Health Tech: Stealing the VC spotlight

You’re an emerging biotech company, healthcare start-up or medical device business. You believe in your vision and you’ve been talking to venture capitalists. But what keeps venture capitalists interested in continuing the conversation?

Paulo Simas, our chief business designer, hosted a panel on that subject as part of W2O’s annual Pre-Commerce Summit during South by Southwest in Austin. A key take-away from the panel was that venture capitalists, like many of our clients, are focused on how to make patient outcomes better and easier to attain.

“There is no greater time in the history of health and medicine than right now.”

Josh Makower, general partner at New Enterprise Associates, one of the world’s largest healthcare venture capital firms, and a Pre-Commerce panelist thinks “there is no greater time in the history of health and medicine than right now” and that “health tech” is stealing the spotlight among venture capitalists.

Innovations in technology mean that healthcare companies must focus on creating a fuller experience and continued relationship with the consumer. The next frontier of healthcare may be a more integrative approach to patient care. For example, with regards to patient adherence: in addition to developing and manufacturing a drug, forward-thinking companies will make sure the drug is easy for patients to access and administer, and provide tools that make self-care easier. Apps that help patients manage their medications and methods for providers to seamlessly communicate with one another about a given treatment are getting venture capitalists’ attention.

Colin Foster, managing director of Twist Marketing and leader of W2O’s Austin office (a.k.a. Silicon Hills, home to the BrewLife Austin office and where more than 80 W2O employees are based), points out that healthcare companies need to show venture capitalists that they are able to drive down cost for all parties.

“The cost impact of staying on your medicine can be huge – the actual health outcomes improve drastically if you adhere to a drug correctly,” Colin says. The fact that 50 percent of prescriptions are not correctly adhered to underscores this need.

Let’s say this describes your company – you’re harnessing the power of technology to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and you’re a shoe-in for a meeting with a great venture capital firm. What else do you need to know?

“Venture capitalists want to hear that you have a clear risk mitigation plan, because every opportunity has plenty of risk,” Colin advises. “Be blunt and clear about the risk involved and how you’re ready to tackle it.”

You can view a recording of the full SXSW Pre-Commerce Summit here (the venture capital panel begins at 05:01).

Stephanie Collins
Stephanie Collins