To hear market research firm CB Insights tell it, the past four quarters have seen nearly a 50 percent growth year-over-year in digital health exits via acquisition or IPO.
To be clear, we’re still talking about a pretty small number of deals. But the 55 digital health exits counted over the last year are likely a welcome stat for healthcare investors, who with a few exceptions have largely been dabbling in the nascent space. Last year, though, they committed an all-time high $1.5 billion to the sector through 362 deals, according to a July report. That represented a 23 percent growth in year-over-year funding.
So far, the majority of exits in digital health have been companies whose products or services make administrative health processes more efficient. That includes companies that provide EMR/EHR solutions, revenue cycle management, equipment management and clinical trial software solutions.
The research firm counts 125 total exits between Q1 2008 and Q1 2013, and says three-quarters of those have been such companies. Qualcomm Life’s second-quarter acquisition of HealthyCircles and Allscripts’ purchase of Jardogs are prime examples.
The only other subcategories of digital health that have come close in number of exits are health and wellness, illustrated by deals like Jawbone’s acquisition of BodyMedia, and education/training companies. Both have seen double-digit exits over the past five years, the firm says.
Rock Health’s mid-year report on funding for the sector suggested that the explosive growth in digital health investing is starting to level off. Perhaps that will be met with more exits in the space — although exit numbers from the first half of the year are down slightly from last year.
[Chart from CB Insights]