Where We Are Investing Now: Health Tech

Because of the inextricable tie between health and happiness, there exists an equally strong connection between happiness and health. Now, powerful new science is opening whole new categories of products capable of contributing to happiness. Therefore, we see Health Tech as a central investment focus area for Social Starts.

Social Starts will continue investing in health tech companies that address large pain points, demonstrate dramatic influence on patient/consumer outcomes, and have clear business models that target consumers, providers, or payers as the end-user in that order.

Specifically, we will seek out companies in these areas:

  • Healthcare-enabling technology, telehealth, and healthcare AI

  • Chronic diseases treatment

  • Novel care delivery models

  • Neurotech

  • Mental health and happiness

  • Nutrition and fitness

  • Femtech, especially beauty/personal care (cosmeceuticals), and maternal health/pregnancy

  • Boomer economy/senior care – aging at home

We believe COVID has had an immediate and lasting impact on Health Tech. Swift responses from government, industry, and academia have led to adjustments in regulatory policy and collaborative partnerships, in turn resulting in new and expanded product offerings. In the near future, tech giants will likely play a larger role in the strategy and implementation of future public health responses.

The crisis is shining a bright spotlight, in particular, on telehealth, with deals we are seeing doubled from Q4’19. A number of payers and providers have already expanded access to virtual care, and around-the-globe numerous programs have reported significant upticks in visit volume.

As Seema Verma, CMS Medicare Administrator, stated in March, “I think it’s fair to say that the advent of telehealth has been just completely accelerated, that it’s taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier – but there is absolutely no going back.”

Based on all we see, we advocate that for the rest of 2020, we pay special attention to every possible permutation of at-home treatment and care. We aren’t just looking for apps; we want fully integrated digital in-person experiences, potentially with some direct human element included.

Areas of particular note here should be:

  • Asynchronous telehealth

  • Chatbots

  • Symptom checkers

  • Home tests

  • Novel biomarker-based systems

The pandemic has also pushed more people to seek virtual alternatives for non-essential health and wellness concerns — a trend that has the potential to shape personal health practices going forward. Nearly half of consumers intend to continue using telemedicine platforms for health after the pandemic ends, according to McKinsey. Thus, our investment approach to Health Tech will be all-encompassing. However, in all considerations, companies must demonstrate that they are able to adapt to the “new normal” brought on by the effects of COIVID-19.

Reprinted by permission.