Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt
For my health care tidbits this week, it’s time to bring up the disconnect between the continual collapse of #DigitalHealth stock prices and the continued increase in private sector investment and valuation in the same sector.
All of nine months ago, way way back in March 2021 market leader Teladoc hit a stock price of $308. Last week it hit a low of just under $90. Meanwhile several companies have IPOed or SPACed this year and almost all of them have seen their stock fall dramatically. For example, pioneer online mental health company Talkspace is now at a market cap of under $300m. This week a different mental health company Cerebral which was only founded in January 2020 raised $300m at a private valuation of over $4 billion. Yes they could have bought out Talkspace for that amount! In October Medicare Advantage plan Devoted Health raised money at a $12 billion valuation which exceeded the market cap of rivals Clover, Bright Health and Oscar–each of which has more members.
So what’s going on? Part of this is the wash of money still going into venture funds. Interest rates are historically low, while inflation is picking up, so that money has to go somewhere. Additionally some of the companies that SPACed out were probably unable to get such a good valuation in a private round. But it can’t be that all the 50 or so public companies are lower quality than the private ones. That indicates that either the private valuations aren’t real (because there are so many protections built into the deal for investors), or that the private and public valuations are going to get closer together. There is of course one more possibility–some of the private companies may pursue M&A and buy out some of the public ones. But in any event, this current arbitrage cannot last forever.
It’s not unlikely the public stocks may pick up. But we’ve seen private and public market bubbles before and the aftermath isn’t usually pretty.
Today in Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk about the plethora of notable deals in the Healthcare Space. Bright Health gets $750 million with notable investment from Cigna; Innovaccer gets $150 million, bringing their total up to $375 million; Cadence gets $100 million, bringing their total up to $141 million; Ophelia raises $50 million, bringing their total up to $64 million; and Apti Health raises $50 million, bringing their total up to $65 million.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, I haven ‘t been fired yet – so I’m taking over this episode. On Episode 217, there’s been a lot going on in the digital health world, including the biggest IPO in health tech ever with Bright Health’s $14 billion valuation. Speaking of IPOs, 23andMe went public yesterday with a $3.5 billion valuation.Zus Health gets $25 million in a Series A with Jonathan Bush as CEO. Pill Club raises $49 million getting contraceptives to women online, similar to Nurx. Finally Brightline gets $72 million, this is a child mental health company; they take family prep, family counseling psychiatry, and coaching and put it all together.—Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess claims to be blameless for the drama between Jonathan Bush and Glen Tullman. On Episode 198, we talk about Microsoft buying Nuance for $16 billion and $3 billion in debt – is Microsoft taking over healthcare, and is this going to slow Nuance down? Cohere Health raises $36 million in a Series B, working on improving prior authorizations between health plans and providers. We wrap up with a lightning round of IPO rumors regarding Privia Health, VillageMD, and Bright Health.—Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess is in Jacksonville hanging out with Jackson the dog and trying to replace me with @barkyboy. On Episode 153, we cover the biggest IPO we’ve seen yet—GoodRx—with a valuation of $18 billion, which is more than Teladoc, Livongo, and even Cardinal Health. In other news, Olive gets $106 million bringing their total to $220 million; Olive is a back office automation system using AI for hospitals and this round is practically financed by royalty. Bright Health gets $500 million for their health plan; they’ve raised about $1.5 billion and are planning to expand into more markets. Finally Osso VR raised $14 million in a series A, helping surgeons practice performing surgeries through their VR platform.—Matthew Holt
Would it blow your mind if only five startup health plans interested in Medicare Advantage (MA) have collectively raised over $3.9 billion in private funding to-date? Well, readers, that is the reality. Now I know there are some skeptics out in the healthcare ecosystem, so I’m here to break down some of the investment thesis. Not going to necessarily defend, but explain some reasons why you should love and hate these investments. Let’s start with who raised these mind-boggling sums of money. The five startups are Oscar Health, Bright Health, Clover Health, Devoted Health, and Alignment Healthcare.
Oscar Health has raised $1.3 billion
Bright Health has raised $1.1 billion
Clover Health has raised $925 million
Devoted Health has raised $362 million
Alignment Healthcare has raised $240 million
I think it’s safe to say that the MA insurance market (also known as Medicare Part C) has captured the imagination of the venture capital and private equity community. The changing demographic trends of an aging baby boomer population, the increased selection of MA plans versus traditional Medicare fee-for-service (FFS), and the opportunity of technology-first MA startup plans to better reduce administrative fees (“Administrative Loss Ratio” or “ALR”) and control medical spend (“Medical Loss Ratio” or “MLR”) seems too good to pass up. If you were going to start a health plan, of all the lines of business you could be focused on, MA has highest profit margins, growing population, and better potential to impact patient spend and manage chronic diseases. It is certainly harder than writing the previous statement, but there are some real benefits versus the traditional commercial or Medicaid managed care.
Today, I’m closing out the year of Health in 2 Point 00 from the ski slopes. In Episode 103, Jess asks me about the ACA ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, whether Sutter Health got what they deserved after the $575 million settlement, health insurer Bright Health raising a huge $635 million round, and a rumor about a $250M Softbank investment coming next week. Wishing you all a very happy 2020! —Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I report from a hedgehog cafe in Tokyo. In this episode, Jess asks me about Bright Health’s $200 million raise and the significance of Amazon’s new EMR product. We also talk about Health 2.0 Asia-Japan, which is happening right now (December 4-5) in Tokyo, showing us the health care market outside of the U.S. Look forward to hearing from some great speakers at the conference, including John Bass from Hashed Health on blockchain, Fred Trotter on security, David Ewing Duncan on the new wellness and personalized medicine, and Adam Pellegrini from Fitbit. And, of course, Jess will be interviewing just about everyone—including a hedgehog—about innovation for WTF Health —Matthew Holt