Speedinvest Blog

Digital Health in Europe: Southern Europe is Picking up the Pace

by 

Co-author: Felix Fein

December 6, 2021

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, CEE and Benelux digital health startup ecosystems. This blog post is the first attempt to systematically chart the digital health startup ecosystem in the Southern Europe region

Southern Europe is a subregion of Europe that encompasses 15 countries. But for the purpose of this article, we will focus on Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, as we covered the rest in our CEE digital health startups map. The region is home to several startup success stories, such as courier service, Glovo, online staffing marketplace, Jobandtalent, and ride-sharing company, Cabify. With digital health activity increasing across the continent, Southern Europe is picking up pace as well. We’re seeing increased activity in the space and expect more success stories to come out of the region. 

In our previous macro analysis of the European digital health ecosystem, we found out that Southern Europe ranked last in terms of digital health VC funding. An updated version shows 96 startups founded in the region between 2010 and 2021, receiving a total of €317 million. Similar to Benelux, Southern Europe is still a young market where digital health companies received an average of €3 million per startup. For reference, more mature markets like the UK and France have an average of between €9-12 million. There is still plenty of space to grow and raise mega rounds in the near future, so make sure to keep an eye on Southern Europe!

The data: 96 startups that shape the Digital Health ecosystem in Southern Europe

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 Southern Europe Digital Health startup ecosystem. In line with our previous methodology for our geo-mapping, we’ve included both funded and unfunded companies that were founded in the last ten years. 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!

Screening & Diagnostics

Screening & Diagnostics includes companies that offer diagnostic services, mostly by applying AI to medical image analysis. Quibim raised €17m to build an ecosystem of whole-body imaging analysis tools; Frontwave Imaging developed a 3D ultrasound supercomputing software for breast cancer imaging; Galgo Medical provides imaging solutions for different medical disciplines; and Methinks uses AI to analyse CT scans and detect acute stroke cases.

On the provider support side, Mediktor raised $15.8m for an AI medical assistant for triage and pre-diagnosis, GenomeUp uses AI for diagnostic support and Accexible focuses on disease detection through speech analysis. Braingaze offers detection and treatment for cognitive disorders, while Time is brain develops tools to improve diagnostics, treatment and prognosis of patients suffering Acute ischemic stroke (AIS), 

From a consumer perspective, Melio enables people to do convenient blood tests and build their health profiles over time.

Women’s Health and Family

We have aggregated two sub-categories into this segment.

First, women’s health has seen increasing activity with significant amounts of money going into companies in this space. Some startups, such as Woom Health and B-wom, focus on wellbeing, while others such as Emjoy are tapping into the sexual wellness space.

Second, from a family perspective, we have Lactapp, an app dedicated to breastfeeding and motherhood; Doppli allows continuous monitoring of a baby's heartbeat during pregnancy; and Liip, a vital signs monitoring device for babies.

Elderly Care

Between 2000 and 2019, life expectancy has increased by more than six years (WHO). This means that the population is growing older. Following this trend, we see more and more companies tackling problems in the elderly health space. 

Companies include at-home care providers, Qida, Cuideo and Cuidum, AI-powered virtual care, Tucuvi, and monitoring solutions, Safe365, Durcal and TeiaCare. Other companies such as digital fitness provider Actif and longevity platform Rosita Longevity focus on general wellbeing and health and increasing people’s healthy lifespan.

Enabling Tech for Providers

Companies in this segment give healthcare professionals access to tools that facilitate their job and make health delivery more efficient and effective.

One subsegment is SaaS tools for providers, such as practice management platform, Freddie Med, and clinical pathway builder, Uphill.

Some startups focus on facilitating online delivery of care. Knok and mediQuo, who each raised around €6m, as well as TonicApp, offer physicians the possibility to consult with their patients online, give electronic medical prescriptions and organize patients’ medical histories. Sherplay helps them to easily capture patient data and Biodocumed digitizes medical documents.

Other companies give doctors easy access to products they need for their practice. Salupro is a warehouse of dental and vet products, while Claire provides eye care professionals with virtual technical support, calculations, and ordering tools for contact lenses. 

More data-focused products include Nucleode, which enables neurosurgeons to have access to more data, and OncoStats, an oncology data management platform.

We see many opportunities to make processes more efficient in the compliance space, as healthcare is a heavily regulated industry. One such company is Chino.io, which aims to help digital health startups overcome the regulatory challenge with a digital health compliance solution.

Zooming in on clinical resource management, Surgiq provides real-time tracking tools for the entire patient care pathway and MyCareforce connects nurses and caregivers with available shifts.

Mental & Workplace Health

We have decided to combine these two important buckets, given most workplace health providers focus on the mental health of employees. The pandemic made all of us realize the importance of mental health: unfortunately, mental health has reached the mass market, which is clearly reflected in investment activity with global investment in mental health surging above three billion US dollars in the first three quarters of 2021 in the US alone. 

Southern Europe is home to companies like emotional wellbeing app, Meyo, and VR for mental health platform, Psious. Zooming in on cognitive science, Sincrolab and Restorative Neurotechnologies help patients use the power of technology to recover and develop their cognitive abilities.

We are excited to see more and more interest for health coming from employers. To fulfil the demand, there is a growing number of workplace health companies, especially in the mental health space. Koa Health, who recently raised  €30m, ifeel who raised $9.7m and Oliva Health, all offer mental health support to employees. 

Elma has a more general proposition, offering digital health insurance, and Healthy Virtuoso wants to keep people healthy by offering rewards based on activity levels.

Consumer

While this is a broad space with many different sub segments, most companies in Southern Europe fall into three main buckets.

First, we’ll take a look at solutions centered around topics like fitness and nutrition. FitPrime is a marketplace for sports centers; Wowego, PunchLab, Mammoth Hunters and Buddyfit offer access to at-home workouts, while Prevenzione a Tavola is an online cooking platform.

Second, we see a number of online pharmacies, such as Farmaconfiaza, Mille Farmacie and PromoFarma. Biocol Labs is a DTC play focused on plant-based products, while Pharmercure delivers medicines to your house.

Third, there are a number of companies playing in the beauty industry, such as the online marketplace, SheerME, and personalized hair care brand, Shampora

Disease Management & Therapeutics

This segment includes companies that help patients self-manage their conditions with only light-weight, professional support. Southern Europe is home to diabetes management platforms like forDiabetes, SocialDiabetes and Insulclock, as well as digital rehabilitation platforms, Morecognition and Euleria, and remote patient monitoring tool, HumanITCare. IDoven helps patients monitor their heart at-home.

On-Demand Care 

On-demand care startups give users access to online health services and help providers manage their patients more efficiently. Players in this segment include pure digital offerings, usually in the form of marketplaces, such as Top Doctors, who raised  €15.8m to provide access to doctors. Add to that clinics like ClinicPoint, epiCura and Optyfy. Other players like Nuna and Melapus focus on specific conditions, providing access to online therapy.

R&D and Trials

This segment is all about enabling the pharma and life industry to conduct more efficient research & development, finding the right candidates for trials and managing medical data more effectively. 

Companies that focus on clinical trials are Patch AI, a real-world evidence data collection and patient engagement tool which was recently acquired by Alira Health; and Qmenta, who uses neuroimaging AI to transform clinical trials outcomes.

We see a lot of interesting activity in the drug discovery space. Accure Therapeutics helps pharma companies to treat people with central nervous system diseases; Achilles Vaccines built a new model for vaccine creation, while iLoF facilitates precise, patient-centric drug development. InSilicoTrials leverages modelling and simulation to cut costs and timeline in drug development and e-Nios is a genomic interpretation platform. 

Some solutions are centered around data. IOMED, Savana and The Patients Resource accelerate clinical research with automatic data capture or electronic medical records, and Seqera Labs helps life science companies manage complex data pipelines.

An exciting, vibrant mix!

Southern Europe is an increasingly exciting area for digital health: A good mix of very young and more advanced companies, fostered by a healthy investor landscape and important players like the Barcelona Health Hub, make for a robust ecosystem.

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!

With Iomed and Seqera Labs we are proud investors of two digital health portfolio companies in the region and are looking forward to meeting more! If you want to get in touch, or would like to comment on any of the content above, please feel free to reach out to Daria Gherghelas or Felix Fein.

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