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A record $37.9 billion poured into the U.S. digital health market in 2021, according to CB Insights’ recent “State of Digital Health” report. A large share of that money helped fund startups focusing on telehealth, mental health and wellness, and digital therapeutics.
Here’s a brief rundown of how each sector is evolving, followed by significant funding rounds in the fourth quarter last year and early 2022 across startups in these three areas.
As the market continues to mature, larger telehealth providers are expanding services beyond urgent care to include more specialized care in areas like musculoskeletal disorders, kidney disease and cardiology. And even though virtual visits have come down off their highs during the pandemic, many investors are still bullish on the sector. Global investments in telehealth companies topped $17.6 billion in 2021 — a 68% increase from 2020, CB Insights notes.
With the market for behavioral health and wellness apps and online services expanding rapidly, investment capital in the sector soared 138% to $5.5 billion in 2021. That’s about five times that of 2018, according to CB Insights data. As with telehealth in general, some large online providers are broadening their services to include support for complex psychiatric and substance-use disorders. Privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion include Cerebral, Modern Health, Lyra Health and Ginger.
Offering the potential to treat chronic conditions at scale, digital therapeutics continues to generate strong investor support. Investments in the sector have increased by an average of 40% annually over the past seven years, McKinsey & Company reports. Year-over-year funding in the sector rose by 133% in 2021, CB Insights states. Digital therapeutics uses evidence-based software to prevent, manage or treat a wide spectrum of physical, mental and behavioral conditions. They are different from wellness apps or medication reminders in that they require rigorous clinical evidence to substantiate intended use and impact on disease state.
The following startups all had significant investment rounds in Q4 of 2021 or January. All companies offer virtual care in some form, with behavioral health services becoming an increasingly hot sector.
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