Ada’s investment in Alvie Health
We’re announcing today that Ada Ventures is leading an investment in the £2.4m seed round of Alvie Health, the accessible and personalised prehab and rehab company. Alvie dramatically improves outcomes for patients going through cancer treatment and other serious health issues.
Why we invested in Alvie Health
After raising a pre-seed round from angels in 2020, the team at Alvie Health have built a product that their users love and that drives fantastic patient outcomes in just two years.
The stats prove it: with over £1m in contracted revenue, they serve more than 1000 people going through cancer and work with Vitality, Macmillan and eight NHS trusts to distribute their product to patients.
We are delighted to be leading their first institutional round which will enable them to provide care to patients undergoing surgery for other conditions to other insurance companies and in other locations.
So, what does Alvie Health do?
Alvie’s goal is pretty simple: to provide support and help people become fitter and healthier before, during and after cancer treatment so they recover better. This reduces the risk of further poor health, avoids complications, and improves the ability of cancer treatments to work effectively.
The product is personalised and provides daily plans of physical and emotional wellbeing depending on variables including age, health status, cancer stage and treatment. This is continually updated with data from wearable devices (Apple Watch, Fitbit) and frequent check-ups. These weekly/bi-weekly one-to-one consultations with a health coach help keep the programme process personal. This is vital when treating serious illnesses like cancer.
The idea is that prevention and preparation avoid the reactive need for additional expensive treatments. This improves the health and the recovery ability of the patient and saves the providers the cost of any future treatment. There is also access to a team of specialist experts, including clinical psychologists, specialist nurses, dietitian and physiotherapists for focussed, needs-based interventions.
Why does Alvie Health fit the Ada Thesis and what got us excited?
We have looked at a lot of health coaching companies and to be honest, when we saw Alvie we initially skeptical that they could win in this challenging category and create a globally significant company. There are challenges with health coaching from a venture returns and scale perspective, including but not limited to:
- How to acquire patients and maintain a low enough CAC to make the product unit profitable
- How to monetise; sometimes the customers who need this the most are those on low incomes, with poor access to technology (nearly 22% of patients in the NHS do not have basic digital skills)
- How to deliver quality care in a scalable way at a margin that makes sense for the company
- How to ensure adherence to the coaching — particularly for older patients and those who are not regular smartphone or tablet users.
In fact, when we first started talking to Alvie Health, we were in discussions with three other companies using a hybrid AI and human approach to tackling long-term health conditions.
Over the course of our DD as we got to know the company and team better, we were blown away by the product execution, customer feedback and scale of ambition of the founding team. These were the factors that really made the Alvie Health team and proposition stand out:
- They have a differentiated and innovated approach to cracking customer acquisition, even for those on low incomes who are not insured. They acquire customers through both NHS trusts and insurance companies and they price these contracts on the basis of outcomes (value-based pricing). We really believe in this smart, impactful and aligned model at Ada. They are also evidencing their work — they just published a peer-reviewed study showing the benefits of digital preventative physical therapy (prehab) vs in person appointments for patients with oesophago-gastric cancer.
- They have been able to use a combination of human and AI to deliver quality, personalised care in a scalable way using micro consultations and health coaches alongside AI. This also contributes to their moat which prevents others from copying Alvie Health over the longer term as they build more data on patient pathways.
- Customers love Alvie Health. We were incredibly impressed by the reviews of Alvie Health from the patients and from their partners, showing how deeply they understood the patient and the payer journey. Users’ net promoter score (NSP) for Alvie Health is 80.
- Their programme is specifically targeted around the weeks leading up to and immediately following a complex surgery and chemo or radiotherapy; it doesn’t require adherence over several years which has proved problematic in the past.
- The team at Alvie Health is very well-suited to build this business. They have worked together for 15 years in partnership, Venetia as a cancer nurse and Krishna as a cancer surgeon in the NHS at Imperial Hospital in London, one of the leading cancer hospitals in the world. They probably know more about the patient experience and what impacts patient outcomes than any other team in this space, having seen it up close with hundreds of patients. Venetia’s patient-centric mindset is a fantastic complement to Krishna’s clinical analysis.
How did the investment happen?
Alvie Health was first flagged to us by Mark Jenkins, who founded Oviva Health in May of 2022 (thank you Mark!). This was my email reply:
Thanks so much for sharing, Mark. We love the mission and definitely see the need and effectiveness — however we struggle to see the real differentiation / USP for each company which will lock in users and create a sustainable competitive advantage and therefore we aren’t going to take it forward at the moment.
Mark responded with a helpful message and even though we didn’t end up meeting Krishna and Venetia at the time, they submitted their deck to our website in September 2022. Patricia El Jichi, our fantastic On Purpose Associate, did an initial call with them. They were then mentioned to us by Richard Sinal and Lord John Nash, one of Ada’s investors who also invested in this round. I ended up meeting the team later in September and immediately saw why Mark was an advisor to them and why so many people spoke so highly of their work.
We are really pleased to have led their seed round and investing alongside Lord Nash and strategic angels including Andy Bond, former CEO of Asda.
There are some fantastic people joining the Alvie Health team which will be announced soon. They are also seeking commercial partners (find out more here). We look forward to working with them to build a world beating and highly impactful company.