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The Biggest Trend You’ve Probably Never Heard Of: A Status Report on 138 Healthcare ICOs

By ROBERT MILLER & VINCE KURAITIS

Robert Miller

Vince Kuraitis

You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, but we doubt you’ve heard of Dentacoin, MedTokens, or Curecoin.

These are healthcare specific cryptocurrencies born from Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs. In this article, we’ll briefly recap the trend of ICOs (aka token offerings) and provide you with a summary financial analysis of how this trend has played out among 138 healthcare ICOs. The results to-date are enlightening, but disappointing. We believe there’s still potential for some projects to be successful.

Background

What’s an ICO? Here’s a quick take from Wikipedia and we’ll point you to an Appendix that will guide you to additional resources:

An ICO is a type of funding using cryptocurrencies…In an ICO, a quantity of cryptocurrency is sold in the form of “tokens” (“coins”) to speculators or investors, in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies. The tokens sold are promoted as future functional units of currency if or when the ICO’s funding goal is met and the project launches.

Autonomous Research found that ICOs raised over $7 billion in 2017 and are slated to raise $12 billion in 2018, with some mega projects raising billions of dollars each.

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Disrupting the Cholesterol Test: Finnish Startup Nightingale Health

Today’s cholesterol test is about to be disrupted. Nightingale Health, a five-year-old startup based out of Finland, has built a better blood test that – among other things – is about to disrupt the cholesterol test of today.

Their blood test collects 50 times more biomarker data than the standard test – boasting a 20% better prediction rate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease – and they’re offering it at the same price point as the existing industry standard. Why does this matter? Well, for clinicians, researchers, or those working on new drug development, the Nightingale test is not only offering an unprecedented amount of metabolic data, but it’s an unprecedented amount of AFFORDABLE metabolic data that can impact the health care cost curve as far as the eye can see.

What’s more – and this has gotten investors’ blood pumping – they haven’t even fully realized the full potential of their panel. Listen in as Kristiina Tolvanen talks with me about the company’s priorities to build their evidence base and find out what else their biomarker analysis platform can potentially displace. Freshly funded with a $30M round – and a very prestigious partnership with the UK Biobank to analyze 500,000 blood samples – this is one to watch.

Filmed at Upgraded Life Festival in Helsinki, Finland, June 2018. Find more interviews on health and technology here or check out www.wtf.health

WTF Health | Self-Reported Patient Monitoring Startup from Finland, Kaiku Health

WTF Health – ‘What’s the Future’ Health? is a new interview series about the future of the health industry and how we love to hate WTF is wrong with it right now. Can’t get enough? Check out more interviews at www.wtf.health

Central to the ‘WTF Health’ ethos is the idea that around the world, there is a shared passion for creating a new future for healthcare — and that the less-positive ‘WTF moment’ is a shared experience, regardless of which country’s health system one is standing in.

So, I’m going around the world this year — to 17 different health innovation conferences in 11 different countries — to find out what innovators abroad are doing to tackle the problems in their health systems and what we can learn from one another.

Driving down the cost of care, managing chronic conditions, helping people achieve better health, improving care delivery and patient experience — these goals know no borders. What’s different is the framework around them. So, what if the payment model were different? What if there was a single electronic patient record? What if certain laws and regulations didn’t exist?

Different constraints breed different solutions. What a hopeful and inspiring idea. And, with any luck, food for your thoughts and innovative thinking.

So here is the first interview I’d like to share from abroad! Everyone meet Finnish startup Kaiku Health, fresh off closing a €4.4M Euro series A. Their patient monitoring monitoring platform lets cancer patients (and others with chronic diseases) self-report on how they’re doing, using their hospital’s existing patient portal. Stick around until the end: Bonus insight on the strengths of the health tech startup scene in the Nordics for those who want to go explore.

Filmed at Upgraded Life Festival in Helsinki, early June.  

WTF Health | Kyruus co-founder, Julie Yoo

WTF Health – ‘What’s the Future’ Health? is a new interview series about the future of health and how we love to hate WTF is wrong with it right now. Can’t get enough? Check out more interviews at www.wtf.health

They just raised another $10M and you should find out why….

I met up with Kyruus co-founder and chief product officer Julie Yoo at #HIMSS18 to hear about the #AI magic behind their ‘intelligent routing engine.’ Apparently, it does such an incredible job driving business into health systems by better matching patients to docs that some more funding is in order to help them expand!

So, where does Kyruus fit into the ‘big picture’ of health’s ‘big data’ movement? Julie’s beat on how AI implementation in healthcare is going gives you a pretty good idea.

(Even) More Disruption, Please !!

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 10.04.02 AM

There are two questions I hear all the time from digital health care entrepreneurs: 1) How can I gain initial market traction? 2) How do I grow my client base?

Health care is an incredibly tough market to sell into. Even if you have a highly-differentiated solution with proven value, the barriers to access and scalability are extremely high.

For entrepreneurs trying to break in, the problem is two-fold.  First, the majority of providers are focused on patient care – getting on their radar is difficult. Second, even if an entrepreneur does gain buy-in and proves value to a single provider or group, it’s difficult to build upon that success. 

Negotiate Strategic Partnerships

The first lesson to get ahead: Learn how to spot a valuable partnership and negotiate a good deal—whether with an accelerator, incubator, or VC.

There are 87 accelerators (and counting) dedicated to jumpstarting the most promising health care startups in the country, and each is as differentiated as the companies they nurture. These accelerators vary in how structured their programs are, as well as the threshold of capital they invest.  Timeframes differ, the amount of equity required varies, the level of mentorship fluctuates, and the quality of contacts/potential clients runs the gamut. Despite the differences, the objective is the same: to help propel entrepreneurs into health care.

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