Health 2.0: At $4.75B, digital health funding was up, not down, in 2015

By Jonah Comstock
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Health 2.0's digital health funding numbers for 2015 are out and they're right in the middle of totals released so far, at $4.75 billion. Rock Health had pinned the number at $4.3 billion and both CB Insights and StartUp Health had pegged it at $5.8 billion. As usual, this relates to a range of different definitions of just what constitutes digital health. 

But not only do the numbers differ, they tell different stories about how digital health is doing relative to last year: StartUp Health has it dropping $1.2 billion, Rock Health has it holding steady, and Health 2.0 actually records a slight increase, from $4.6 billion in 2014.

Health 2.0 also helpfully breaks down the funding into categories of professional-facing companies, consumer-facing companies, patient-provider communication companies, and data, analytics, and exchange companies. In 2015, consumer-facing companies dwarfed the other categories with $2.96 billion in funding. Professional-facing companies had less than half that with $847 million, followed by data, analytics, and exchange with $556 million and patient-provider communication with $412 million.

Perhaps not surprisingly then, eight of the 10 biggest deals of the fourth quarter were consumer-facing companies per Health 2.0's definition. That includes the top two, insurance management company Collective Health with $81 million and Peloton, which makes tablet-connected stationary exercise bikes, with $75 million. The only professional-facing company in the top 10 was TigerText and evariant was the only data-analytics-exchange company. (Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to these deals as the biggest of the year instead of the biggest in Q4.)

“Several big raises are in the fitness and health insurance realms," Health 2.0 writes. "Peloton’s exercise bikes that stream fitness classes and Athos’ tech-enabled workout gear both hack lucrative athletic markets. Collective Health’s and Clover Health’s respectable rounds are a nod to the needed disruption in employer-based health insurance. Lyra Health also hopes to address payers and providers with its comprehensive mental health offering.”

Health 2.0 said the biggest trends of Q4 2015 were house call companies raising money, a renewed interest in FDA clearance from company's shaken by the Theranos debacle, more partnerships with non-healthcare companies like PBS Kids and Uber, and more innovation programs launching within hospitals.