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Health Tech Kicks Off 2019 with $119M in Funding


Does the first Monday of the year signal what to expect from health-tech investments going forward?

health tech funding,digital health funding,health startup

After a historic funding blitz last year, health tech did not wait long to pump up its investment-securing power in 2019.

On the first Monday of the year, four health-tech companies announced a blistering $110 million in funding. With varying missions and lines of business, each outfit managed to lock down impressive sums of cash. And while leaders of each company likely hoped their financing rounds might illustrate the potential of their respective organization, today’s blast of funding news also sent another message: Health-tech excitement isn’t tapering off in 2019.

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What’s more, the different kinds of companies that landed big paydays spotlights the diversity of this sector and its potential. EarlySense, for instance, raised nearly $40 million to advance its analytics-driven continuous monitoring business, while 10x Genomics earned $35 million for its work in DNA sequencing technology.

Here’s a rundown of each health-tech company, their new investments and what it all means.

EarlySense, $39M

Based in Israel and Massachusetts, EarlySense secured this funding to advance its global expansion, in hopes of dominating a blossoming market spread across hospitals, nursing facilities and homes.

The company develops and sells contact-free continuous monitoring technologies, which use sensors and predictive analytics to detect signs of deterioration in patients. So far, EarlySense claims, its solutions have saved providers more than $100 million and helped prevent 3,000 deaths, 5,000 patient falls and 4,000 cardiac arrests.

Med-tech company and hospital bed maker Hill-Rom led the financing round announced today alongside Wells Fargo Strategic Capital. BlueRed Capital, Israel Innovation Fund, Argos Capital, Hotung Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and JK&B Venture Capital also contributed to the round.

“These are exciting times for EarlySense,” noted Ittai Harel, Pitango’s managing partner and EarlySense’s board chair. “The partnership with Hill-Rom is a natural fit to fuel the company’s vision of ‘an EarlySense sensor in ever bed.’”

10x Genomics, $35M

Fresh off an injection of $125 million in capital and credit, 10x Genomics opted to extend its Series D round, raking in another $35 million.

The genomic discovery company develops various sequencing products, and it recently bought two startups steeped in epigenetics and spatial genomics and expanded its domestic and foreign operations. The goal: develop new tech that helps healthcare better understand biology and disease, thus improving health.

“As a company, we’ve seen tremendous growth and expansion in the last year,” CEO and co-founder Serge Saxonov said in a statement. “Today’s funding announcement will allow us to continue with this momentum into 2019 as we scale 10x to become a company that impacts billions of lives around the world.”

Meritech Capital led the round, with help from Fidelity and Wells Fargo. The new financing brings 10x Genomics’ total capital raised to $243 million.

Exscientia, $26M

In its Series B round, this artificial intelligence (AI)-focused drug discovery company showed pharma 26 million reasons why it can’t ignore bleeding-edge tech. Exscientia plans to use its new capital to boost its pipeline and, ultimately, disrupt pharma. The only question is, will its algorithms and platform be able to pull it off?

In 2018, Exscientia said it “made considerable progress” that could yield real-world results in the next year or so. The company hopes to continue that work this year, with new in-house initiatives and collaborations with outside partners, extending its business into Asian markets.

Celgene, GT Healthcare Capital Partners and Evotec AG participated in the round.

“Through our partnership with Exscientia, we have seen firsthand evidence that they can deliver the most productive drug discovery engine in the industry,” Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, said in a statement.

Verato, $10M

Finally, Verato announced $10 million in new funding today to fuel its cloud-based master patient index and patient-matching solutions. The money is slated for one major endeavor: adoption of its tech throughout healthcare, according to the company.

Verato claims its solutions can help providers and other organizations connect health data to the proper patient, improving patient safety and saving money for clients. In 2018, that capability earned the company 20 new customers.

Bessemer Venture Partners and Columbia Capital led the Series C funding round, with contributions from Blue Heron Capital and California Health Care Foundation.

Will Health-Tech Funding Grow?

But what does a $110 million Monday really say about the near future of the health-tech market? It might not mean much if not for the tremendous wave of digital health investments that rocked 2018 and the seemingly endless series of gushing market forecasts for everything from AI for healthcare to mHealth. It’d be quite the challenge to find an expert with the evidence to argue that health-tech funding of almost any kind is about to cool off. Today’s significant amount of financing, then, might be an expression of what many health-tech insiders already know.

Or, of course, today’s funding stories could simply be a powerful burst of news after the holiday dregs.

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