What do health tech investors think is ‘hot’ these days? Where is the money going? I ran into Marvin Liao, partner at 500 Startups (a VC fund/accelerator program that has made more than 2000 investments in early-stage tech startups over the past eight years) at ICEE Health in Bucharest, Romania, last month and had a chance to ask.
With refreshing candor, Marvin weighs in on whether or not digital therapeutics, mental health, and biotech have room to grow — and if Apple, Google, and Amazon really have the power to change the future of health.
Where is he most bullish? It’s no surprise I ran into him outside the US. He’s got his eyes on bleeding edge innovations coming out of foreign markets…especially Japan. Have a look!
Filmed at ICEE Health in Bucharest, Romania, June 2018. Find more interviews about health & technology at www.wtf.health.
Could it be true? Is venture funding on the mend after it’s collapse in 2008? Some would say that the amount of capital invested is on the rise, and new funding streams are providing an excellent opportunity for startups to start getting funded again. But is this also true for health or healthcare startups? After leaving Google recently, I have been spending time talking to various startups and VC firms that are interested in health and healthcare apps. I am encouraged by what I see.
There seems to be a handful of seed accelerators and government initiatives focused on stimulating innovation in the consumer and provider health tech space. New incubators like Rock Health and Startup Health, an arm of the Startup America Partnership are trying to encourage attention to this vertical. Other cool platforms such as the Quantified Self movement, ONC’s Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative, and this week’s impending announcement of the SMArt (Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies) Challenge Apps are creating some fresh buzz. But what I find even more interesting is that broader tech accelerators like YCombinator, and 500 Startups are also starting to fund some health startups (checkout drchrono.com and Evoz).
While I am making my rounds, I cannot help but make a shameless plug for some of my ex Googler friends at 500 Startups. In case you have not heard of them yet, 500 Startups is a $40 million Super Angel investment fund that was founded by former PayPal executive, Dave McClure and Christine Tsai, former Google Marketing pro who ran Google I/O. They provide early-stage seed funding ($10K to $250K) and have over 140 experienced startup mentors around the world that help with product design and data and customer acquisition. 500 Startups holds a series of events on all kinds of things relating to startup success. In fact, check out the event they are hosting this Saturday, June 25th from 1-6pm called “‘Design a Healthy Startup: Prevent Burn Out.” This event will feature 500 Startup founders and entrepreneurs from HealthTap, EcoFactor, Google, Facebook and Zynga. Demos from cool new startups in the wellness space like Dojo, Habit Labs, and FitSquid, will also be presenting. Read more about the event or sign up to attend this Saturday.
Missy Krasner spent several years helping getting Google Health off the ground, and before that was David Brailer’s right-hand woman at ONC.