Our Investment in uMed

TL;DR uMed provides the missing piece to unlock the huge value in healthcare data — scalable, repeatable, compliant patient engagement.

Their solution is a win-win-win: patients get access to the latest clinical research, trials and therapies to improve health outcomes; healthcare providers are empowered to offer a better service to their patients with minimum time investment; and pharma/researchers can identify and engage with patient cohorts (pre, post or as part of a trial) in a matter of clicks and leverage electronic health records to deliver rapid, cost efficient studies across large patient populations.

How it all started

I first met Matt in January 2019 (thanks to Portfolio Ventures for the referral).

Matt Wilson (CEO) and Chris Broderick (CTO)

Before we even started talking about the business, I was intrigued by his background — ex marine, ex clinician, second time founder.

He’d been on active service caring for soldiers, worked as a hospital doctor in the NHS and learned a lot from the failure of his first startup.

Whilst he enjoyed his work as a doctor, he wanted to have a bigger impact than a clinical role allowed, beyond the one-to-one patient relationship.

It was the authenticity of Matt’s story, the fact he was so driven to make a positive impact in the world and the passion for what he was doing that lead to us taking a really close look at the company.

Getting into the details

I recall our second and third meeting well.

Matt spread out white papers and systems architecture diagrams like a military general planning a ground offensive.

He walked us through all the details and the complexities, bringing in Chris, the CTO, as necessary.

During this process we learned a lot and understood the potential for uMed — it’s not just a win-win, but a win-win-win!

  • Patients get access to the latest clinical research, trials and therapies to improve health outcomes
  • Healthcare providers are empowered to offer a better service to their patients with a minimum time investment
  • Pharma/researchers can identify and engage with patient cohorts (pre, post or as part of a trial) in a matter of clicks and leverage electronic health records to deliver rapid, cost efficient studies across large patient populations

Why we did the deal

It took us a few meetings to really understand the problems uMed was solving and the uniqueness of their solution. Once we got it, we had to be involved.

There is a lot we were impressed with, but the key elements were:

  • The founders: Matt (CEO) I’ve already mentioned — his vision, passion and ability to execute were clear. Chris (CTO) brings deep domain expertise and technical prowess from his time as CEO of a clinicial trials management software company he built to a successful exit. They are a formidable pair, yet incredibly humble (and will be blushing now☺️)
  • The board: for a very early stage business, Matt and Chris had attracted a stellar board of healthcare industry experts. Once we joined the board, we knew we’d have a great blend of industry and financing/growth expertise.
  • The patient acquisition model: I make no secret of the fact I don’t like B2C/D2C models. Acquiring patients one by one to take part in clinical research/trials would take hundreds of millions of dollars. uMed’s B2B2C acquisition model onboards very large patient populations at a fraction of the cost.
  • The data advantage: for pharma/researchers, self reported patient data is not sufficient to identify and build patient cohorts. uMed’s approach of working in partnership with healthcare providers enables access to rich electronic health record (EHR) data. This data contains all the attributes needed for successful patient identification and engagement.
  • The platform: a quick walk through of the platform brought the whole story to life — patient identification and engagement in clicks and days vs calls, emails, spreadsheets and years. It was also built from the ground up to be secure and exceed the requirements of international data protection legislation.
An early version of the uMed platform

Having had friends and relatives who have benefited from clinical trials (including one whose life was extended by several years), we also loved the fact that uMed solves a major inequality in our society, making access to the latest drugs and therapies based on need, not serendipity or who you know.

Reflections after closing

Since closing, Matt, Chris and the team have been executing relentlessly:

  • The available patient population today is ~500,000 and is on track to hit >2,000,000 by year end
  • The company has signed a partnership agreement with EMIS, a leading EHR provider, to integrate into their new analytics platform and give access to a further 35,000,000 patients
  • Discussions are moving quickly in the UK and the US with healthcare providers, academic institutions and big pharma companies

As the patient population grows, we are excited to see how use cases for the platform develop even beyond what we first imagined.

Final thoughts

The potential for healthcare data to transform the way we deliver new drugs and therapies and treat patients has been widely documented.

uMed will play a key role in this transformation by providing the critical missing piece of the jigsaw — scalable, repeatable, compliant patient engagement.

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This publication features the articles written by the Playfair Capital team and friends.

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Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Managing Partner @PlayfairCapital | Class 25 @KauffmanFellows | Contributor @Forbes

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