Digital health in Europe: So hot right now

Announcing Push Doctor’s £20m Series B funding

There sure have been a lot of European digital health companies raising large rounds recently…

… and here’s another one!

We are delighted to announce that our portfolio company Push Doctor has raised a £20m Series B round, led by new investor Accelerated Digital Ventures, Draper Esprit, Oxford Capital and Seventure. We have been investors in Push Doctor since late 2015, and are thrilled to continue supporting the company.

I think all the funding and excitement surrounding European digital health at the moment calls for a market map:

The above map shows European digital health companies tackling access to primary care that have raised over €15m/£13m. Some of these companies are using technology to facilitate connections between patients and doctors, others are claiming to augment or replace healthcare with technology (e.g. Babylon Health’s “ AI ” diagnosis platform). What they have in common is that they’ve attracted significant attention from investors (implying strong underlying growth and a large market opportunity) and are using technology to rethink access to primary care.

Why is there an opportunity in European consumer digital health?

Consumers are poorly served by many of today’s healthcare incumbents in Europe which are set up to provision reactive care, ie only when an individual presents a diagnosable illness. Each health episode is often treated as a discrete event. Healthcare systems have been slow to adopt a patient-centric view of healthcare, and are not configured to provide preventative care to patients (ie caring for healthy patients to prevent them from ever developing an illness) which is widely understood to be more cost effective and to lead to better outcomes.

In addition to providing antiquated models of care, incumbent healthcare systems are also inefficient to access. For instance, average wait times to see an NHS GP are now 13 days (according to a Pulse survey), with the worst inefficiencies concentrated in certain geographic areas. Digital solutions can easily solve this problem by aggregating larger volumes of supply and demand and enabling care to be provided remotely.

Consumer adoption of wearables and the adoption of digital and connected devices by the healthcare industry has led to an explosion of health data. Digitally brokered access to primary care allows patients to harness this data, interpret it effectively and use it to inform their care in the long term. Adopting digital solutions and leveraging large volumes of data is the best chance we have of disentangling the complex web of causes and effects that constitutes a patient’s health, and to enable long term, preventative care, all ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

… and why Push Doctor?

When we first invested in Push Doctor in 2015, it was one of several UK early stage digital health companies, none of which had significant traction. However we were very impressed by the ambition and raw execution focus of the founders, Eren Ozagir and Matt Elcock. While still very early stage, they had the best product in the market (in terms of reliability and speed to accessing a doctor) and had extremely high customer satisfaction scores (NPS) to match. We also aligned with their vision for how best to tackle the emerging digital health opportunity; by using technology to facilitate (rather than replacing) doctor-patient interaction, and going direct to consumer (rather than via 3rd parties like employers or insurers).

With venture investments, we believe people and products win in the short-medium term, and markets win in the long term. We believe in the digital health market opportunity for the reasons outlined above. We remain extremely impressed with what Eren and Matt have built, and are grateful to join them on their journey. They have over-delivered on their original vision. Push Doctor is now Europe’s largest digital health service by consultation volume, leveraging a strong direct to consumer brand with a focus on wellness and lifestyle products, and using technology as a means to deliver a fantastic customer experience, rather than an end in itself. Push Doctor’s marketplace model and focus on speed of access to care (most patients can see a doctor within 6 minutes) has empowered patients to take control of their healthcare.

This manifests itself most prominently in the 19 lives Push Doctor has been able to save with timely intervention and medical advice. We at Oxford Capital have been investing in healthcare since 1999, but no company we have been involved with has had such an immediate, appreciable and commendable impact on people’s lives as Push Doctor. We couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for Push Doctor as they continue to deliver on the promise of digital health for the industry in UK and Europe.