Startups, Health IT

Relay Ventures co-founder outlines digital health priorities for latest fund

So far, investments from Relay Ventures’ third fund include personal wellness tracker OMsignal and health incentives startup CARROT Insights.

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Relay Ventures is a keen investor in early stage mobile tech companies and includes healthcare as one of its investment verticals. The venture capital firm, with offices in Toronto, Ontario and Menlo Park, California, closed a CA$200 million (US $150 million) fund in the past week, marking its third fund to date.

In a phone interview with MedCity News, Relay Ventures Co-founder and Managing Partner John Albright highlighted some of the company’s health tech investments and identified areas of digital health it is particularly interested in adding to its portfolio.

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Albright called attention to two investments made from the Relay Ventures III fund. CARROT Insights is a consumer wellness business that provides incentives for setting, tracking and meeting personal health goals. Relay also led a $10 million round for OMsignal, a Montreal-based business that launched a smart sports bra in September. The bra is embedded with sensors to monitor heart and breathing rhythms. A companion app called OMrun is designed to assess each user’s intensity level to improve the effectiveness of workouts and reduce the risk of injury and fatigue, according to OMsignal’s website.

He also flagged up areas of interest for the fund where it has not yet invested such as the consumerization of healthcare and software products that enable people to take care of themselves, cut down on healthcare resources and the amount of time spent in hospitals. Albright added that the firm has neither a fixed number of  healthcare startups it will target with the third fund nor a total allocation for the fund’s healthcare investments.

“We don’t have a floor and we don’t have a ceiling,” Albright said.

The firm is also adding two to three people over the next three months with operations experience in areas such as the Internet of Things and mobile payments, Albright said.

Among some of Relay’s other healthcare investments are Scanadu, a device designed to measure blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and pulse oximetry. The investment firm took part in the company’s Series A round and last year participated in Scanadu’s $35 million Series B round.

Until 2012, Relay Ventures was known as ATP Capital, which managed JLA Ventures, Clairmont Capital, and BlackBerry Partners Fund.

To date, Relay has invested CA$355 million ($265.2 million) in 76 companies, 24 of which have been exited, according to the news release.

Photo: Getty Images, Yuri_Arcurs