VCs Are Pushing Cash at This Digital Health Startup

Posted by amanda.pedersen on July 5, 2017

Push Doctor has raised more than $37.5 million to date to put UK patients in touch with doctors in a matter of minutes. VC firms have been supporting a growing number of digital health startups, including those with telemedicine platforms.

Amanda Pedersen

Push Doctor has raised more than $37.5 million to date to develop its digital health platform, which is designed to put patients in touch with doctors in a matter of minutes, using their mobile device.

 

With the advancement of digital technology, a doctor's visit is often only a video chat away, a concept that investors are quickly seeing the value in. Case in point, UK-based Push Doctor, a company developing a data-driven digital health platform that puts UK patients in touch with a general practitioner within minutes using a mobile device, just raised $26.1 million in its latest funding round. 

Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and Draper Esprit led the round, with participation from major European funds, Oxford Capital, Partech Ventures, and Seventure Partners. This takes Push Doctor's total funding to date to more than $37.5 million.

"We have treated more cases digitally than anyone in Europe and consistently grown more than 35% month-on-month for 16 months," said Eren Ozagir, the company's founder and CEO. "As a result, we have a dataset that provides a unique view of the medical issues facing a nation. This has meant that we have been able to scope and create a data-driven digital health platform that will treat the whole person."

According to Michael Dimelow, ADV's head of investment, Push Doctor has a unique vision to build an open platform where the entire industry can connect and collaborate. "Equally, consumers will gain efficient and direct access to healthcare professionals."

Push Doctor's quick growth suggests that the Uberization of healthcare may be closer than we think. That is to say, digital health companies like Push Doctor are changing the way patients receive care by focusing on their needs, rather than the traditional healthcare model, which focused on the needs of the system.

Telemedicine has been gaining steam in recent years, but experts caution that there are still some hurdles that need to be addressed before the method of medical practice becomes more widespread. 

The VC community has certainly seen the value in digital health technology, including, but not limited to, virtual doctor visit platforms (telemedicine). According to Rock Health, 71 digital health financing deals were reported during the first quarter of this year, totaling more than $1 billion. Telemedicine accounted for six of those deals, worth a total of $50.7 million. The firm noted that recent trends in legislation and reimbursement have made telemedicine more attractive to investors. In 2005 only 24 states allowed coverage of telemedicine, but now all 50 states allow coverage of the technology to some degree, Rock Health said, adding that "legislative telemedicine developments from state to state will influence future investment in this category." 

Analytics and big data healthcare companies took the largest piece of the funding pie among U.S. digital health companies, with 11 deals totaling $197.5 million.

What makes all of these deals even more impressive is the fact that they happened amidst considerable regulatory uncertainty and healthcare policy uncertainty in the United States. Rock Health reports only U.S.-based digital health deals of $2 million or more, and the firm does not include healthcare service companies or software companies that are not solely focused on healthcare. Government funding, grants, and non-dilutive crowdfunding is also excluded from the firm's tally. 

There also has been a trend toward more digital health-friendly funds, Rock Health noted, which ultimately means a deeper pool of capital for investors and startups in the space. The firm noted at least six new funds with more than $1 billion in capital that were announced in the first quarter alone. The largest of those six is Venrock's eighth fund, which raised $450 million. The Palo Alto, CA-based VC is one of the most prolific digital health investors, according to Rock Health, with a portfolio including Doctor on Demand, Stride Health, and Virta. New York-based Lux Capital also raised a noteworthy amount, $400 million, for its newest fund. Its current digital health portfolio companies include Aptible, Kyruus, and Zipdrug.

Amanda Pedersen is Qmed's news editor. Contact her at amanda.pedersen@ubm.com.

 

[Image credit: Push Doctor]