Biotech and immunotherapy get all the press, but there’s more to healthcare than taking (expensive) leaps of faith on new tech. Startups also address administrative functions, personalized medicine, and proactive wellness in their approach to the health industry.
Two early-stage companies of note on our 2018 list both focus on diabetes, a chronic illness over 100 million americans have, or are at risk for, according to the CDC.
Sano, which scored a $6 million Series B from Fitbit in January 2018, is developing a wearable biometric (body measurements) sensor to help diabetics assess how their health choices impact glucose levels..
Founded by Ashwin Pushpala, the company has raised $20.7 million in total known funding. Previous investors in the startup include Intel Capital, True Ventures, First Round Capital, and Felicis Ventures, among others.
Another startup working in diabetes treatment is Virta. The startup was founded by Sami Inkinen, a former CEO and founder of real estate platform Trulia (acquired by Zillow). Since its founding in 2014, Virta has raised a known total of $82 million from Venrock, Caffeinated Capital, Paypal, and others. The startup’s most recent round was a $45M Series B by Venrock in April 2018.
Virta hopes to help diabetic and prediabetic individuals reverse their symptoms and eliminate the use of diabetic medication through its online reversal clinic. According to its site, the company supplies patients with medical equipment that monitors a patient’s diet and overall health. The patient then meets virtually with Virta clinicians to assess their biometrics. Sami told Crunchbase News in his Proust Goes Tech interview that his goal is to reverse diabetes in 100 million people by 2025.
Outside of diabetes is Helix, which spun out of the successful genomics company Illumina. The startup is hoping to “democratize DNA” with its genetic testing marketplace. In March 2018, DFJ Growth, along with five other investors—including Kleiner Perkins, Warburg Pincus, and medical group Mayo Clinic—bet $200 million on the company in March, bringing its aggregate funding to $320 million.
According to Wired, the company differs from traditional genomics testing companies like 23andMe and Ancestry in that a single donation of DNA opens up a marketplace of testing options. Rather than paying anywhere from $250 to $1000 dollars on genetic sequencing, the company charges customers $80 dollars for an initial donation. From that initial charge, customers can choose and pay for different types of tests from Helix’s marketplace.
The other companies listed range from a New York City-based clothing brand aiming to disrupt the traditional medical scrubs industry to a Montreal-based telemedicine startup digitally connecting patients with doctors. The categorical variety of these startups speaks to the the incredible amount of potential to reshape a diverse, complex, and increasingly accessible and personalized industry.
|Company Name||Description||Stage||Amount Raised||Lead Investor(s)|
|Helix||Helix is a health company that focuses on personal genomics and connects people with insights into their own DNA.||Series B||$200M||DFJ Growth|
|FIGS||FIGS creates and designs high quality medical apparel.||Series B||$65M||Tulco|
|Virta||Virta delivers a clinically-proven treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases||Series B||$45M||Venrock|
|Medopad||Medopad is a British healthcare technology company enabling connected care.||Series A||$28M||NWS Holdings|
|LetsGetChecked||LetsGetChecked allows customers to access laboratory testing from the privacy of home.||Series A||$12M||Optum Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners|
|Nomad Health||Nomad is the first full-service marketplace for healthcare jobs.||Series B||$12M||Polaris Partners|
|Dialogue||Connect directly with a healthcare professional.||Series A||$12M||White Star Capital|
|Parsley Health||Parsley Health is redesigning primary care by integrating the latest in medical testing, technology and nutrition research.||Series A||$10M||FirstMark|
|Sano||Sano is building a small, wearable sensor that can capture and transmit blood chemistry data continuously to virtually any device.||Series B||$6M||Fitbit|
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias
Editorial Update: A previous version of this table indicated that Medopad is a Series B startup. It has since been updated.