Global: Early-stage healthcare companies boosted by funds

Suci Arumsari, president director of Alodokter

The outlook for early-stage funding last week was given a boost with two major funds looking to help healthcare companies expand.

Israeli med-tech venture capital fund Peregrine Ventures has launched its US$300m fifth fund. The growth fund – called Peregrine Growth – will invest US$20m to US$30m per funding round, with a strong emphasis on companies which are on the verge of an IPO or M&A.

Peregrine invests in sectors such as medical devices, pharma and digital health.

“With the renewed focus on biotech, health, and life science in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the potential of Peregrine Growth is great. Many industry executives are aware that insufficient funds have been invested in healthcare and pharma technologies, and therefore expect that the life science sector will experience significant growth over the next decade. Institutional investors are taking note of the trend and will be allocating a larger percentage of their investments toward life science,” said Eyal Lifschitz, managing partner and co-founder at Peregrine Ventures.

Peregrine’s portfolio companies completed exits totalling more than US$2bn to date, among them Valtech and Neovasc, among the largest exits in the field of medical devices in Israel’s history. Additionally, the fund has invested in and helped develop numerous successful companies in the medtech field, including medical devices, biotech, pharma, aesthetics and digital health, such as Memic, CartiHeal, Cordio and Magneto.

Elsewhere, specialist healthcare private equity firm TVM Capital Healthcare and GE Healthcare intend to collaborate to support and accelerate the growth of transformational healthcare companies across emerging healthcare markets in the ASEAN and MENA.

The objective is to provide healthcare companies with the opportunity to tap all possible options to improve their clinical quality, refine their growth strategy, increase market access, and by honing operations, reduce the cost of healthcare provision.

“Our investments are driven by extensive research to ensure that we meet gaps in healthcare provision. We passionately believe that the implementation of new technology not only in digital health, remote health and precision health, but also in process and supply chain management provides ways to better serve patients and an expected specialisation of services will complement public hospital-based systems,” said Helmut Schuehsler, chief executive and chairman of TVM Capital Healthcare in Singapore and Dubai.

In Indonesia, Jakarta-based telemedicine major Alodokter has raised Series-C extension funding from MDI Ventures, a corporate venture capital initiative by Telkom Indonesia.

This is an extension of the US$33m Series C funding it raised last year. Former investors such as Sequis, Golden Gate Ventures, Heritas and Hera Capital also joined this extension.

“This funding brings together Telkom Indonesia’s public service mission for Indonesians and Alodokter’s business approach to supporting general healthcare. We will utilise this funding to scale up our ability to deliver on the expectations of Indonesian users and enhance our digital health platform to be more robust, accessible and affordable,” said Suci Arumsari, president director of Alodokter.

In Europe, it was a story of mental health startups last week.

Via crowdfunding, Mendi, the Swedish developer of a brain enhancement device for home use, has raised €3m to help develop a neurofeedback device.

Founded in 2018, the company raised the money via Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

The company uses advanced sensors to measure brain activity. This is then visualised in a training app. The company claims that users can train the prefrontal cortex (PFC) area of their brain to control the brain’s pathways.

Investors include Almi Invest and Propel Capital as well as Vinnova.

And Paris-based BrainTale, which enables adapted care for brain injured patients, has raised €1m in seed funding.

The financing round, which comprises a loan from Bpifrance, gathered investments from business angels, industry- and healthcare-professionals. Led by Angels Santé, Paris Business Angels, Femmes Business Angels and Arts&Metiers Business Angels also took part.

“This first financing milestone is a leading step towards our journey to enable adapted care for patients with neurological diseases. It enables our development and commercialisation strategy implementation,” said chief executive Julie Rachline.

Created in July 2018, the company’s first CE marked product is brainQuant, a SaaS solution providing brain lesion quantification from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

BrainScore-coma, a SaaS solution combining brainQuant and artificial intelligence algorithms for predicting coma emergence of patients in intensive care after severe brain injuries is expected to receive CE marking by the middle of next year.

And in Africa, Swedish development finance institution Swedfund has taken a US$1m stake in women’s health platform Kasha Global.

The femtech e-commerce platform, which is based in Rwanda and Kenya, enables access, education and confidential distribution of women’s contraceptives, menstrual and health products, primarily to underserved women.

Social impact is integrated in Kasha’s business model and is centred around three core themes: access to health products, access to health information, and employment and improved livelihoods for low-income women.

“Kasha is a women-founded and women-led tech company, that strives to make it easier for women, especially low-income women, to access genuine products and information for their health and personal care,” said Maria Håkansson, chief executive of Swedfund.

Funds will be used to accelerate growth and impact across Kenya and Rwanda, improve its platform and support its expansion into other African countries.