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Advancing our health systems: Backing healthtech with venture capital

29 Nov 2023 Reading time: 3 mins

In an era defined by unprecedented health challenges, our health systems have found themselves under immense pressure.

Can you imagine a world where accessing healthcare was a breeze?

Where you could speak to a medical professional immediately? Where you could get your prescription delivered the same day, to your door? Where the support and answers you needed were right in the palm of your hand?

This may seem unrealistic, but it’s already happening. More investment in healthtech is what can make it universal.

We’ve previously reaped the benefits of major developments in health technology. From the introduction of x-rays and MRI scans in the late 19th century, to genetic sequencing for disease research and treatment, and the more recent use of telemedicine and wearable devices.

But now, in our densely populated modern world, healthtech has new challenges to solve. Facilitating this, is those investing in progressive companies and pioneering research, like Octopus Ventures.

Start-ups can address areas of healthtech that have been left behind

Health technology start-ups are leveraging pioneering technologies, business models, and advances in research  to transform the healthcare industry. The investment experts at Octopus Ventures choose to be active investors in this space, so they can support industry pioneers and amplify distribution of new technology to improve the lives of many.

Despite intense focus and rapid advancement in certain areas of healthcare, there remain some conditions that have been previously overlooked. Healthtech start-ups with passionate founders are beginning to address these areas and provide overdue support for those in need, without requiring more contact time with doctors who simply cannot afford the time.

Chronic conditions such as eczema, arthritis, diabetes and Crohn’s disease, require ongoing management. Healthtech platform, Sidekick Health, founded in Iceland, is using digital therapeutics to extend and support in-clinic care of chronic conditions like these, helping patients to better manage their conditions without a trip to the doctor.

Paediatric care is another area emerging start-ups are focused on, aiming to provide better support for families of children with health conditions. London-based start-up Hibi, aims to lighten the load on parents of children with long-term conditions through the use of their app, which helps them manage, coordinate and navigate their child’s care.

Another key area where healthtech can have an enormous impact, is clinical capacity. It’s reported daily on the news that doctors and health systems across the world are overstretched and experiencing immense pressure as they struggle to keep up with demand.

If healthtech is given the right investment and support, it has the capability to dramatically reduce administration tasks for doctors, which they currently spend a sixth of their time doing1. It would alleviate some of the pressure and enable health professionals to practice a lot more ‘real medicine’.

Continued development in AI is poised to help physicians do just that.

One of our portfolio companies, Ufonia, replaces routine patient-healthcare interactions with AI-led, automated phone calls. Its use in clinics so far has already had a remarkable impact, one of their successful roll-outs include facilitating a 167% increase in appointment capacity in cataract follow-up appointments at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust.

Making sense of the European healthtech ecosystem

Ensuring access to high-quality healthcare is a universal concern that impacts every individual on the planet. We rely on healthcare professionals, advanced medical treatments, and well-equipped facilities during our times of need. Ongoing developments in healthtech is what will continue to make this possible.

Investing in the people and ideas that can solve challenges in the healthcare sector is a big part of our mission. The specialist health investment team at Octopus Ventures aims to support European start-ups to impact one billion lives.

In their latest report, the team have unravelled the European healthtech landscape and scoped out opportunities for pioneers to take on the health challenges shaping our world. It includes commentary from our health investment team and industry experts, wider context on some of our portfolio companies as well as other pioneering start-ups, and highlights trends and predictions for the next couple of years.