Accelerating the Digitalization of Healthcare: Cathay Innovation Leads €28M Series B in Germany’s MEDWING

Costanza Carissimo
May 26, 2020 · 6 min read

By Jacky Abitbol & Costanza Carissimo, Cathay Innovation

Last week we announced a significant milestone in raising over €500M for our second venture capital Fund to invest in visionary entrepreneurs across Europe, North America and Asia that are changing the world through technology. Building on the success of our previous fund and the belief that our global platform can provide real value to founders, we’ve also decided to actively expand our investment scope in Europe.

While we have been an extremely active member in the EU venture capital landscape since the start — investing in startups such as Glovo, Kayrros and Drivy to name a few- we have long been impressed by the large and growing startup ecosystem in Germany. After seeing the initial success of startups particularly in online consumer marketplaces, there are many rising stars emerging in the German market in a variety of verticals from mobility to fintech, to AI and enterprise SaaS. This brought us to the decision to actively invest in this market with Costanza Carissimo, who worked in our Silicon Valley office until the summer of 2019, returning to Europe to lead our efforts in Germany.

Today, in what marks another exciting milestone as our first investment in Germany, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve invested in leading European health-tech company MEDWING by leading their €28M Series B round. MEDWING is a platform connecting workers with healthcare institutions, enabling health professionals to simplify and streamline the application process to get a job tailored to their needs.

By also managing a temporary staffing model, MEDWING enables workers that need a more flexible schedule to re-enter the workforce. The company stands at the crossroad of the digitalization of work and of the health sector, two areas among Cathay Innovation’s core investment focus.

We are thrilled to be working with the MEDWING team on their mission to transform work in the healthcare sector and solve the shortage of healthcare personnel across Europe. We’ll be joining a strong lineup of co-investors that includes Northzone, Cherry Ventures and Atlantic Labs.

Healthcare Worker Shortage to Reach 20M by 2030

We see digital health as a huge area of importance and opportunity as software can be used across the healthcare spectrum, from primary research to streamlining operations across healthcare organizations, to drive tangible and impactful change in people’s lives. We are also seeing a new generation of workers demand more — not only in terms of digital services but also in terms of flexibility and agency — leading to a need for more innovative solutions to define the future of work across industries.

At Cathay Innovation, we’ve made several global investments in both healthcare and the future of work, such as; Owkin — a startup using AI to revolutionize medical research; Inato — a platform specifically designed for clinical trials; Iziwork — France’s leading temporary work platform, Terminal — a distributed-teams-as-a-service startup based in the US, and IfChange — China’s leading platform for hiring, managing and digitizing human capital.

But one of the most urgent issues today is the shortage of qualified healthcare workers worldwide. According to the World Bank, the global shortage of health professionals is expected to reach 20 million by 2030. This shortage negatively affects workers, patients, and institutions and has been brought to the forefront in the current health crisis, in which nurses and doctors emerged as — previously unsung — heroes.

Yet, recruitment in healthcare is currently an antiquated business and a major pain point in the industry, with institutions relying on a constellation of local offline agencies, headhunters, offline listings on trade magazines or word of mouth. Institutions are also posting job openings on their own websites, which typically only attracts candidates that had a previous interest in the hospital, or on generalist online portals, which lack the filtering capabilities and granularity of information needed for specialty occupations.

As a result, healthcare institutions often face higher recruiting costs and potential legal fines while governments face higher welfare costs. With an aging population, the need for a stronger hospital infrastructure and more senior care homes will also increase as the gap in available healthcare workers widens.

Enter MEDWING: At the Crossroads of Digital Health and the Future-of-Work

MEDWING is a high-touch marketplace connecting healthcare workers with institutions, on a mission to solve the skills shortage and transform work in the sector.

In less than 3 years, the company has achieved incredible growth, reaching more than 200,000 candidates and 2,500 hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices in Germany and with growing traction in France and the UK.

By being vertically focused, MEDWING has a deep knowledge of sector specific job requirements, as well as the hospital information most relevant to workers in the field. Their software manages the hiring and recruitment process from start to finish — giving candidates timely answers and full transparency, while also relieving some of the tasks of overworked hospital recruiters. Workers can apply for jobs, submit documents, select available shifts, and connect to the Medwing community via the app. While healthcare institutions can leverage Medwing’s applicant tracking system, temporary staff booking tool and shift management tool to ease their administrative burden.

The company aggregates supply and demand on a larger scale, allowing them to connect the best candidate to the best job, contrary to local agencies which will try to push the candidates they find towards the jobs for which they received a mandate. But matching is just the start: MEDWING also provides a flexible work solution that caters to students, retirees, or parents, that enables them to reenter the healthcare workforce on a schedule compatible with their lifestyle. MEDWING is not only facilitating a more efficient matching, but also increasing the overall supply of healthcare workers.

Furthermore, during this time of acute health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud of the incredible work that the MEDWING team has done to launch, in a very short amount of time, a pro-bono platform to connect volunteers and non-active healthcare workers, to institutions who urgently need them. The platform, #Wirwollenhelfen already collected more than 10,000 registrations from people willing to help, including doctors, nurses, and non-medical volunteers.

Timo Fischer and Johannes Roggendorf, co-founders of MEDWING

Backing Germany’s Next Visionary Entrepreneurs

With the increasing maturity of the German tech ecosystem, we believe entrepreneurs will need the backing of investors who not only have the capital, but believe in their vision and have a global mindset and ecosystem of local experts and partners to help them thrive and grow.

When we first met Johannes and Timo, the founders of MEDWING, we were immediately captivated by their vision to solve healthcare worker shortages by focusing on the best possible candidate experience. Both are extremely ambitious serial entrepreneurs, with complementary skill sets bringing together finance and operations with strong technical and marketing expertise. They first worked together in 2010 as part of the founding team of Home24. Timo then went on to lead a sporting group e-commerce company, while Johannes worked at Bain and founded another HR company: Haven.HR. They finally joined forces again in 2017 to found MEDWING.

We are excited and honored to join forces with a company driven by such a strong mission, and to be part of a project that is making a real difference in the lives of nurses, doctors, and patients. We believe our global platform and ecosystem is exceptionally well-suited to help MEDWING as they bring their service to more European geographies.

We look forward to supporting entrepreneurs building the next big winners in Germany and beyond!

Cathay Innovation