First quarter brings in between $980M and $1.8B digital health funding

By Aditi Pai
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Earlier this week, Rock Health and Startup Health released their first quarterly funding reports for the calendar year. Rock Health, which has more specific inclusion criteria and only tracks deals above $2 million, reported $981.3 million in Q1 2016 digital health funding, while StartUp Health reported $1.8 billion.

“If you spent the first quarter of this year listening to investors, founders, or the tech media, you heard the same thing we all did: the market is experiencing a correction (or downturn, depending on your perspective), valuations are crashing, and VCs are generally acting with more caution,” Rock Health Venture Associate Mitchell Mom wrote in the report. “While some of that may be true for the tech industry at large, digital health may be immune.”

Rock Health’s data showed a 50 percent growth year over year — this was the highest first quarter total the digital health seed fund has tracked. The two largest deals this quarter, Flatiron’s $175 million and Jawbone’s $165 million made up 35 percent of the funding tracked by Rock in the quarter and increased the average deal size to $18.2 million. The next three highest deals were Healthline’s $95 million raise, Health Catalyst’s $70 million, and Higi’s $40 million.

While the number of Series A deals, which made up 50 percent of deal volume, was similar to last year’s, the percentage of later stage deals declined from 35 percent to 13 percent.

Some of the trends StartUp Health identified include more nuanced investors making deals (like institutional VCs as well as hospitals and payer systems), a drop in deal volume but an increase in funding, and New York taking the lead for most investments.

“2015 was the year digital health funding hit its stride and 2016 is stepping it up a notch with a record-setting first quarter,” the StartUp Health report reads. “Signs continue to point to a market transitioning from something reminiscent of the Wild West to the early stages of maturity.“

About 22 percent of the funding that StartUp Health tracked came from one investment — Oscar Health’s $400 million. Rock Health did not include Oscar's funding in its report, likely because the company is a health insurance company and not a health tech startup by its definition. The next biggest deals StartUp Health tracked were all above $100 million. Flatiron raised $175 million, Guardant Health raised $100 million, and MindMaze raised $100 million. The other company in the top five, Healthline, raised $95 million.

Because of Oscar, for the first time New York-based companies raised the most money, according to StartUp Health. Following New York’s $656 million, Bay Area companies raised $525 million, and Boston companies raised $79 million.