21st Century Medicine: Where Big Tech Is Placing Bets In Healthcare

Tech has already had a major impact on the healthcare industry in areas such as medical record systems, connected medical devices, telemedicine software, and a growing number of digital therapeutics startups that help patients manage chronic conditions at home. And over the last few years, the largest tech companies in the world have begun to bolster both internal development of healthcare products as well as their private market activity in the health sector.

For instance, Amazon is now reportedly making a foray into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy business. Engineers have trained a deep neural network to identify abnormal heart rhythms with 97% accuracy using the Apple Watch. And Samsung, best known for their mobile phone business, is building a future as a contract manufacturer of pharmaceuticals.

Below, we compiled a list of the top 10 tech companies in the US by market cap (as of 5/18/17) and analyzed their private market activity in the healthcare space.

The companies on our list include the following corporates and their associated venture arms. Telecommunications companies such as AT&T or Comcast were not included:

  1. Apple
  2. Alphabet
  3. Microsoft
  4. Amazon
  5. Facebook
  6. General Electric
  7. Oracle
  8. Intel
  9. Cisco Systems
  10. IBM

Annual financing history

Since 2012, the top 10 tech corporates in the US have participated in healthcare deals totaling $6.2B over 143 deals. Deals and funding into the sector with participation from these corporates has increased every year since 2012 to hit a high of 41 deals last year and $2.7B in funding, triple the funding total in 2015.

Funding this year has already reached over $1.5B spread across 18 deals. That’s already more dollars to the sector so far this year than in 2015. At the current run rate, 2017 is on track to reach $4B across 48 deals, a 5-year high for tech corporates participating in deals to healthcare startups.

Deals completed this year include the $130M Series D of Clover Health from investors including GV, the $52.5M Series D of Livongo Health from investors including Microsoft Ventures, and the $914M Series B of GRAIL, backed in part by Amazon.


Business social graph

Key takeaways:

  • Google: Google is the most active tech corporate investing in healthcare in the United States. Virtually all of its activity has gone through GV. capitalG, Google’s growth equity fund, has made investments into Oscar Health and Practo Technologies while Google itself has co-founded Calico Life Sciences and acquired Lift Labs. Lift Labs develops a swiveling spoon that makes eating easier for patients with neurodegenerative hand tremors.
  • Recent GV investments include everything from health insurance (Clover Health) to gene therapy (Fulcrum Therapeutics) to vaccine development (SpyBiotech).
  • Google has not been shy about investing in therapeutics. In addition to Fulcrum Therapeutics, GV has made deals to Magenta Therapeutics, Spero Therapeutics, Arcus Biosciences, and Forty Seven all in the last year. Magenta is working on stem cell transplantation, Spero is focused on bacterial infections, and Arcus Biosciences and Forty Seven develop cancer immunotherapies.
  • General Electric: Once focused on lighting and electricity, the modern GE is a multinational conglomerate operating across many sectors. It is also one of the most active healthcare investors among US-based tech corporates. Recently, the company has made deals to HealthReveal, which monitors and predicts adverse health events, EMR data analytics company Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, and primary care provider Iora Health. The largest deal with GE Ventures participation was the $220M Series B of genome sequencing company Human Longevity in 2016.
  • Apple: Apple has made very few investments in healthcare startups despite diving into the sector internally with services such as HealthKit, CareKit, and ResearchKit. Apple has made two recent acquisitions in the space, however. In August 2016 the company acquired Gliimpse, developers of a personal health data platform, and in May 2017 acquired Beddit. Beddit develops a sleep monitor that tracks heart rate, breathing, snowing, and sleep quality.
  • IBM: IBM has invested through both its corporate entity and the IBM Watson Group. While IBM Watson is an natural language AI platform, the company has made deals to both pharmaceutical and genomics companies such as Pathway Genomics (2014, 2016), Lodo Therapeutics (2016), and Petra Pharma (2016), and ApoGen Biotechnologies (2016).
  • Amazon: Amazon’s only healthcare investments in the past 4 years have been to cancer diagnostics company GRAIL and baby monitoring startup Owlet Baby Care, the latter being backed by the Amazon Alexa Fund. Steve Rabuchin, VP of Amazon Alexa, has stated they plan to integrate Owlet with Alexa. In March of this year, Bezos Expeditions and Amazon participated in GRAIL’s $914M Series B.
  • Intel: All of Intel’s investments in healthcare startups have gone through their venture arm, Intel Capital. The corporate entity has made two acquisitions in healthcare, Basis Science (2014), and IDesia (2012). Basis Science developed heart rate and activity monitors while IDesia offered security identification technology based on a person’s unique heartbeat. Intel has participated in numerous rounds to both CareCloud and Sotera Wireless. Carecloud is a provider of cloud-based medical record and billing software while Sotera Wireless develops wireless devices for in-patient monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and other biometrics.
  • Others: Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle have all demonstrated limited private market activity in healthcare since 2012. Below we listed a few deals with participation from these corporates.
    • In 2014, Facebook acquired Finland-based Protogeo, a developer of fitness tracking apps.
    • Microsoft has made two healthcare deals since 2012, one from the corporate entity into Advanced Dental Cloud, and one through Microsoft Ventures to Livongo Health. Advanced Dental Cloud makes software for modeling dental implants and Livongo Health combines coaching and connected devices to improve diabetes management.
    • Oracle has made one acquisition and one equity investment into healthcare startups since 2012. They acquired clinical trial management software provider ClearTrial in 2012 and participated in Proteus Digital Health‘s $45M Series F in 2013. Proteus has raised on 4 other occasions since then, with no disclosed Oracle participation.
    • Cisco has made no equity investments in healthcare companies since 2012. The one deal shown on the social graph above refers to a grant made to Teslon in January 2017.