The 15 wireless health VC deals of 2009

By Brian Dolan

Venture Capital 2009According to MobiHealthNews' year-end report, there were 15 venture capital investments announced during 2009 and 11 of them were for wireless remote patient monitoring start-ups. The remainder included a start-up working on a converged platform for physicians-patient communications, a smartphone app developer focused on fitness games, a call-in physician consultation service, and a tablet-based patient check-in device for physician offices. While there were few, this year's investments cover the gamut of wireless health business models and offerings.

In September MedMarket Diligence noted that investments and other financings in the medical device sector topped $400 million in July and August. The $22 million round that wireless health start-up CardioMEMS secured, led the pack. MedMarket predicted another $400 million in investments in medtech for the month of September alone.

By October venture capitalists focused on healthcare were hedging their bets based on the direction US healthcare reform was heading: VCs like Psilos and Chrysalis looked to fund companies that help people stay healthier and manage chronic diseases, figuring this is one way the government will ultimately move to take costs out of healthcare.

In November following the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment event in San Diego, where more than two dozen wireless health start-ups demonstrated their solutions, wireless industry veteran analyst Chetan Sharma predicted a “lot of investment” would flow into the sector in the coming days.

One venture capital firm, Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), which invested in wireless sensor start-up Corventis in the past, told MobiHealthNews that it was actively pursuing start-ups like Corventis that collect clinically-actionable data for point-of-care. MDV was chiefly interested in companies at the 510K level of FDA regulation. Products that require long, multi-year clinical trials before getting an FDA regulatory decision were not of interest.

Here's a quick summary of the 15 VC and other capital investment deals announced in 2009. Be sure to read our year-end report (free!) for more recaps of the year gone by. (Download the report (PDF) here.)

$22.1 million -- CardioMEMS -- Developer of implantable wireless sensors that track cardiac output, blood pressure and heart rate. Investors: Arcapita Ventures, Boston Millennium, Foundation Medical.

$20 million -- Autonomic Technologies -- Developer of implantable devices that aim to soothe severe headaches. Recently advertised for a wireless engineer. Lead Investor: InterWest Partners; Also: Kleiner Perkins Also: Polaris Venture Partners, Caueld & Byers, The Cleveland Clinic.

$11.6 million -- Phreesia -- Developer of automatic patient check-in device and service that aims to improve patient-provider relationship. Lead Investor: BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners; Also: Polaris Venture Partners, HLM Venture Partners and Long River Ventures.

$9.8 million -- BiancaMed -- Developer of wireless monitoring devices, including motion sensor that detects heart rate and respiration. Lead Investor: Seventure Partners; Also: ePlanet, Enterprise Ireland, and ResMed.

$9 million -- TelaDoc Medical Services -- National network of primary care physicians that diagnose illness, recommend treatment, and prescribe medication over the phone. Lead Investor: HLM Venture Partners; Also: Cardinal Partners, Trident Capital.

$7.5 million -- WellAware -- Developer of wireless remote monitoring systems that track the daily activities of cared for individuals in the home. Investors: Valhalla Partners, .406 Ventures.

$5 million -- Myca Health -- MycaHub combines an EMR, a comprehensive admin system, and the ability for doctors to communicate with their patients via a variety of channels. Investors: BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries.

$3.6 million -- Echo Therapeutics -- Developer of a wireless blood glucose monitor for diabetics. Investors include Cotswold Foundation.

$3 million -- BL Healthcare -- BL's platform, TVx, gathers info from Bluetooth-based wireless medical devices at home and displays it on the TV. Investors: Undisclosed.

$1.6 million -- Monica Healthcare -- Developer of wireless technology for monitoring the health of expectant mothers and babies. Lead Investor: PUK Ventures; Also: atapult Venture Managers ,University of Nottingham.

$535,000 -- Wireless Medcare -- Developer of medical applications for wireless and web-enabled devices. Investors: Carilion Biomedical Institute, Optimum Sensor Holdings.

$160,000 -- GymFu - Developer of motion-detecting iPhone fitness apps that include peer challenges to keep users motivated. Lead Investor: Channel 4's 4iP.

Undisclosed -- eCardio Diagnostics -- Service provider of remote cardiac monitoring for arrhythmia diagnosis. Lead Investor: Sequoia Capital.

Undisclosed -- MiLife -- Developer of a a personalized online fitness coaching system and wireless monitoring device. Investors: New Venture Partners, Unilever Ventures.

Undisclosed -- Zephyr Technology -- Developer of real-time physiological and biomechanical monitoring tech for defense, first responder, training and research markets. Lead Investor: Motorola Ventures.