A term most often used to describe any technology-enabled solution for out of hospital/general practice healthcare, there’s been a huge global demand for healthtech solutions throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Remote digital health interventions provide a way to stick to social distancing guidance whilst treating and monitoring both COVID-19 and other illnesses.
The UK is driving forward growth in the global healthtech sector, with London being a leading hub within the industry. In fact, across the United Kingdom and the United States, over $51.3b in funding was raised for the healthtech sector in 2021 (up 280% since 2016). It has seen rapid transformation in recent years, where it used to be considered somewhat of a laggard. Startups, in particular, are now a source of major health innovation, and equity investment into these businesses is a key driver of innovation in the healthcare industry.
Here, we’ll explore what healthtech is exactly and how it could impact our healthcare systems of the future. We’ll also look at the state of the health technology ecosystem in the UK, and the country’s 20 top healthtech companies, ranked in order of investment raised to date.
What is healthtech and how does it differ from medtech?
A helpful definition of healthtech is “the use of technology (databases, applications, mobiles, wearables) to improve the delivery, payment, and/or consumption of care, with the ability to increase the development and commercialisation of medicinal products.” To put it simply, healthtech includes software, data, and other tech-enabled solutions that support healthcare opportunities.
While medical technology (or medtech) solutions tend to enhance in-hospital diagnostics, such as innovative medical devices, healthtech tends to refer to applications that are focused on improving personal and preventative care at home. Medtech products also generally require more regulatory approval than healthtech products before entering the market. You can learn more about the UK’s top medtech companies and their investors here.
What does the UK healthtech market look like in 2022?
The biggest factor to influence health technology in the UK has undoubtedly been the post-pandemic drive towards more efficient and flexible healthcare solutions. From at-home diagnosis support to tailored wellness programs, the demand for tech to do more for our physical and mental health needs, particularly when we’re unable to access on-site healthcare, is clear. And investors know it too, as venture capital investment into UK healthtech has continued to climb steadily throughout 2021, following a record high in 2019 (thanks in part to healthtech provider and unicorn company Babylon’s £454m raise that year).
Government funding has also accelerated growth in the healthtech sector as of late. In 2020, the UK Government provided £32m (across six initiatives) as part of their roadmap to ensure the country remains at the forefront of life sciences research and development. Funding was awarded to ventures including InlightenUs, Edinburgh Napier University’s hearing aid project COG-MHEAR, Heriot-Watt University’s laser solution firm u-care, and a Non-Invasive Single Neuron Electrical Monitoring project led by Imperial College London.
The UK’s Top Healthtech Startup & Scaleup Companies 2022
Total funds raised: £121m
Based in London, Huma has created digital “hospital from home” technology that allows hospitals to manage health records and clinicians to share patient data through a secure mobile platform. Huma has also created a decentralised clinical trial platform which uses real-time health data to improve the patient experience.
The healthtech company has undergone eight funding rounds so far, totalling over £121m. Its backers include Bayer, HAT Technology & Innovation Fund, Hitachi Ventures, Nexus Investments (Scale Up Fund), Samsung NEXT, Sony Innovation Fund and Unilever Ventures.
Huma has featured on numerous high-growth lists, including the Top 100 – Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses and Deloitte Fast 50. It has also attended three accelerator programmes: Sport Tech Hub, Healthbox London, and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, which aims to speed up the adoption of healthtech in the NHS.
Total funds raised: £114m
Cera is a digital-first healthcare company that delivers at-home nursing, repeat prescriptions, and telemedicine services to pensioners, over the phone or through its website. The healthtech and care delivery company also offers personal services like shopping. Cera partners with the NHS and a large number of local authorities, and has been recognised on high-growth rankings such as the Deloitte Fast 50 and Startups 100.
Cera has raised a total of £114m since it was founded in 2015 across nine funding rounds, including a £14m unannounced deal in December 2021, which valued the company at an estimated £745m (according to Beauhurst calculations), marking its entrance into the UK unicorn club. The company’s backers include Auriens, Credo Ventures, Guinness Asset Management, Kairos Ventures, Kima Ventures and Yabeo.
*Disclaimer: Cera shares significant shareholders with Beauhurst.
Total funds raised: £67.2m
Spun-out of Imperial College London’s Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, DnaNudge develops a wearable healthtech solution that allows users to make healthier food choices, tailored to their DNA profiles. Users wear watches that guide them through decisions whilst out shopping, helping them to avoid foods linked to conditions they may be prone to, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
On top of this, DnaNudge has also developed the first direct-to-consumer genetic tests that can be performed on the spot rather than sent to a lab. These include lab-free PCR tests which are now being rolled out by the NHS amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
DnaNudge has mostly raised funds from undisclosed investors and angels, alongside UAE-based fund Ventura Capital. The health technology company has secured £67m worth of investment to date, across seven fundraisings.
Total funds raised: £58.0m
Focusing on web-based software, London-based Lumeon supports medical practitioners to track the progress of their patients and stay on top of administrative tasks. Aiming to accelerate patient care at scale, whilst ensuring quality and safety, Lumeon’s platform enables remote healthcare journeys. These engage out of hospital patients and care teams, such as through automating tasks and coordinating operations, and thus create new capacity and increased patient flow.
Lumeon has attended both the PwC Scale Programmes accelerator and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator. The healthtech company has raised £58m in funding so far, in seven rounds. Its backers include Amadeus Capital Partners, Archimedia, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Endeavour Vision, Gilde Healthcare Partners, IPF Partners, MTIP and Optum Ventures.
Total funds raised: £47.0m
Unmind develops a mobile app that’s been designed to optimise mental health within the workplace. Its app allows employees to measure, understand and improve their mental health through seven key areas—fulfilment, coping, calmness, happiness, connection, health and sleep. It then encourages employers to drive change, by accessing aggregated and anonymised employee mental health insights.
On top of its app, Unmind offers additional services, such as digital courses, meditation sessions and healthy food recipes. The healthtech company already partners with the NHS, Sainsburys, Gymshark and Virgin Media.
Unmind has secured over £47m in investment, across five fundraisings. It has attended the Upscale, NEF+ and Mayor’s International Business Programme accelerators, and ranked on the London Tech 50 high-growth list in both 2019 and 2020. The company’s investors include EQT Ventures, Felix Capital, Project A Ventures, Sapphire Ventures and True Ventures.
Total funds raised: £42.2m
Numan is a leading brand in men’s health and wellness. Operating on a subscription model, the company has developed a platform for men to access health services, medicines and advice from medical professionals at home.
Founded by London-based entrepreneur Sokratis Papafloratos, Numan aims to give men control over their health, and to remove the taboo surrounding issues such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss. The healthtech company acquired Swedish software venture Vi-Health in March 2021.
Numan’s list of investors include Anthemis, Colle Capital, Hanwha Investment, Novator Partners, VNV Global and White Star Capital. It’s secured three fundraisings so far, totalling over £42m, and featured on the Startups 100 high-growth list in 2021.
Total funds raised: £36.7m
accuRx provides communication-enhancing software that’s designed to improve the relationship between healthcare providers and patients. An NHS-approved supplier, accuRx’s products include COVID-19 vaccine booking software, text and photo response, and patient triage. Its secondary care products range from messaging and video consultation software to secure digital document solutions. The healthtech company is also working to build additional features to make sharing secure information easier across the NHS.
Based in London, accuRx has attended four accelerator programmes: Entrepreneur First, IMAGINE IF!, Upscale and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator. Having raised over £36m in investment, across five rounds, the company has also featured in BusinessCloud’s HealthTech 50 high-growth list, and the London Tech 50. Its backers include Atomico, British Patient Capital, Encore Capital, Lakestar, Latitude Ventures, and LocalGlobe.
Total funds raised: £33.7m
As a self-care app with medical approval, Healthily (also known as Your MD) was created to make medical knowledge accessible in everyday life through artificial intelligence. The mobile app allows users to diagnose their health issues by inputting data about their symptoms and demographics. This includes everything from coronavirus to sleep issues. It then automatically advises on next steps without retaining any data.
Healthily has been featured in the high-growth lists Start-Up 101 and Startups 100, and secured three funding rounds to date, raising over £33m in total. The company’s backers include Orkla Venture, Reckitt Benckiser and Smedvig Capital, alongside angel investors.
Total funds raised: £28.0m
An academic spinout from the University of Oxford, Oxehealth develops software for monitoring patient health using a webcam. It began as a mental health solution—nurses were seeking to deliver better care and mental health services to their patients and the company’s software allowed them to keep a closer eye on vital signs and behaviour through video. The service is now used by more than one in three mental health trusts in England, and across care homes, prisons and nursing facilities.
Founded in 2012, Oxehealth has since attended the NHS Innovation Accelerator, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, and Upscale programme. It has also featured on the Top 100 – Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses high-growth list. The healthtech company has secured over £28m in investment, across 10 fundraisings, with investors including IP Group and ORA Capital Partners.
Total funds raised: £26.5m
Zava, formerly known as DrEd, operates an online diagnostic and prescription service that is designed to replace GP appointments. Patients simply fill in a medical questionnaire and wait to be matched up with a GMC registered doctor for review. If tests are needed, they are posted out to be completed by the patient at home.
The healthtech company’s platform improves both the accessibility and efficiency of treatment. It is currently operating in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland.
Zava has featured in BusinessCloud’s HealthTech 50 high-growth list and secured over £26m, across four fundraisings. The company’s backers include HPE Growth Capital, alongside a number of undisclosed investors.
Total funds raised: £24.4m
Based in Manchester, Evergreen Life develops an app that incorporates both wellness tracking features and GP services. Users can book appointments, get repeat prescriptions delivered and gain advanced insights into their health.
Evergreen Life also allows users to record their health data alongside their GP records so that all information is in one place. This means that they can then also control who they share the information with through its secure platform.
Evergreen Life has raised £24m in investment so far, across six funding rounds. It also recently acquired Salvie Ltd, founders of the online consultation system askmyG, in November 2021.
Total funds raised: £24.3m
LabGenius uses technology including robotic automation, synthetic biology and advanced machine learning to explore protein therapies—an area that has historically been difficult to uncover. Through analysis of biological materials, its novel DNA library synthesis technology will likely play a key role in the next generation of drug discovery.
Founded in 2012 and based in London, the healthtech company has attended both the Upscale and Bio-start accelerator programmes. Its investors include Acequia Capital, Air Street Capital, Atomico, Backed VC, Beast Ventures, Kindred Capital VC, Lux Capital, Obvious Ventures and Inovia Capital. LabGenius has secured £24m in investment to date, across five fundraisings.
Total funds raised: £18.7m
Lantum is a London-based healthtech company with a mission to save the NHS £1b in staffing costs. Its workforce management platform connects GPs searching for temporary work with practices that have vacancies. Lantum’s software offers a rota tool, clinician network and staff bank that allow for optimised cost and time efficiency.
As well as raising over £18m, across eight fundraisings, Lantum has been featured on both the BusinessCloud HealthTech 50 and Mishcon The Leap high-growth lists. Its backers include BGF, Beringea, Piton Capital, Playfair Capital, QVentures and Samos Investments. The company has also attended four accelerators, including the Startup Leadership Program and NHS Innovation Accelerator.
Total funds raised: £18.3m
London-based Birdie are the creators of an online tool and mobile app that allows users to schedule and manage at-home care services for the elderly. Designed to improve visibility over healthcare solutions and to facilitate older adults living at home, it incorporates everything from regular transport booking software to medical deliveries. Conceived of as a complete homecare solution, Birdie’s healthtech software also includes 24/7 reports and customer support.
Birdie is backed by Index Ventures and Kamet Ventures (managed by AXA), as well as a number of undisclosed investors. Across three funding rounds, the company has hit over £18m in total investment. It has also attended four accelerator programmes, including Govstart and Upscale, and has been listed in Startups 100, BusinessCloud HealthTech 50 and London Tech 50.
Total funds raised: £16.7m
For almost 10 years, Physitrack has been providing leading patient engagement solutions across hospitals and to injured athletes. Its mobile app and platform has digitised the process of recovery, allowing healthcare professionals to prescribe exercise programmes online.
As well as showing patients how to complete exercises with in-app video guides, healthcare professionals can also track their progress, to encourage adherence and improve patient outcomes. Physitrack’s software also includes a seamless telehealth consultation process, and the company even builds custom patient apps for those who want to tailor the patient engagement experience further.
Based in London, Physitrack was part of the first cohort in the DigitalHealth.London accelerator programme. It has raised over £16m in funding, across four rounds, with backers including Crown Ocean Capital.
Total funds raised: £14.8m
Togetherall has developed an online community platform on which users can post anonymously about their wellbeing concerns and gain advice from qualified counsellors. With peer-to-peer interactions at the foundation of the company’s healthcare technology, Togetherall is able to offer support around the clock and at scale.
Its platform also provides tools to measure wellbeing and online self-help courses. Costs are set low so as to make the platform accessible to as many users as possible. Togetherall also partners with a number of education facilities and workplaces, as well as the NHS.
Founded in 2007, Togetherall attended the Mayor’s International Business Programme accelerator. Its backers include FPE Capital, Impact Ventures UK (managed by LGT Venture Philanthropy) and Whittemore Collection Limited. The company has raised over £14m worth of funding so far, across five rounds.
Total funds raised: £14.5m
Graduate from the Serious Impact Cambridge accelerator, Machine Intelligence Garage and Applied AI growth programme, techspert.io is a healthtech startup based in Cambridge. It builds AI-driven indexing technology that uses machine learning to match up bioscience and healthcare projects with experts. Its platform is able to sort through over 100m experts, with data covering every country and language, and over 7m specialist areas.
In 2020, techspert.io featured in the 21toWatch high-growth list. It has also raised over £14m in investment to date, across five funding rounds. The company’s backers include Angel CoFund, BGF Growth Capital, Cambridge Angels, Nauta Capital, Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network and SyndicateRoom.
Total funds raised: £14.2m
Founded in 2012, uMotif provides an eClinical platform that is designed for patients (and their clinicians) who are recovering from surgery or suffering with long-term conditions. It allows patients to track targets that could benefit their recovery, such as quitting smoking, and to monitor their progress. uMotif also collects data that furthers healthcare research and is driving towards a decentralised approach to clinical studies.
The healthtech startup has attended the Mayor’s International Business Programme and been featured on the Tällt Disrupt 100 high-growth list. uMotif has raised over £14m in fundraisings to date, across five funding rounds, and its backers include AlbionVC and DNV GL.
Total funds raised: £13.6m
Thriva is a blood testing organisation that provides at-home tests for assessing things such as cholesterol levels, kidney function and liver function. Once tests are analysed, Thriva offers detailed insights and support, as well as GP advice. Designed as a subscription service, the health technology company aims to encourage regular testing and increased awareness of potential health issues.
Thriva was founded in 2015 and has since attended the Seedcamp, NEF+ and Upscale accelerator programmes. It has also featured in numerous high-growth lists, such as the BusinessCloud HealthTech 50 and Deloitte Fast 50. The company has secured five fundraisings to date, totalling over £13m in investment. Participating funds include 500 Startups, Guinness Asset Management, London Co-Investment Fund, Pembroke VCT, Seedcamp and Target Global.
Total funds raised: £13.4m
Medefer is a Care Quality Commission registered healthcare provider that works with the NHS to offer a virtual outpatient service. Medefer’s website allows patients to seek individual medical advice from consultants online. GP referrals are also managed online so that patients don’t have to wait for an in-person hospital appointment. This should lead to faster urgent referral times and more efficiently cleared waiting lists.
Founded in 2013, Medefer has since attended The Hatchery startup incubator, as well as the Seedcamp and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programmes. The company has raised over £13m worth of funding, across five rounds, with investors including Nickleby Capital and Seedcamp.
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