Is health tech set to take FinTech's crown?
The FinTech sector is reaching a peak with health tech set to take over as the darling of the UK investor community.
That is the view of Dr. James Somauroo, founding partner of HS, an accelerator which helps health-focused technology start-ups scale internationally.
In 2017 a record-breaking £1.34 billion was invested into FinTech. However £17bn has been invested into health tech innovation over the past seven years while a recent report from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy predicts 50 per cent growth in ‘medtech’ globally by 2025.
HS recently selected 13 businesses in its first cohort after receiving more than 1,100 applications.
“It’s been hard to look past the headline-grabbing FinTech sector in recent years when it comes to investment and innovation; but, as government has increasingly thrown its weight behind FinTech, investment in it could soon mature and plateau,” Dr. Somauroo told BusinessCloud.
“Investors will be looking for a new ‘next big thing’ - and health tech is in prime position. Conversations I’m having with investors in the UK and beyond suggest the shift has been noticed - interest in health tech is significant, and growing.”
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Dr. Somauroo formerly directed the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme, which selected the best digital health businesses and drove them into the NHS. He also has five years of clinical experience as a junior doctor and anaesthetist.
As well as growth and investment advice, HS provides access to invaluable networks including patient groups and clinicians plus partners such as the Department of International Trade.
Its first wave of start-ups offer products for amputees and people living with dementia alongside a variety of technologies. The full list of companies is at the bottom of this article.
“Entrepreneurs are increasingly avoiding the slow-moving cycle of relying on the NHS to scale-up their start-up,” said Dr. Somauroo. “Instead, they’re building innovative solutions to global healthcare challenges – exploring markets outside the UK and scaling up as a way of more easily selling into the NHS, as opposed to the other way round.
“This could be a game-changing blueprint that sees private sector start-ups power a public healthcare revolution, and solve some of our NHS’ long-running problems in the process.”
We’re on a nationwide quest to find 101 FinTech Disrupters for an upcoming list in the next edition of our magazine
Dr. Somauroo says that breaking into healthcare has always been a daunting prospect, with high barriers to entry and the constant controversy and press speculation surrounding the NHS.
However he says that emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and nanorobotics will radically change the way we manage our health – and that health tech could become the new “poster child for UK tech”.
He added: “The public sector can’t do it alone. We need to cast the net far and wide for talent, looking beyond clinicians and the NHS.
“We saw first-hand how many exceptional entrepreneurs are out there tackling these global healthcare problems when we launched the HS accelerator this year. We also need to work harder at collectively banging the drum for health tech.”
- Biogeneration Technologies – Uses biomaterials to heal damaged parts of the body
- QDoctor – Platform enables GP appointments to be conducted via video calls
- i-rehab – Provides robotic limbs for amputees
- Sermaurei – Uses natural language processing so clinicians can make notes by voice
- XenBot – Provides a chatbot service that helps consumers achieve their career and life goals
- RiselQ – An artificial intelligence bot designed to help people living with dementia
- Healthchain – Ablockchain service provider that connects healthcare researchers with patient data
- Feebris – Uses machine learning to read and present health data from devices, such as wearables, to patients
- Vesalian – Offers in-depth insight into the medical risk for patients
- FitXR – Uses AR and VR devices to motivate people to exercise
- Orbiject – Information platform that offers guidance on how to administer injected medication
- MRI.AI – Company relies on algorithms to judge MRI scans
- Respond – Uses computer vision to identify early dementia symptoms