Digital Health in Europe: The Untapped Potential of CEE
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 and DACH Digital Health startup ecosystems. This blog post is the first attempt to systematically chart the Digital Health startup ecosystem in the CEE region.
Digital Health in CEE: A sector waiting to be discovered
Central and Eastern Europe is a vibrant region that encompasses twelve countries as defined by the OECD - Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and we’ve also included five companies from Montenegro, Belarus and Moldova - and has about 318 million inhabitants. It is home to 661,187 developers and several startup success stories, such as UIPath, Avast or Telerik, to name just a few. It’s an extremely interesting ecosystem and still underexplored, so we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on Digital Health startups in the region (for broader real-time analysis of CEE startup activity, we recommend signing up to Marcin Szelag’s authoritative newsletter).
When it comes to Digital Health CEE has a lot of untapped potential. In our previous macro analysis of the European Digital Health ecosystem, we found that the CEE region ranked second to last in Digital Health VC funding. 92 Digital Health startups have been founded between 2010 and 2021, receiving a total of around €234m in VC funding. The region is undercapitalized and, at €500k, has the lowest median funding per startup in Europe. To put this in perspective, in the UK, the median funding amount per Digital Health startup is €12.3m, while it’s €9.4m in France and €8.7m for DACH.
But as an earlier analysis of ours pointed to, Digital Health in Europe has entered a huge period of growth and, as such, we expect to see a lot more activity in CEE in the future.
The data: 92 startups that shape the Digital Health ecosystem in the CEE region
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 CEE 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!
On-Demand & Generalist Care
The strongest field in the CEE Digital Health ecosystem is on-demand care which falls into two main buckets.
The first bucket is marketplaces focused on a specialty such as dental medicine (Gumzzz, Booking.dentist, IziDoc), medical tourism (Bookimed, Booknowmed, Clinic Hunter) or private healthcare (Heymedica, Medo, Manodaktaras, Telemedi.co).
This category includes horizontal tools for health providers that aim to make daily processes more efficient. Hilbi improves communication between physicians and their patients, while Medicai allows easy document and image exchanges between doctors and patients. Stemi connects Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams with hospital teams in cases of stroke, trauma or cardiac emergencies.
More infrastructure-focused products include Oncall.MD and Healee who offer tools for providers to implement telehealth platforms. Some segments leverage the power of data and analytics. Aida Diagnostics uses AI to predict usage of blood in hospitals. Adora helps surgeons access patient data during surgery.
While this is a broad category, most CEE activity in this space is centered around topics like fitness, wellness and nutrition. Companies include Hyperhuman (workout videos with reusable fitness content), EXFit (workout trainer), Solo (workout tracking) or FitAdept and Foodgroot which analyze the nutritional and health impact of food. Several players also provide personal well being solutions, such as personal growth app Growapp and self-reflection app Vos.health.
Digital Therapeutics (DTx)
Digital Therapeutics from CEE include Ate.today (food tracker in diabetes), Abastroke (therapy for cognitive conditions), Vigo (rehabilitation for stroke survivors), Adiquit (smoking cessation app), FaceRehab (rehabilitation for face palsy patients) and PriMedical (preventive healthcare service).
Screening & Diagnostics
The third strongest field in CEE is Screening & Diagnostics, which includes mostly AI-powered medical imaging, but also some general diagnostics players.
General diagnostics players are Infermedica, one of the most successful Digital Health companies in CEE (raised $15m and offers diagnosis and triage services to insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies), Powerful Medical which helps physicians with the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and Revolab which delivers at-home blood tests.
Patient engagement solutions represent only a small slice of the ecosystem, but include the most successful Digital Health company from CEE to date, Docplanner. They have raised $140.5m for their booking platform since their founding in 2011 -- and have since branched out to become a more integrated practice management solution. Aside from Docplanner, Medevio helps patients retrieve information about their surgeries; Medtransfer makes it easy to share imagining test results with your doctor; and Whisp is a relocation service for medical care.
Specialized Care & Services
This category includes platforms that help patients tackle a specific condition. We’ve also included mental health, women's health, elderly and family health players in this bucket.
Chronic care patients account for a huge share of the global healthcare spend, but are an underserved market in CEE. One of the few players is Vitadio, a personal companion for diabetes patients.
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 the CEE Digital Health ecosystem through companies like Wellbee (online psychotherapy), Bright Health (an app that helps people cope with anxiety and depression), Mindpax.me (support for people with severe mental illness), Goodville (game for emotional wellbeing), Twojpsycholog (online therapy), Mindspa (mobile app for mental wellbeing), Naomi Health (virtual mental health assistant).
We are excited to see a number of medical employee benefits companies in CEE. Activy (mobile games promoting physical activities for employers) and SanoPass are all playing in this market. While FitPuli, HearMe and Mindgram (raised $2.2m) are focusing on workspace mental health.
We are seeing many software solutions for life sciences, most of them centered around data. Cogvio (drug price monitoring), Longenesis (biomedical data for research), DeepTrait (AI in drug discovery), Mediately (drug information), Healcloud (raised €3.7m to build data networks that aggregate health “big data”). Molecule.one has raised $5m and is an AI for synthesis planning.
Companies that focus on clinical trials and recruitment are Findmecure (clinical trial management SaaS) and Interestingsamples (that collect home blood samples for clinical trials). Doctrina raised $1.7m to help pharmaceutical companies educate pharmacy employees with short product videos.
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:
- French Digital Health startup ecosystem
- Digital Health startups in DACH
- Digital Health Exits in Europe: 10 Years Just Happened in 12 Months
- Digital Health Exits in Europe: Q1 2021 Update