Digital health startups raised record $11.5B in 2017, StartUp Health reports

By Laura Lovett
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Digital health startups raised an all-time high of $11.5 billion in 2017, topping 2016’s record of $8 billion, according to the StartUp Health Insights .

“Looking beyond the numbers provides insight into a sector transitioning to a more mature phase,” the authors of the report wrote. “Deal activity at the early stage has fueled a startup wave and a maturing market with more later-stage opportunities is attracting new investment globally. 2018 is poised to be a dynamic year in terms of digital health funding activity, M&A and breakout successes, and experimentation paving the way for new advancements.”

A few very large deals notably made up a lot of the year's total. For instance, connected exercise bike company Peloton's $325 million raise was one of the largest, as was early cancer detection company Grail's staggering $914 million.

Outcome Health's $600 million fund raise also contributed to the total, though Startup Health chose not to highlight it as a top deal because of recent controversies surrounding the company.

The report notes that there has been a rise in deals across the board, ranging from smaller deals in the $1 million up to $100 million. The overall deal median has increased by 27 percent since 2016. However, the average deal in the smaller stages has decreased slightly. 

Early stage deals made up 65 percent of the total deal activity. Series A funding increased its portion for the third year in a row making up 36 percent of the total funding. Seed funding has been in a decline since 2015 but still makes up 29 percent of the total funding. Series D funding increased from 2 percent in 2016 to 4 percent in 2017. 

Series B investments saw an increase in the average funding amount, which now have a median of $15 million, up 17.5 percent from last year. 

International hubs are beginning to emerge, according to the report. Outside of US cities, Beijing's digital health companies raised the most money with $647 million. Beijing had 15 deals in 2017, ranking it fourth in the global deals category. London came in first in the deals category with 22 dealsm, although the city's dealmakers only pulled in $189 million.

Israel emerged as one of the leaders in both money and deals. Haifa companies raised $208 million in funding but only had three deals. To the south, Tel Aviv landed 17 deals and $146 million in funding. Toronto, Shanghai, Paris, and Bengaluru in India all raised over $100 million. 

Meanwhile in the United States, the Bay Area continues to rake in the most funding money by far, as its companies raised $3.5 billion this year. The Bay Area also leads the nation in the number of deals with 126. New York, which came in second for both money and number of deals, raised a total of $1 billion and had 63 deals. Boston was ranked third in deals with 29 in total and $651 million in funding, which is just behind Chicago’s $776 million in funding. Chicago came in forth for the number of deals, with 20 — just behind Los Angeles, which had 21 deals but only $308 million in funding. 

The number of investors is also growing. In 2017 the number of worldwide investors increased by 37 percent from the previous year, with 1,203 participating. The most active investors of 2017 were Khosla Ventures with 10 deals and GE Ventures, Founders Fund, Sequoia, and Combinator, with nine deals each.

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