The healthcare industry as we know it is at the centre of a revolution. A data revolution. Faced with demands to improve efficiency and cut costs, while continuing to deliver the highest quality patient care and medical research, data — and specifically people’s ability to gain insights from it — is key to shaping healthcare’s future.
Healthcare is essentially a data challenge. Throughout every part of the value chain, from insurance and clinical trials through to disease research, diagnosis and prevention, the ability to manage, securely share, analyse and interpret the staggering amounts of data available is vital. For instance, having the ability to analyze data at incredible speeds can dramatically increase our understanding of how diseases spread through the human body and a population. Technology enables us to identify millions of possible mutations at a cellular or even molecular level, classify X-rays or radio images faster and more accurately, and model the success of a new drug. The opportunities in healthtech are huge and in European healthcare alone, investment in data-related technologies grew 10.2 per cent in 2016 over 2015. It has also been estimated that — driven by factors such as an ageing population and diseases like diabetes and obesity — the healthcare sector will invest almost $410 billion in IoT devices, software, and services in 2022.
So what does EQT Ventures look for when approaching healthtech investments? We believe there are four key areas at the heart of healthtech. These areas will drive the healthcare data revolution and are core to our healthtech investment thesis:
- Technology for data collection / wearable devices: Access to behavioural and sentiment data, as well as clinical and R&D data, will improve how we treat and deal with medical issues. Faster, more accurate sensors that are more widely available. People all over the world already use wearable sensors to monitor physical activity, sleep patterns, calorie consumption and more. According to analyst house IDC, vendors will ship a total of 125.5 million wearable devices this year, which is a 20.4% increase from the 104.3 million units shipped last year. This is an exciting new frontier that will not only have a huge impact on patient care and engagement
- Data streaming and computation technologies: Technology that allows us to shift, process and perform computations on data faster and in greater volumes than ever before. New data streaming and computation technologies will render the familiar databases we’ve grown up on, obsolete
- Artificial intelligence: Having access to a huge pool of data is useless unless you can make sense of it. AI now enables us to understand, analyze and model data faster and more accurately than ever before
- Technology in practice: Technology that allows us to use information surfaced by AI in new ways to transform both complex and routine tasks across every part of our daily work and home lives
Often the businesses that the EQT Ventures fund invests in are leveraging or creating advances in all four of these areas simultaneously. Aifloo, the newest addition to EQT Ventures’ healthtech portfolio companies, is evidence of this. The company’s e-health services brings together Aifloo’s smart, motion-sensitive wristband and real-time AI to enable elderly people to live independently for longer. Then we also have:
- MinDoktor: The team at Min Doktor aim to use technology to make doctors more accessible. The company’s offering is the future of digital primary healthcare and patients can get qualified doctors’ advice, remittances and prescriptions through asynchronous patient-doctor communication. MD’s doctors can make a diagnosis within minutes via the app
- Mytomorrows: The company has built a platform for doctors and patients seeking information about and access to investigational drugs, as well as drugs that have been approved by regulators in other countries. myTomorrows also offers drug developers a solution for global early access programs, make their drugs accessible to those suffering from life threatening or debilitating diseases whilst gathering data.
- uMotif: One of my personal investments, uMotif is a patient data capture platform that gathers high quality clinical research data from patients through tools such as wearables
Investment in healthcare is in EQT Ventures’ heritage thanks to the experience and investments that have been made across the broader EQT platform. EQT has a second-to-none investment track record with more than $15 billion deployed and 16 exits in the healthcare sector. EQT has been working across the value chain since 2011, building an in-depth understanding of the healthcare sector and a global network of industrial advisors. These advisors and their expertise in healthcare cannot only be called upon by the EQT Ventures team but also the portfolio companies, providing access to a number of key industry players.
Whether you’re looking to simply improve your sleep or live an infinite digital life, technology and data are defining the the future of healthcare.