This blog is part of Digital Health in Europe: A Data-Driven Blog Series by Speedinvest. Building on our analysis of 600+ Digital Health startups founded in Europe in the last decade and our overview of the French, DACH and CEE digital health startup ecosystems. This blog post is the first attempt to systematically chart the digital health startup ecosystem in the Benelux region.
Benelux is a politico-economic union of three neighboring states: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and has about 29 million inhabitants. It is home to several startup success stories, such as Adyen, Collibra and MessageBird to name a few.
In our previous macro analysis of the European Digital Health ecosystem, we found that Benelux ranked second to last in digital health VC funding. 99 startups have been founded in the region between 2010 and 2021, receiving a total of €305 million. Even with new data showing increased activity, the region still remains quite underfunded. To put this into perspective, the next largest market, France, received €689 million in total. This is perhaps not surprising seeing as digital health startups in the region receive an average funding of only €3 million per company. Compare this to €12.3 million in the UK, €9.4 million in France, and €8.7 million in the DACH region. There is clearly still room for mega-rounds, with few companies passing the Series A stage.
The aim of this blog is neither to be exhaustive nor to rank startups, but rather to take a first stab at charting the main characteristics of the Benelux digital health startup ecosystem. In line with our previous methodology for the geo-mapping, we’re only including companies that build health-focused software and were founded in the last eleven years, but this time we’ve included both funded and unfunded startups. We’ve used Dealroom.co, Crunchbase and our own CRM as the main data sources.
If your company is not on the map and you’d like to be included, please fill in this form and we’ll add you!
Companies in this segment give healthcare providers horizontal tools that aim to make health delivery more efficient.
One subsegment is SaaS products for providers. Virtuagym raised $10.2m to help gyms, physical therapists and studios bring their businesses online. Medicpad is a general medical software management system, while Siilo raised €14m to build a secure messaging app where healthcare professionals can coordinate patient care and discuss difficult cases. Awell Health allows them to implement care pathways for better patient outcomes and AI Worx uses AI to automate processes in health. Stokhos proactively relocates ambulances for maximum efficiency. Other startups that focus on efficiency are Deo, with their operating room efficiency platform, and Into.care that provides effective healthcare staff management software.
Some startups such as Spentys with their custom-made immobilization devices and FusedBone with their cloud-based medical device production services streamline the medical device manufacturing process.
More data-focused products include Lynxcare, who leverages the power of data analytics to improve patient outcomes, Digile, who is building a drugs database, and Orikami, a SaaS platform for digital biomarkers.
Screening & Diagnostics is the field with the largest number of digital health companies in the Benelux ecosystem. Onera Health is part of this category and has raised $24m to build the next generation of medical grade sleep diagnostics.
Most companies offer B2B software solutions for various diagnostic use cases, such as AI for pathology or radiology images. Examples include Quantib that raised €9.4m to build an AI radiology software, SkinVision that raised €10m for a skin cancer detection mobile app, and Aidence that raised $14m for an AI-powered lung nodules analysis solution. Deepdee is working on AI for diagnosing eye diseases. Voicemed is AI and sound analysis for COVID-19 screening. Linda Care raised €8m to build remote monitoring solutions for implantable cardiac devices, while Healthplus.ai focuses on post-surgery infection detection.
While this is a broad category, we see most solutions centered around topics like fitness, wellness and nutrition. Morla Moves is a virtual movement coach for at-home fitness; Calio and Healz focus on general fitness and wellbeing, respectively, while Clear has developed a real-time blood glucose measurement solution to optimize your health and nutrition. In the area of medications, Viteezy and Compliment focus on personalized vitamin packs; Pharmasimple is a full online drugstore; and Medapp helps you track your medications. Dearly supports you after the loss of a loved one and Tolooba focuses on memory enhancement.
Digital Therapeutics help people manage their conditions digitally. Examples from the Benelux region include Lilo and their personal cardiovascular health coach, Zest’s nutritional platform for cancer management and prevention, DhealthIQ’s personalized digital therapeutics, RenalTracker’s kidney patient education and training, and Nori Health with their DTx for people living with inflammatory conditions.
We have aggregated two sub-categories into this segment, both touching the life sciences sector.
First, startups that facilitate drug discovery processes. UgenTec raised €12m to help labs automate their sample workflow. Elementa Labs developed a voice-assistant for lab researchers, while Core Life Analytics focuses on data analytics for life sciences in the cloud, and Enpicom has their end-to-end platform that removes the complexity of managing and analyzing immune repertoires.
Second, clinical trial management Saas solutions such as Castor who raised $64m and is one of the most funded digital health companies in the region. Other startups on the map in this vertical include myTomorrows who raised €20m and iClusion.
On-Demand Care represents a small slice of the Benelux digital health ecosystem. It includes startups like Telemedi, Diagnose.me, and Pact who facilitate access to healthcare through telemedicine. Easee has developed an online eye assessment tool, while Medvice focuses on triage. Heal2Go, Touristdoc and Flymedi, on the other hand, have built medical tourism marketplaces.
This category includes patient-interfacing and care management solutions that facilitate interaction with patients, such as patient monitoring tools Be Sure for stroke patients and Neurocast’s passive monitoring solution. FamilyPlug allows families and friends to stay in contact with an immobilized patient. SurgAccord assists both patients and doctors prior to a medical procedure; Andaman7 enables the secure exchange of health information and Helpilepsy is a digital assistant for people with epilepsy and their neurologists.
More and more employers are concerned with their workforce's health and adopt digital solutions to improve it. Benelux is home to several well-being platforms such as Inuka Coaching, Healthy Workers and Quan, as well as sleep coaching platform Shleep.
Specialized care is a broad bucket aggregating solutions across multiple verticals: chronic, mental health, women’s health and elderly care.
Mental health is becoming a more prominent segment with global investment surging above half a billion pounds in 2020 and the pandemic-induced mental health crisis. This is reflected in Benelux through companies like Openup and Curefinder that allow patients to talk with a therapist, AI mental assistant, PsyScan, and VR solutions like NeuroReality and Psylaris.
Women’s health has seen a wave of new entrants over the past few years across Europe, but for Benelux it’s only a small slice of the ecosystem. Startups in this market like Grip Fertility focus on fertility, while others like Baubo focus on menopausal health.
Chronic disease patients cost healthcare systems billions annually, making it an attractive niche for startups. Companies like Reducept and Biekos provide therapy for chronic pain; Indigo Diabetes raised €45m to develop a sensor to monitor glucose levels and FibriCheck raised $12m to help patients manage their heart health.
Increasing life spans means that the population is growing older. Following this trend, we see more and more activity in the elderly care market. Cubigo is digitizing the common functions within senior living communities; Kepler Vision and Sensara develop monitoring software for fall detection algorithms; and Zembro created a personal alarm for seniors.
We started our series on digital health in Europe because, to date, there has been way too little coverage of this exciting sector in Europe. While trying to be as comprehensive as possible, we probably missed some great companies in the map above. If your company is not on the map and you’d like to be included, please fill in this form and we’ll add you!
Read more from Speedinvest's Digital Health series: