Some philanthropists have been in the startup arena for decades and have successfully started multiple companies spanning multiple sectors; San Francisco native Ara Chackerian is one such man. Himself and various VC firms, backed by doctors sharing the same view, believe that a change in attitude toward the healthcare technology sector may be looming around the not-so-distant horizon.
With the the recent acquisitions of healthcare companies from tech giants like Google (Senosis), Apple (Sherpaa), and Amazon (PillPack), NGP Capital’s John Gardner agrees with Chackerian that “we are seeing the emergence of real, scientific wellness companies that combine genomic/biometric screening with rigorous population analysis and coaching support.”
Having created healthcare startups relating to vital technologies such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, in addition to eco-friendly Teak tree startup Limonapa Teak (which both supply Teak wood used on yachts and help Nicaraguan families who desperately need work), Chackerian knows the healthcare technology sector well. He shares the view of Dr. Bijan Salehizadeh: “We need more entrants to buy digital health companies.”
Now in looking at the areas with the highest numbers of venture capital investments, Manhattan is at the top of the pack. In 2017 the city drew close to $703 million across 79 companies; Modernhealthcare’s Jonathan LaMontia shares the view of NYC Health Business Leaders’ report, which is that it “included companies in the healthcare categories of devices and supplies; services; technology systems; pharmaceuticals and biotech; and other healthcare.” VP of NYC’s OrbiMed, Imran Babar, concurs with Chackerian that in the past, “One of the issues is that health tech startups often lose money initially,” which has rightfully made them unattractive. Yet because of these recent tech giant acquisitions, the climate seemed to have shifted toward one more inclusive of healthcare diagnostics and technology; these behemoths are jockeying for position at world domination which is clearly not excluding healthcare; Take the Apple Watch, for example, and its ability to monitor your heartbeat.