Healthcare has lagged other industries in its adoption of consumer technologies and experiences. But cost pressures, consumer expectations, and the COVID-19 pandemic have combined to accelerate healthcare consumerization. Slick design and digital technologies are helping patients navigate complex care ecosystems and bringing the convenience of home grocery delivery and cab-hailing to medical testing, telehealth services, and digital therapeutics.
Investors who seek opportunities in emerging consumer healthtech can find them in the venture capital markets. PitchBook, a Morningstar company that publishes tools and data to analyze both private and public markets, tracks healthtech VC activity across five segments: biometric wearables and devices, clinical care, dietary supplements, mobile and digital health, and personalized medicine and testing. PitchBook counted 537 VC deals in 2021, worth $18.3 billion. The overall market for healthtech will grow to over $900 billion by 2026, up from $400 billion in 2021, according to PitchBook’s forecast.
MOBILE AND DIGITAL HEALTH
One legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boom in mobile and digital health startups. Nearly half of U.S. employers added or augmented wellness programs during the pandemic, as both employers and workers brought a greater focus to mental health and wellness. Increased remote work and employee preference for digital experiences have spurred demand for mobile and digital health offerings. The market will grow to $60.2 billion by 2026, forecasts PitchBook, up from $23 billion in 2021.
DIGITAL HEALTH SEGMENTS
PitchBook identifies three mobile and digital health subsegments. Personal health tools are consumer applications for monitoring and managing sleep, nutrition, menstrual cycles, and other areas of personal health. Fitness applications provide on-demand classes and gym access. Behavior modification tools apply behavioral science and meditation techniques to reduce stress, encourage healthy behaviors, and improve brain function such as memory, attention, communication, and ability to learn.
DIGITAL HEALTH COMPANIES
Top mobile and digital health VC-backed startups include BetterUp (coaching), Cult.Fit (fitness), Found (weight loss), Quartet (mental healthcare), and Brightside Health (mental healthcare). Between them, these five companies raised $695 million in venture capital in 2021, according to PitchBook.