Investors pump $100M into mobile health in Q1

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 17, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThis week MobiHealthNews published its first quarterly report of 2012 — Mobile Health: State of the Industry Q1 2012. This edition actually marks the tenth “State of the Industry” report that MobiHealthNews has published since we began distilling our coverage into reports at the end of 2009. As always, it includes a roundup of the most important mobile health moves made by healthcare providers, health plans, mobile operators, pharma companies and others during the past three months.

Each of our State of the Industry reports also includes a roundup of the investments venture capitalists made into mobile health startups and companies as well as a list of the deals and partnerships we reports on during the quarter.

In total MobiHealthNews reported on more than $100 million worth of investments into mobile health companies during the quarter. Here were four deals that we believed to be notable, in no particular order:

Misfit Wearables pockets $750,000 seed round

Misfit Wearables, a new startup from the co-founder of AgaMatrix, Sonny Vu scooped up $750,000 in funding from angel investors including Sridhar Iyengar,Vu’s co- founder at AgaMatrix and John Sculley, former head of Apple from 1983 to 1993.

Misfit Wearables describes itself as “inventors and makers of cloud-connected wearable sensing products for fitness and medical applications.” Given Vu’s previous success at AgaMatrix creating the first FDA cleared iPhone medical device, the Nugget, the industry is expecting great things.

TigerText raises $8.2 million

TigerText, which offers secure mobile messaging to healthcare companies, announced an $8.2 million round of funding led by Easton Capital and New Science Ventures. This second round of funding brings the company’s total backing to more than $10 million.

The Santa Monica-based company’s flagship product, TigerText Pro for Business, enables HIPAA-compliant messaging between nurses, physicians, and other clinicians. More than 20 healthcare groups are using TigerText’s mobile messaging network today. The service runs on a number of mobile platforms, including Apple iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.

Physicians – like most everyone else – love text messaging, but sending health data via these unsecure messages is not HIPAA-compliant. Healthcare technology vendors that develop secure messaging platforms that are as easy and convenient to use as SMS are set to do well over the next few years. With this new round of funding, TigerText may be among them.

Glooko scoops up $3.5 million

Glooko, which offers a simple glucose monitoring logbook app and a cable that connects meters to iPhones, raised $3.5 million in its first round of funding, which was led by The Social+Capital Partnership, and included return backers Bill Campbell, Vint Cerf, Judy Estrin and Andy Hertzfeld, Venky Harinarayan, Russell Hirsch and Xtreme Labs.

Currently, Glooko offers just two simple products: A cable that connects seven of the more popular blood glucose meters to the iPhone and a free, simple companion iPhone logbook app that stores readings. Glooko has solved a simple connectivity problem but is moving slowly toward more regulated products: Developing apps that offered trend analysis or coaching would require FDA clearance and requisite quality assurance work. The company’s cable costs about $40 and is available on Amazon.

Glooko’s founder, Anita Mathew, has mHealth bona fides – she used to lead a similar project at Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan.

Jiff secures $7.5 million

Palo Alto, California-based Jiff announced during the quarter that it had raised $7.5 million in its first round of funding. The investment round was led by Aeris Capital and included participation from Jiff’s founding seed investor Aberdare Ventures. The startup also announced that it had appointed former president and CEO of Robert Bosch Healthcare, Derek Newell, as its first CEO.

Too often patients forget what a doctor told them during an office visit by the time they have made it to their car, according to Jiff. The startup has taken that problem on with its first offering. Doctors give the same eight minute speech all day long to patients with similar issues, so Jiff wanted to help doctors create an app that captures that conversation and enables patients to revisit it as many times as they’d like. That saves time for doctors because it will hopefully lead to less follow-up calls and questions. Since the JiffPad app contains information assembled and narrated by the individual physicians themselves, Jiff is creating the type of app that physicians might be motivated to “prescribe” to patients at the end of an office visit.

For more, check out our Mobile Health: State of the Industry Q1 2012 report here.