It's been almost two years since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which changed the way we think about a lot of things, including healthcare. Millions of doctors, patients, and researchers have had to adapt to the new reality — often with the help from innovative tech companies.
The lockdowns have accelerated many changes in the healthtech industry, from the acceptance of telehealth to new ways of vaccine research and development. With that, along came the money: the largest 15 funding rounds we're looking at today amounted to some €2.3 billion.
Same as deeptech, healthtech is a broad industry that lacks a universal definition. In our overview, we're trying to focus on healthtech and medtech verticals — but purposely omitting companies mainly involved in traditional pharmaceutics, biotech, and therapeutics.
With that out of the way, let's embark on a European-wide journey through the top 15 European healthtech funding rounds raised in 2021.
🇨🇭 $80 million for better diet coaching
Zürich-based Oviva raised an $80 million Series C round in September, which had brought the total amount invested into the company to $115 million. The round was co-led by Sofina and Temasek.
Oviva's product is a platform that includes personal diet coaching via a mobile app and direct access to certified dieticians. As of the time of the announcement, the service had helped more than 200,000 people and struck partnership agreements with over 5,000 European health systems, insurers, and doctors.
🇬🇧 $80 million for psychedelic medicines
Another $80 million went into the war chest of Beckley Psytech in August. The Oxford-based startup is working on developing medicines that leverage psychedelic compounds to help people suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Beckley Psytech planned to use the money to further its work on several trials, including using low-dose psylocybin to treat SUNHA (a rare debilitating headache condition) and creating an intranasal formulation of 5-MeO-DMT.
🇩🇪 $90 million for a health assessment app
Ada Health, Berlin-based self-care healthtech startup, secured $90 million from Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of the pharma giant Bayer AG. The round, announced in May, was earmarked to be used to improve the Ada Health app and strengthen the company's position in the US.
Launched in 2016, the company was co-founded by a former NHS doctor Claire Novorol, whom we interviewed for Tech.eu Podcast earlier. Its AI-assisted app helps patients to understand their symptoms and identify conditions; simply speaking, it's a healthy alternative to googling your symptoms. More than 11 million people have used the app since it launched.
🇬🇧 $103 million for cell coding
Cambridge-based human cell coding company bit.bio landed $103 million in a Series B funding round in November. The capital injection came from Arch Ventures, Charles River Laboratories, Foresite Capital, Resilience, Metaplanet, Puhua Capital, and Tencent.
Bit.bio will use the funding to keep working on its cell coding technology named OPTi-OX. According to the company, it can enable "a new generation of cell therapies, providing the best human cells for research and drug discovery, and allowing the control of advanced synthetic biology circuits for biomanufacturing."
🇨🇭 $115 million for an insulin delivery system
Medical device startup CeQur headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland received $115 million in April, in a round led by Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital and Endeavour Vision.
The main product of the company is CeQur Simplicity, a wearable discreet insulin delivery system. Simply speaking, Simplicity is a thick patch that contains enough insulin for nine mealtime injections — which would normally last a person with diabetes for three days. The company is planning to make the device available for end users this year.
🇬🇧 $125 million for synthetic DNA
London-based Touchlight raised $125 million in September from Bridford Investments Limited and Novator Partners, with participation from existing investors. The company produces synthetic DNA for a wide range of uses, from genetic medicine development to new coronavirus vaccines.
Unlike the traditional method, where DNA is grown in a bioreactor, Touchlight produces it using enzymes. According to the company, this methord reduces the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance, and scales more easily.
🇬🇧 $130 million for hospital at home
In May, Leaps by Bayer and Hitachi Ventures led a $130 million Series C round for UK-based Huma. The startup has developed a digital platform, where patients can share their health-related updates — like heart rate, oxygen levels, or symptopms — with clinicians. The system works both for general healthcare and clinical trials.
At the time of the announcement, Huma employed 150 people and was actively growing its headcount. The company said it'd use the funding to further develop its products, and ultimately start an expansion into new geographies.
🇫🇷 $150 million for dental software
Paris-founded DentalMonitoring allegedly became the first dental software unicorn after raising a $150 million investment in October. Mérieux Equity Partners contributed $90 million, while the rest came from Vitruvian Partners.
As of the time of the announcement, more than 1 million people took photos of their oral cavities and sent them to their dentists via DentalMonitoring's platform. The company has developed a family of virtual dental practice solutions, from virtual consultations to AI-assisted remote monitoring.
🇩🇪 $157 million for psychedelics in mental health
Berlin-based Atai Life Sciences backed by Peter Thiel grabbed $157 million in March, just a few months after raising another $125 million in November 2020. It was rumoured at the time that the company was preparing for an IPO — which, as we know now, was indeed the case.
Like Beckley Psytech mentioned above, Atai is working on leveraging psychoactive compounds in treating different conditions, but focuses solely on mental health issues. Namely, it looks at using DMT, arketamine, and psilocybin in treating disorders including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
🇵🇹 $163 million for virtual physical therapy
Porto-founded SWORD Health announced in November that it had raised $163 million at a valuation close to $2 billion. The round, which came a few months after another $85 million cash injection, was led by Sapphire Ventures.
SWORD Health focuses on musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and connects its customers to a virtual physical therapist. In addition to that, every patient gets a tablet and motion sensors; as they perform prescribed motions and exercises, the "digital therapist" provides real-time feedback and tips.
🇫🇷 $165 million for enzyme-based DNA printing
Launched in 2014, Paris-based DNA Script got $165 million in funding in October to keep working on its DNA printer. Earlier last year, the company debuted its Syntax platform with a benchtop printer that uses enzymes and "genetic inks" to synthesize DNA.
DNA Script believes that printers like Syntax "have the potential to become as ubiquitous as sequencers and microscopes." It had also partnered with Moderna to work on development of on-demand vaccines and therapeutics.
🇫🇷 $180 million for medical research collaboration
Another Parisian startup, Owkin, secured $180 million in funding in November from Sanofi, a multinational pharma giant. Another Parisian startup, Owkin, secured $180 million in funding in November from Sanofi, a multinational pharma giant.
Owkin has created a global research network that employs federated learning, which is "a machine learning technique that trains an algorithm across multiple decentralised edge devices or servers holding local data samples, without exchanging them". In practice, this means that researchers across the world can make use of global patient datasets, while keeping sensitive information protected.
🇬🇧 $245 million for portable dialisys machines
UK-founded Quanta Dialisys technologies raised $245 million in June from hedge fund Glenview Capital and investment firm Novo Holdings. The company expected to use the funding to scale up manufacturing, sales, and customer service of its SC+ hemodialisys machine.
The device received an approvalo from the Food and Drug Administration in the US for use in medical facilities. Now Quanta is working on a clinical study to receive an at-home use approval.
🇸🇪 €262 million for remote doctor consultations
Swedish telehealth champion Kry (known as Livi in France and the UK) landed €262 million in April from CPP Investments and Fidelity Management & Research. The company grew significantly during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing a 100 percent year-over-year growth in 2020. In practice, that meant over 3 million doctor appointments had been booked through the platform through the year.
In addition to the traditional telehealth approach, where patients can be connected to their local GPs via an app, Kry runs its own clinics in some of its markets. It also partners with private healthcare providers and offers a range of tools for clinicians.
🇬🇧 $600 million for robotic keyhole surgery
In June, Cambridge-based CMR Surgical announced a behemoth funding round of $600 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and co-led by Ally Bridge Group. The deal valued the company at $3 billion.
CMR has entered the market of medical robots with Versius, a modular keyhole surgery system that's already being used in the UK, as well as elsewhere in Europe, India, the Middle East, and Australia. The company planned to use the latest round to accelerate its global rollout.
To learn more, check out an interview with CMR's CEO Per Vegard Nerseth we recorded soon after the funding announcement:
These were the 15 largest healthtech funding rounds in Europe in 2021. Check out the rest of our reflection series covering different parts of the European tech industry over here.