Mercom: healthcare IT funding reached $5B in 2016

By Heather Mack

Last year set some new records for healthcare IT funding, with VC investments reaching over $5 billion and mobile health funding hitting an all-time high, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group.

In their annual Healthcare IT/Digital Health Funding and M&A Report, the market intelligence firm tracked $5.1 billion in VC funding across 622 deals in 2016, compared with $4.6 billion in funding across 574 deals in 2015.
Since 2010, VC funding towards healthcare IT has risen to $18.5 billion across 2,672 deals, and Mercom identified several notable funding rounds in 2016: China’s Ping An Good Doctor’s $500 million round, Flatiron Health’s $175 million and Jawbone’s $165 million.

Top investors were Khosla Ventures, GE Ventures, Social Capital and BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, and there are more investors than ever in the space: Mercom tracked a total of 1,115 investors in 2016, up from 923 in 2015. Accelerators and incubator deals were also up this year, from 55 to 83.  

“Venture capital funding bounced back after declining in 2015,” Mercom CEO and Cofounder Raj Prabhu said in a statement. “Digital health public companies on the other hand continue to struggle.”

Consumer-focused companies accounted for $3.5 billion across 437 of 2016’s deals, up from $3.1 billion and 403 deals in 2015, and practice-centric companies raised $1.6 billion across 185 deals, representing a slight increase from 2015’s $1.5 billion in 171 deals.

Breaking up the industry by technology, the top funded areas were mobile apps, which raised almost $1.3 billion in funding; wearable sensors, at $592 million; data analytics, at $574 million; telemedicine, with $528 million; mobile wireless companies at $228 million; and wellness companies reaching $218 million.

Mergers and acquisitions were slightly down in 2016, with 205 deals compared to 2015’s count of 219. Twenty-one companies made more than one transaction last year, and six public companies were acquired or merged in 2016. Just like they accounted for most of the funding deals, mobile apps also took the lead in M&A transactions for the year, with 21 deals.

Unsurprisingly, most of the action is in California. Compared to the rest of the country, California more than tripled the VC funding of any other state and received more funding than any other country (excluding the U.S. as a whole). New York, Massachusetts and Illinois followed.