Rock Health has released its semi-annual update of the digital health market, reporting that $4.2 billion was invested across 180 deals during the first half of 2019. The sector continues to experience healthy growth, and Rock says they haven’t seen the “telltale signs of an investment bubble.” If this trend holds steady, the sector is on track for an $8.4B year, and may even top 2018’s record-breaking annual funding total.
About 30% of venture dollars in H1 2019 went to large ($100M+) mega deals, and 69% of investors in the first half of the year were repeat investors. As digital health continues to mature as a sector, Rock expects this theme to persist in the near-term, even as macro-economic conditions fluctuate.
A total of five companies reported to be planning public offerings in 2019 — including Livongo, Health Catalyst, Change Healthcare, Phreesia, and Peloton. However, M&A continues to dominate the exit scene with 43 acquisitions in the first six months of 2019. Projecting this forward six months, 86 acquisitions in 2019 would be roughly 25% fewer than in recent years. As that’s usually the case, the most frequent acquirers of digital health companies are other digital health companies, accounting for 23 (or just over half) of the transactions.
Speaking of recent years, ever since Rock Health started counting digital health investing numbers — since 2011 till July 1, 2019 — it has recorded investments worth $36.3 billion across 1,274 startups. During that period, 170 companies were acquired and 10 went public. On the other hand, $1.5B was invested in startups that shut down — more than half of which went to a single company: Jawbone.
In closing thoughts, Rock Health says that there is $29.4B of active venture capital in the digital health sector anticipating a liquidity event (an exit) like an acquisition or IPO.