HEALTH NEWS: Is digital health in a bubble? Depends on who you ask

Digital well being trade cheerleaders Rock Well being has produced their year-end enterprise funding report for 2018 and whereas funding figures proceed to interrupt information, the group is a little more tempered in its expectations that the nice instances will proceed indefinitely.

A couple of regarding elements recognized by the group have been the latest volatility within the public markets and potential macroeconomic and political forces injecting instability within the bigger economic system.

Nonetheless, they’ve come to the conclusion that digital well being isn’t in an funding bubble inasmuch that a bubble is a state of affairs the place even startups with robust market fundamentals who want entry to capital battle to stay solvent.

“Whereas the longer term isn’t but written, it appears unlikely that capital will proceed to move on the present charge. We anticipate a doable pullback in VC funding for digital well being in future durations – not a bubble pop,” the report reads.

Rock Well being’s rationale relies on quite a lot of elements together with the transfer of startups to extra regular enterprise enterprise fashions, the efficiency of public digital well being corporations and rise of repeat buyers within the area.

Among the extra sunny numbers from the report embody $eight.1 billion in complete digital well being funding (up from $5.7 billion in 2017), a report variety of $200 million-plus rounds and common deal dimension growing to $21.9 million.

However, sooner money burn charges, lack of progress in startup exits and sky-high valuations are leaving some trade observers nervous.

A panel on the Digital Well being & MedTech Showcase in San Francisco that includes a spread of digital well being buyers provided extra perception into the query.

Excessive money burn charges amongst digital well being startups had been tied to the extent of effort needed for buyer acquisitions and shifting investor focus to medical and regulatory validation of know-how.

The issue might particularly be salient within the subject of digital therapeutics, the place a constant regulatory pathway has not been established.

“This appears like an space the place groups are going to must run onerous and there’s going to have a little bit of that perception earlier than we get the exits to know the place it seems,” stated KP Ventures’ Liz Rockett.

Exits had been one other main space of concern for the buyers who talked about the dearth of digital well being IPOs over the previous two years and the volatility within the inventory market.

Lisa Suennen, chief of Manatt’s Digital & Know-how Group, predicted a rise in exits of the “not good variety.”

“The down spherical help-get-me-out-of-here sort of exits, the shopping for of property which are cool and integrating them into their different corporations,” Suennen stated. “If the inventory market stays unstable or collapses and the world economic system is unstable with that, all the pieces is coming down.”

Even the instance of the latest $225 million acquisition of Propeller Well being by medical gadget firm ResMed didn’t encourage a lot optimism in regards to the exit market within the close to time period.

“Propeller was not on revenues, an exit. It was largely a strategic exit. I believe you’re going to see remoted circumstances like that the place there’s sure applied sciences or platforms that an acquirer actually needs as a result of it can change the face of that acquirer or change the path of know-how developments they wish to push on,” stated. DigiTX Companions CEO David Kim.

“I personally don’t make investments considering we’re going to have instant exits within the subsequent few years, it’s going to take time to actually construct out good corporations with strong income and profitability profiles to draw acquirers.”

As as to whether an impending bubble burst is on the horizon, opinions ranged however the normal sentiment was that a market correction is on the way in which, but it surely doesn’t spell doom for the trade as a complete.

“To me a bubble simply means the hype bursts, it doesn’t imply the market disappears,” Suennen stated. “I do suppose we’re going to see a serious pullback in valuations … If buyers can’t exit issues profitably they won’t get more cash to speculate finish of story.”

Image: kishore kumar, Getty Photographs

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