Last Thursday, we hosted our first meetup of this year, “Investor Talks”, where we heard the perspectives of three health tech investors.
The crowd consisted of medical professionals, preventive health entrepreneurs, and engineers and they were eager to hear what investors were thinking about and how they envisioned the next ten years of healthcare investing.
Below is a quick recap of our event.
BetterDoctor’s CEO Ari Tulla (@umbar), was joined by:
- Yizhen Dong (@yizhend) from Eleven Two Capital
- Chris Farmer (@chriswfarmer) from SignalFire
- Zal Bilimoria (@zalzally) from Refactor Capital
To invest or not to invest in healthcare?
One thing the investors in our panel made clear was that if you invest in health care, you must be prepared to play the long game. The last two years have been challenging for entrepreneurs in healthcare. In 2015, a lot of money poured into the marketplace. That changed in early 2016, however. VC money was harder to come by for a number of reasons including high regulatory uncertainty.
“If there is a high regulatory barrier between you and your end user, that is something that must be factored in,” said Chris Farmer from SignalFire. It is clear that to innovate in healthcare, as a heavily regulated industry, there must be open conversations with stakeholders in technology, government, and providers.
Companies must work alongside regulations to help the whole system evolve. The truth is that healthcare has many problems to solve and innovation solutions can make the world of a difference. Do not let regulation deter you from innovating in healthcare. Another point discussed at our event was about how healthcare companies are highly pressured to reduce costs.
Yizhen noted that investors have to be able to look beyond this constant pressure and solve the root of what is making healthcare in America more expensive.
In our current healthcare system, we see costs 100% higher than other developed countries, yet our average lifespan is still 10% lower. Tech entrepreneurs have a lot of room to innovate and improve the efficiency of the healthcare space.
How does a healthcare startup get VCs attention?
Our speakers recommended having a clear solution that could scale. None of our speaker VCs concentrated purely on health and they all agreed that there’s general interest to see who can bend the healthcare cost curve. Despite a heavy regulatory environment — which affects how fast investors can expect to see results — there is a lot of attention on startups that can coexist and thrive in such an environment.
“The healthcare industry is massive. Some happen more quickly depending on regulation constraints. You have to be careful”, Chris pointed out.
What comes next in healthcare investing?
The future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — such as the pricing and reimbursements — will be an important factor to consider when looking forward. Since the implementation of the ACA, or Obamacare, there have been a lot of new startups created and affected by the changes in healthcare.
Additionally, we will start to see genomics and the on-demand economy as rising trends that will possibly receive an uptick in investment dollars. As our CEO Ari brought up, a lot of people working in healthcare work in the industry for very intrinsic and personal experience reasons.
For Ari, finding the right doctor is part of the story of how BetterDoctor came to be. From an investor point of view, Zal concluded that “we’re building products to reduce two things: costs and mistakes.” Look out for new healthcare companies that are making these two things possible for consumers.
Want to learn more?
Check out the slides about our API that let’s you access doctor data here.
If you’re a developer or data scientist, check out more about our data validation and API here and sign up for our API to immediately access great healthcare provider data. If you have any questions, please be in touch!
What is Healthcare Data and API meetup?
The meetup series powered by BetterDoctor gathers _data scientists, engineers, product managers, and anyone else interested in applications of data science to problems in the healthcare space.
With 5-6 meetups per year, each event focuses on a different topic, from more technical data science meetups to generally healthcare related ones. Join our meetup group to stay posted on the upcoming events!