and genomics — not the basic life sciences but genomics, big data analytics, facing the consumer or facing the physician."
Bahagon said the plan is to do around 15 deals, ranging from $250,000 preseed investments to $3 million series A investments. The fund will be raised from accredited investors that have made donations on OurCrowd's main equity crowdfunding platform, which has already incubated some digital health companies.
"OurCrowd is today built on a network of 15,000 private investors and this network is growing every day," Bahagon said. "It enables us to reach out to these investors, who are not just willing to put their money, but also want to assist their investment’s growth. From this huge database, there are physicians there, there are high executives in the healthcare system, and -- this is an example. I got an email from oen of the crowd investors, saying ‘I’m putting my money in, but I have deep connections to hospitals in Miami and I would like to see how can I assist your portfolio companies in connecting with these hospitals through my influence.' So the affect of the crowd goes beyond ‘Ok, I’ll put my $50,000 in’."
Also helping startups to find exposure with providers is partner Johns Hopkins, which is supporting the fund through its Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures fund.
"We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with OurCrowd to bring new companies and novel ideas to market,” Christy Wyskiel, Senior Advisor to the President at Johns Hopkins and head of Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, said in a statement. “We feel these companies will enrich the innovation ecosystem in and around Johns Hopkins.”