Welcome to the sixth edition of the AgeTech News Roundup, a (mostly) monthly recap of the latest happenings in the world of technology for older adults. Below you'll find summaries of the latest AgeTech financings, product announcements, and events. My name is Max Zamkow and I'm a coordinator for Aging2.0 New York and a partner at Third Act Ventures, a venture firm that invests specifically in startups working to make life better for older adults and their caregivers.
Just a heads up that there won't be an AgeTech News Roundup in September as I'll be getting married in a few weeks. But don't worry, AgeTech won't be far from my mind, I'll even be cutting my "mini-moon" short so I can get to Chicago for the annual NIC fall conference. If you're planning on being there as well, drop me a line so we can find some time to connect.
The Roundup will be back in October with lots of exciting things to report on from the conference and the start of the fall fundraising season. Now on to the news. Enjoy!
In a not-so-shitty deal Philips acquires Medumo
Boston-based Medumo, best known for texting patients about their bowel movements, has been acquired by Philips for an undisclosed sum. The service uses email and SMS to communicate with patients pre and post-procedure on behalf of its hospital customers, decreasing the number of no-shows, unprepared patients, and readmissions. In one study of colonoscopy patients, the service decreased the proportion of patients who weren't properly prepared for the procedure from 11.5% to 3.8% and the no-show rate by 30%.
According to Boston Children’s Hospital, one of Medumo’s customers, hospitals lose billions of dollars each year due to missed appointments, improper procedure preparation, and incorrect discharge instructions. In a recent article on Business Insider, Brigham Health stated that Medumo is “one of its best startups”. With most patient engagement solutions focusing on preventing post-procedure readmissions, Medumo carved out a clever niche and turned poop into gold.
Babylon Health leapfrogs to become a double unicorn
Best known for its AI chatbot used by the UK’s National Health Service to triage and diagnose minor ailments, Babylon Health raised a $550mm Series C round at a valuation of over $2bn. Participating investors included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a large unnamed US health insurer (possibly Centene), Munich Re’s ERGO Fund, and returning investors Kinnevik and Vostek New Ventures.
This funding is all-the-more noteworthy since previously the company had raised only ~$85mm, so this represents a giant leap. The company plans to use the capital to aggressively push its international expansion and develop solutions for more serious, chronic conditions. “Our mission at Babylon is to put accessible and affordable healthcare into the hands of everyone on earth,” said founder and CEO Dr. Ali Parsa. With half a billion dollars in the bank, the company certainly has the firepower to make a run at it.
Unforgettable acquired by Live Better With
Unforgettable, the online community and store for dementia products, has been acquired by Live Better With. The company launched with a vision to use content and community to improve the lives of everyone affected by dementia. Using insights gleaned from its community it later started co-developing and selling unique products for Dementia sufferers.
While the acquisition makes sense for Live Better With - Unforgettable will slot in nicely next to its current Cancer and Menopause lines - more than a few AgeTech entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with have expressed surprise. By all accounts it seemed as if Unforgettable was well on its way to becoming the go-to Dementia community and marketplace, so it’s unclear why the company decided to exit so early and for a reportedly modest sum. But an exit in this market is certainly nothing to sneeze at, so a sincere congratulations to Unforgettable’s team and investors.
Genneve raises $4mm to manage menopause
Genneve, the startup focusing on “women kicking off the second half of life”, raised a $4 million seed round from BlueRun Ventures, Maven Ventures, and Startup Health. The telemedicine service instantly connects women experiencing menopause with OB-GYNs, helping them alleviate symptoms and obtain prescription medications if necessary. According to CEO Jill Angelo the goal is “to bring trusted experts, products and education to 500,000 women in the next 12 months”.
The company faces stiff competition from Rory, the sister company of erectile dysfunction startup Roman, as well as Procter & Gamble backed Pepper and Wits. Given that many women are uncomfortable visiting an OB-GYN and that nearly half of all U.S. counties lack a single provider, one of them stands to win big. “No longer are ‘post-baby’ women assumed to be invisible or irrelevant,” Angelo wrote announcing the funding. “Rather, we’re a hot investment”.
AlayaCare raises $51mm CAD Series C
AlayaCare, a Montreal-based startup which provides cloud-based software for home care providers, recently announced a $51mm CAD investment from Inovia Capital, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and Investissement Québec. Its SaaS platform helps care agencies manage all aspects of their business while saving time by automating routine clerical tasks.
Most interestingly, $18mm of the raise was used to purchase equity from early investors in the company, an unusual move for a company at this stage. It’s especially peculiar given how young AlayaCare is, having been founded in 2014. My guess is that it’s due to the lack of exit options. While there’s a ton of opportunity the AgeTech field is still quite new, so there aren’t many potential acquirers for certain startups, requiring them to go for broke with an IPO. By taking some risk off the table for early investors they’re able to lock in a good return while aligning on the IPO or bust plan.
Samsung backs out of Nuheara acquisition
Back in the first-ever AgeTech News Roundup I wrote (back then I called it “Silvertech”), I talked about how the hearing aid industry was being turned upside-down due to changing regulations and an explosion of startups entering the “Hearables” space. For a moment there it seemed as if the space had turned red-hot as Samsung subsidiary Harman International attempted to acquire Nuheara - an Australian startup whose product the NHS now prescribes - for a tidy sum of $55mm.
However, it later came out that the offer was rescinded at the last minute after Harman discovered that terms of the deal would have to be disclosed due to Nuheara’s listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Not having a deep background in M&A I’m puzzled by this, sure the deal is peanuts compared to Samsung’s $220bn+ market cap, but why kill a deal over disclosure? If you have answers shoot me an email, I’d greatly appreciate your insights.