Health 2.0

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These days, record amounts of venture funding is pouring into the digital health space. Yet, that hasn’t always been the case. Matthew Holt sat down with Rebecca Lynn, a General Partner with the Canvas Venture Fund, ahead of her appearance at WinterTech to discuss the quick and explosive growth in VC interest in digital health, as well what Canvas’ thesis-driven investment strategy means for its current and growing portfolio.

Matthew Holt: This is Matthew Holt. I’m talking to Rebecca Lynn. Rebecca is a General Partner at Canvas, which is a VC fund that came out of the better-known Morgenthaler fund about a year and a half ago. Is that right, Rebecca?

Rebecca Lynn: Yes. That’s right.

MH: Rebecca has done a number of things we were just talking about offline. Her very, very first deal was in the Lending Club, she has a background in personal finance, and the Lending Club just went public, so congratulations, Rebecca.

RL: Thank you.

MH: She’s also in the last four or five years been working hard on getting up to speed in health care and now you’re more than up to speed. You’re one of the leading venture capitalist experts in health technology. So that’s obviously what we are going to talk to you about and you’re going to be on the investor panel at Health 2.0’s WinterTech which is coming up on January the 15th. Also, you are the founder of something, which I was there at the start with you called, “DC to VC” which is a group putting together venture capitalists with government officials. Continue reading “Thesis-Driven Investing in Digital Health: An Interview with Rebecca Lynn”

Health 2.0 recently had a chance to talk with Steven Wardell, an equity research analyst at Leerink Partners, ahead of his appearance at WinterTech to discuss themes he’s seeing in the digital health market and what he thinks will be the trends to watch in 2015. Hear more from Wardell and other investors from Rock Health, Canvas Venture Fund, GE Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners on investing in consumer health at WinterTech on January 15th in San Francisco.

Health 2.0: Tell us about your role as an equity research analyst covering digital health at Leerink Partners.

Steven Wardell: One of the most exciting parts of my role is I get to interpret the growing digital health landscape for the investment community. Investors want to better understand the major trends in the sector and how they are creating winners and losers in healthcare.  They want to get a perspective on what the investment themes are and who the potential winners are. I’ve done deep industry research on digital health investment themes and I can help investors understand the themes and the companies that are benefiting from them. Continue reading “An Equity Analyst’s Take on Health 2.0 Trends To Watch in 2015″

Casper-de-Clercq-photo-166x250With JP Morgan week and Health 2.0 WinterTech converging this week in San Francisco, the digital health space will dive deep into what will characterize investment in 2015 and identify who the major players are. Health 2.0 sat down with Casper de Clercq, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners to look at some of the trends for 2015 and explore his upcoming discussion of consumer health investment at Health 2.0 WinterTech. 

Health 2.0: Today we’re just going to talk a little bit about what you’ll be addressing at Health 2.0 WinterTech and just also kind of getting a better sense for your experience and your insight into the digital health investment space.  I was hoping you could  start with an overarching look at what your role at Norwest Venture Partners really encompasses and sort of what your day-to-day looks like for our audience.

Casper de Clercq:  As co-lead of the health care practice at Norwest Venture Partners I am actively investing in health care IT, technology enabled services and medical devices. We are currently investing out of fund twelve, a $1.2 billion fund.  NVP has been in business for over 50 years investing primarily in consumer software, enterprise software and health care companies. We have offices in India, Israel, and New York. Growth equity is also an important aspect of our investment activity in which we typically invest in more established companies.  In the health care group, we’ve made a significant number of investments in the digital health and medical device arena.  We are among the most active health care IT investors having made over a dozen investments over the last three years.  The breadth if our investments aligns with the trends we all hear about.  Our portfolio includes enterprise and SaaS solutions such as Health Catalyst (ERM analytics and benchmarking data for hospitals).  We also invested in CareCloud (SaaS based EMR) and Cleardata (HIPAA compliant data center).  We have made multiple investments in connected devices from consumers to clinical research. In the consumer health and wellness arena we invested in wearable companies Basis (acquired bv Intel) and Misfit.  Continue reading “Trends that Translate into Investment: Examining Consumer Health with Norwest Ventures”

Daniel Palestrant was one of the first big stars of the early Health 2.0 movement, and he was often at Health 2.0 conferences and on THCB. He founded the biggest (US based) online doctor network Sermo in 2005, rode it like a rocketship, and then left with little explanation in late 2011. Rumors swirled about the company, then it was bought by WorldOne, while Palestrant (and colleague Adam Sharp) was seen in a series of photos with a cutout of an obscure economist. He then seemingly vanished. Now he’s back, and the company named for that economist, Par8o, just announced a funding round of $10.5m and a series of impressive clients.

But what happened at Sermo? And how did that get him to Par8o? I met Dan for a in-depth reminiscence. But briefly in his words; all the investors (including him) in Sermo were happy with the WorldOne buyout; what he learned from the ACA was the inspiration for Par8o; and, he’s now building the underpinning health care operating system. We’ll have more later this week, but watch our catch up.

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There’s a lot we don’t know about food and our health. Butter in your coffee, eat like a caveman, or no animal products: you name it and there’s an expert backing it. Even the nutritional labels placed on the majority of food items can be misleading and inaccurate. Fortunately, Isabel Hoffman is tackling this problem head on with her company Tellspec. Motivated by a personal history of allergies and ill health, Hoffman has developed a hand-held food-scanning spectrometer that immediately tells users the exact chemical composition of their food.

Matthew Holt, Co-Chairman at Health 2.0, interviewed Hoffman, who performed a live demo of the Tellspec device, shared her thoughts on Tellspec’s path to widespread consumer adoption, and the future possibilities for Tellspec.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the excitement around Tellspec. The device would demand transparency and accountability from the food industry, help refine the connection between diet and health, and answer a wide variety of consumer concerns from general nutrition to chronic disease to allergies. Of course, this all depends on Tellspec delivering on its claims, something the company has failed to do in recent history.

Critics jumped on Tellspec for not being able to deliver on its crowdfunding campaign, but it remains unclear whether that was a production issue or if there are bigger concerns with the technology Tellspec depends on. As some may recall, other crowdfunded devices with lofty claims, like the passive calorie tracker GoBe, have turned out to be bogus. So is Tellspec the real deal? It’s hard to tell at this point. Hoffman scanned a cake on stage at TED, Health 2.0 staff saw a live scan of Wheat Thins, and you can watch a scan below, but don’t hold your breath for the day you can take the device down to In-N-Out to see what’s really in those Animal Fries.

Kim Krueger is a Research Analyst at Health 2.0 where Matthew Holt is the Co-Chairman.  

At 22 years old, Justin Fulcher looks like an average, newly graduated, young entrepreneur. But don’t be mistaken by his humble appearance. He is the Founder and CEO of RingMD, one of the fastest growing patient-provider communication platform, granting quality and affordable health care to people worldwide.

Founded in 2012 in Singapore, RingMD is a mobile based platform that connects patients with doctors via video or phone. Users input their symptoms, chose the format for the call, provide a mode of transaction, and get access to a list of providers based on location, price, ratings, insurance coverage, availability etc. Provider profiles have detailed biography, and feature dynamic pricing, making it an active health care marketplace. Patients can upload files in real time to share with the consulting doctor, and their EMR history is shown in a split screen on the provider side. Doctor notes are shareable, in both text and video formats.

RingMD has been an active telehealth provider in Singapore, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, and is now ready to enter the US market. Mr. Fulcher visited Health 2.0 headquarters recently and shared his story with us.

Following is an excerpt from the interview: Continue reading “RingMD: The Newest Entrant in the US TeleMedicine Market”


One cannot discuss consumer health without addressing the drastically changing environment of care. At Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape speakers from Walmart, Target, and Optum will join Matthew Holt to dive into how major retailers are disrupting the way millions of Americans not only access acute care services but also purchase prescriptions, access preventive health services, and more. Ben Wanamaker, Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations at Walmart sat down with Matthew last week to shed light on what 2015 will bring for Walmart’s Care Clinics. 

Continue reading “Revolutionizing Retail and Health – Walmart drives care into new settings”

At Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape speakers and sponsors are exploring the platforms that empower the informed consumer movement by providing objective reviews of consumer products. Senior Director, of Health Impact and Consumer Reports, Tara Montgomery will be joining the event to speak to their research on the health products, prescriptions, and providers that contribute to the changing consumer health landscape.

Health 2.0: Tara can you start by speaking to what really pushed this expansion into research and advocacies surrounding health products and when you sort of saw this started shifting?

Tara Montgomery: Yes. Well, actually, you might not know, but we have been in health since day one, and it was actually in our charter back in 1936 to look out for the well-being of all consumers. We started in our very first issue of our magazine and we rated Alka-Seltzer and said that its claims vanish — like gas bubbles in the air.  So that was our first foray into health, but that was in a small scale, and I think it was typical of the kinds of health products being advertised to consumers earlier in the 20th century, but over the decades, we covered health lightly. And then, really, about 10 years ago, we saw the shift in healthcare where the consumer’s role really was shifting much more consciously from a compliant patient to a need to be a more savvy health consumer. That was a real call to action for us because our role in helping consumers out in the world is really to give people savvy information about value, and everything we’ve done in washing machines and cars and toasters has been about helping people evaluate the benefits, their satisfaction, and the value for money of the products and services they choose. When the burden of health costs started to shift towards consumers, and you know that definitely has been more intense in the past couple of years, we’ve needed to rise to the occasion and helpconsumers navigate that new role. So, that was a moment for us along with transparency, because when we wanted to rate healthcare products and services more than 10 years ago, the data wasn’t available, and obviously, you can’t look at health the same way as we look at cars and washing machines and bang — our national lab. Continue reading “Fact vs Fiction – Navigating the Health Care Marketplace with Consumer Reports”

As Health 2.0 gears up for Health 2.0 WinterTech, January 15th in San Francisco, their reporters sat down with Environmental Working Group Executive Director, Heather White to discuss the many pathways consumer health advocacy takes and the barriers that continue to keep many of us in the dark about the relationship between our health and our environment.

Health 2.0: To get things started, Heather, I wanted to talk with you a little bit about some of the insight you’ll be providing at WinterTech, which is in relation to the Skin Deep App. From what I’ve researched, it offers ratings on over 70,000 products. I was hoping you could share your thoughts on how you and your team envisioned this app and the way it’s changing how consumers shop for skin products, and what has been the response thus far?

Heather White: Yeah. Well, it definitely has been making waves in the market for a pretty long time. Our site was developed 10 years ago, but we launched our app last year. So far, we’ve had about 300,000 downloads on iPhone and about 95,000 on Android, so close to 400,000 consumers have downloaded the app and are able to make decisions on safer cosmetics and personal care products right at the store. So, we’ve gotten a lot of response and support from our community, but we’re also finding that our brand is reaching a much broader audience. It’s really exciting for us because EWG is all about making sure people make this connection between our health and the environment and really start thinking about the environment as something that they connect to everyday. It’s not just that place you go on vacation, but it also incorporates the chemicals that you buy and that you put on your skin and the chemicals that you buy and then you bring into your home. Skin Deep is trying to really push the market for safer cosmetics and we’ve really seen a lot of consumers make more switches to safer alternatives and we’re also seeing each day new brands coming onto the markets that are less toxic. So, there’s been a tremendous response so far. It’s a free app. It’s available both on the Android and iPhone and our supporters and people who are interested in this issue have really welcomed it.

Continue reading “Health is All Around Us : How Our Environment Informs Our Health”

One of the greatest opportunities that exists in moving from “turnstile medicine” (or fee-for-service) to value-based payment models is the shift from reactive to proactive health care. The focus on accountability for population health forces providers to adopt a completely different mindset: Instead of waiting for sick patients to come knocking on your door, you need to figure out what they need, when they need it, and how to get it for them.

At the upcoming conference, Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape (January 15, San Francisco), I will moderate a panel on “Consumer Data Powering Clinical Insight.” The panel  features several different perspectives on how consumer-facing technologies can translate discrete consumer-generated data into useful information that providers and others can use to deliver more personalized and proactive support and care management.

The dramatic proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs) in the last five years means that much more clinical patient data exists in electronic form than ever before. True meaningful use of that data involves organizing it into meaningful and useful information by building algorithms, leveraging machine learning principles and delivering the right information to the right person at the right time. In addition, de-identified data in the cloud provides a scale for that kind of data analytics. Practice Fusion, a cloud-based EHR company uses patient-derived data—everything from booking an appointment to patient intake questionnaires—to drive proactive health management. CEO Ryan Howard will discuss how, in early 2015, they’ll begin incorporating qualitative and quantitative data from the patient and machine learning based on how physicians react to it to better target diagnosis, treatment and other support.

Continue reading “Reactive vs. Proactive Health Care: The Intersection of Payment Reform & Consumer Data Powering Clinical Insight”


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The Health Care Blog (THCB) is based in San Francisco. We were founded in 2003 by Matthew Holt. John Irvine joined a year later and now runs the site.


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