18 digital health acquisitions from the first half of 2016

By Brian Dolan
04:28 pm

If you look at the numbers alone, digital health mergers and acquisitions are pacing 2015's record-breaking year. MobiHealthNews tracked 18 acquisition deals during the first six months of 2016. The grand total from 2015 came to 37, which beat out 2014's 33 deals. 

However, the first half of 2016 brought few big dollar acquisitions. Instead it included a number of small undisclosed acquisitions and assets deals. Some of these deals were never announced by either company.

Here's a rundown of the 18 deals MobiHealthNews tracked in 2016 so far:

Asics buys Runkeeper: In February Boston-based FitnessKeeper, maker of the Runkeeper app, announced an agreement to be acquired by Japanese apparel company Asics for $85 million. The shoemaker acquired Runkeeper both for its potential as a one-to-one marketing channel and for the platform itself, which they intend to keep intact. "From the end-user standpoint, not much will change," FitnessKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs wrote in a blog post. "Not only will the Runkeeper product carry on, but we will be able to move even faster. We will be able to pursue the vision we’ve set out to pursue all along, with a partner that can bring many resources to bear that we couldn’t fathom having access to on our own." Runkeeper had raised about $11.5 million over the years.
Jawbone acquires Spectros: While this acquisition quietly took place last year, MobiHealthNews broke the news in June: Jawbone secretly acquired a medical sensor company called Spectros and appointed its founder as their new Chief Medical Officer. The move gives weight to rumors that the struggling wearables company is shifting its focus to regulated medical device wearables. Spectros, an 11-year-old company with at least six patents and numerous published studies, specialized in using spectroscopy to create a range of non-invasive molecular sensors. In particular, commercial applications of the technology used it for pulse oximetry, and detection of perfusion and ischemia. The company's On-Call remote monitoring product allowed doctors to monitor their patients using a smartphone.
Honest bought Alt12 Apps: Another acquisition that took place in 2015, but that MobiHealthNews broke this year was The Honest Company’s acquisition of Alt12 Apps. San Francisco-based Alt12 is better known by its apps, which in aggregate have been downloaded more than 17 million times: pregnancy tracker and social network BabyBump, women’s social network and health tracker Pink Pad, and parenting social network Kidfolio. Alt12’s co-founders Jennifer Wong and Casey Sackett now run mobile at Honest Co. As of January 2015, Wong is Head of Mobile Apps there and Sackett is Head of Mobile Apps Engineering.
One Medical buys Rise: In February concierge doctor service One Medical Group acquired nutrition coaching app maker Rise for a reported $20 million. Rise, founded in 2013, has been something of a rising star in the nutrition coaching app space, with $3.3 million in funding and a star-studded advisor panel including Harvard’s Dr. Russ Phillips, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta (who is also Rise Labs cofounder Suneel Gupta's brother), P90X founder Tony Horton, OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, and Facebook growth lead Alex Schultz. The startup offers a nutrition coaching system to help users lose weight and make positive lifestyle choices. Users are prompted to take a picture of their food so the coach, a nutrition expert, can see what they are eating and provide assistance based on this information. The coach also provides daily feedback and tips to stay healthy. Rise says one-on-one nutrition coaching normally costs over $300 per month, but prices for the Rise system can total around $60 a month at the low end.
Virgin Pulse buys two companies: In February Framingham, Massachusetts-based employee wellness and engagement company Virgin Pulse acquired two employee wellness companies: Providence, Rhode Island-based ShapeUp and Australia-based Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). ShapeUp developed a social wellness program for companies and engages employees through team workout challenges. ShapeUp has been in operation for about 10 years, raised at least $15.5 million. The program also tracks team progress to encourage better habits, offers health coaching in nutrition and exercise, and pulls in data from various consumer fitness devices. Existing investors include Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management. GCC, which has been in operation for about 11 years, also creates challenges for employees, but on a larger scale. For a period of 100 days each year, employees of any GCC customer around the world can compete in GCC challenges in teams of seven. For the rest of the year, employees can use GCC’s online platform for additional motivation and health education. The company’s program has reached nearly 2 million employees and 4,700 organizations across 185 countries, the company says.
Fitbit bought Coin's wearable assests: In May Fitbit acquired the assets of smart payment company Coin’s wearable payments platform, including related intellectual property. Fitbit also hired key personnel from the Coin wearable payments platform team. The acquisition will allow Fitbit to integrate a near-field communications (NFC) payment feature into future Fitbit devices, though the company said there are no plans to add these features into any products launched in 2016.
Canary Health snapped up bLife: In May Los Angeles-based Canary Health, a startup that uses digital health tools to help populations prevent and manage chronic diseases, acquired stress management app company bLife for an undisclosed amount. Canary Health sells its disease-management programs to hospitals and health systems, whereas bLife was a direct-to-consumer app company that created direct-to-consumer stress management apps as well as apps for clients including the Oprah Winfrey Network, Deepak Chopra, and the Huffington Post.
HealthTap-Docphin: MobiHealthNews broke the news in March that Palo Alto-based health tech company HealthTap had quietly acquired Docphin, a startup that makes it easier for physicians to find and read medical research, for an undisclosed sum. Docphin was a member of Rock Health's second accelerator class back in 2012 as well as StartUp Health's second class of startups later that same year. The company, which was founded in 2010, never publicly announced a round of funding but it appears to have raised about $1.6 million mostly in its early years. Romulus Capital was among its backers. Interestingly, Docphin's former CEO and Co-Founder Sachin Nanavati is part of the health team at Facebook, according to his LinkedIn profile. He made the move in February.
MedData buys Duet: In May Brecksville, Ohio-based healthcare services company MedData (not to be confused with Medidata) acquired Columbus, Ohio-based patient engagement company Duet Health. MedData offers providers patient communication tools, revenue cycle management software, as well as consulting and analytics services for billing and coding. The company serves more than 5,000 physicians and has seven offices across the US. Duet Health, which was founded in 2009, offered a white-label patient engagement suite for its clients that allows providers to send secure video, text, and image messages, store images, and view on-call schedules. Some of the company’s clients included OhioHealth, Cardinal Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Autism Speaks, and the CDC.
Scrypt-DocbookMD: In March Scrypt, a document management company, acquired physician communication platform DocbookMD. Both companies are based in Austin, Texas. DocbookMD raised a seed round of $2.2 million back in early 2012. DocbookMD was founded by husband and wife practicing physicians: Dr. Tim Gueramy, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Trace Haas, a family physician. The company’s unified comms offering, available via app or web, was used by more than 30,000 medical professionals across 42 states at the time of the acquisition. Physicians can use the system to exchange texts, photos, charts, x-rays and similar information.
DocPlanner-Doctoralia: In June Poland-based DocPlanner announced that it had merged with its Barcelona, Spain-based competitor Doctoralia. DocPlanner said prior to the merger it attracted 8 million unique users each month, with 90 percent coming from Europe. While Europe is clearly its strongest market, the company said it was in 25 countries last year, including some in Asia and South America. Doctoralia, meanwhile, had more than 9 million unique users every month, with traffic mostly coming from Spain, Brazil and Mexico. It's active in 20 countries though.
Mars Petcare-Whistle: In April San Francisco-based pet fitness tracking company Whistle was acquired by Mars Petcare, maker of pet food brands like Iams, Pedigree, and Whiskas. The deal was close to $117 million, according to some reports. Mars Petcare is a subsidiary of Mars, a candy maker that sells 29 brands of candy including M&Ms, Dove, Snickers, and Twix. Whistle raised $21 million. The company’s investors included DCM Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Melo7 Tech Partners, Qualcomm, and Queensbridge Venture Partners. The company developed a smart collar that people can use to track their dog’s location and activity. Data from the collar is sent to a companion app that helps users pinpoint their dog’s location. The app also shows users a history of the dog’s activity and sleep patterns.
Huron buys MyRounding: Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group, a global consulting firm with a significant healthcare business, has acquired mobile health software company MyRounding for an unidsclosed amount. HCG will make MyRounding part of its healthcare group and make its software available to hospital clients. Denver, Colorado-based MyRounding was founded in 2012. The company's product is an iPad and web app that supports doctors, nurses, and other hospital professionals that do rounds. By doing rounds with a tablet, and digitally collecting their feedback on how patients are faring, hospitals can track patients more consistently and more quickly respond to their needs and requests. The cloud-based platform can also feed data into a hospital's electronic health record.
Mattel buys Sproutling: In February Mattel, a toy manufacturing giant based in Segundo, California, acquired San Francisco-based Sproutling, which has developed a health sensing wearable device for babies. Sproutling had raised at least $6.5 million. Its most recent round was disclosed in an SEC filing last year. The company’s investors included First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Lemnos Labs, BoxGroup, and Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning. The company will still sell its offering under the Sproutling brand, but the team at Sproutling will also work with Mattel to design and develop new products under Mattel’s brand.
Mad*Pow buys HotSeat assets: In March Mad*Pow, a design agency with a specialization in healthcare design announced an agreement to acquire gamified exercise app HotSeat from context, the communications consulting firm owned by app creator Fran Melmed. The acquisition price was undisclosed but the agency was one of the creators of the app. The app helped office workers interject short bursts of physical activity into their days, and support each other socially in doing so. It was sold to companies with 500 or more employees. With HotSeat, employees take two-minute breaks throughout the day for a variety of physical activities from simple ones like walking to sillier ones like particular dances (in 2012, the game Melmed showed MobiHealthNews was "Gangham Style"). Employees choose their own activities, but they can also challenge coworkers. The app also syncs with users' calendars to plan the break around their schedules.
ghg-The Lathe: Greyhealth group (ghg), a healthcare-focused agency owned by WPP that was a founding partner of Text4Baby and an early IBM Watson partner, has acquired The Lathe, a health app design and development firm, for an undisclosed amount. The Lathe was founded in 2003 and has worked with a number of healthcare companies to create apps and mobile responsive websites. They build apps for chronic disease management, occasional therapies, medical devices, and over the counter products. On their website, they tout an app for multiple sclerosis patients, an iPad app for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a responsive website, built for Valeant Pharmaceuticals, for parents of children with eczema. One of the firm's selling points is an understanding of pharma marketing regulations.
Logitech acquires Jaybird: Finally, in April electronics company Logitech acquired wireless earbud company Jaybird for $50 million in cash. In addition to the suite of sporty wireless buds that Jaybird sells, the company also offered a wristworn activity tracker, called Reign, but that product line was not the focus for the acquisition.

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