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Between growing interest in fitness tracking devices, mobile health apps and software for adapting to the changing business of health care, digital health had a banner year in 2012.
According to a year-end funding report from health tech accelerator Rock Health, investors poured $1.4 billion into digital health companies last year, which is up 45 percent from their investment total of $968 million in 2011. The report, released Monday by the San Francisco-based non-profit, also indicated a 56 percent increase in the number of deals closed in 2012.
As we’ve reported previously, these are interesting times in health care funding as investors rethink their support of biotech and traditional life sciences firms but back digital health companies that leverage mobile devices, cloud computing, open data, sensors and other emerging technology. Indeed, citing research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rock Health’s report said that investment in biotech and medical devices declined 4 percent and 16 percent respectively in 2012.
In total, the report said 134 digital health companies each raised more than $2 million in the last year, with one-third of all deals falling into four categories: healthcare purchasing tools for consumers, personal health tracking, Electronic Medical records and hospital administration.
While 179 firms and organizations invested in digital health companies, most only took part in a single deal, Rock Health said, with just eight investors making three or more investments in 2012. Qualcomm Ventures led the list of the most active investors, followed by Aberdare Ventures, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and NEA.
The Bay Area and Boston lead the way in the number and value of digital health deals, according to the report. But New York could be coming on strong given the launch of several health startup incubators including Blueprint Health, Startup Health and the New York Digital Health Accelerator in the Big Apple last year.