StartUp Health: Digital health funding down by $1.2B year-over-year

By Jonah Comstock
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According to StartUp Health’s year-end report, digital health funding is down from 2014. It hit $5.8 billion so far this year, compared with $7 billion in 2014.

StartUp’s report paints this drop as a maturation of the market, contending that though funding has dropped it’s being invested more smartly. The year was dominated by bigger funding rounds at later stages: mid-stage and late-stage deal size has increased 27 percent and 50 percent respectively, while early-stage deal size stayed the same.

“Although there are fewer mid-stage deals this year than last, companies that are raising are able to do so faster than in 2014,” they wrote. “Follow-on capital is readily available for those companies able to consistently demonstrate a validated solution as investors are focused more on compelling business models and credible outcomes.”

Rock Health’s report, which also came out this week, pegs the year’s funding at $4.3 billion — almost exactly what they tracked for 2014. As always, the higher number reflects StartUp Health’s broader definition of digital health, which can be seen from their top five funding raises for the year: Zenefits, Chinese appointment booking startup Guahao, health insurer Oscar, ZocDoc, and personal genomics company 23andMe. Of those, only ZocDoc and 23andMe made Rock Health’s list.

StartUp Health also reports that funding has shifted from btob offerings to consumer-focused ones. While the top three sub-markets of 2014 were workflow, medical device, and population health in that order, 2015 saw patient or consumer experience top the list, followed by wellness/benefits and workflow. Personalized health and quantified self came in fourth.

Some of the drop in funding, StartUp Health contends, can be attributed to the glut of “all-in” investments in 2014, where investors “focused on identifying singular winners and strategically funding them to dominate whole sectors “. This trend has continued into 2015, but to a lesser degree.

The most active investor in 2015 was GE Ventures, with 10 deals, but three more — Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures and NEA — tied for second with nine deals each. Four more — Qualcomm Ventures, Rock Health, Tencent, and Venrock — had eight deals each. The total number of investors in the space dropped slightly, from 603 in 2014 to 596 in 2015.