Higi Raises $40 Million Venture Round To Expand Its Health And Wellness Platform

Chicago-based health and wellness startup Higi announces that it has closed a $40 million venture round from a group of undisclosed investors. The fresh funding is Higi’s first publically disclosed investment, though in its announcement the startup notes that many of the investors that participated in the current round were returning investors from a previous, undisclosed funding round. The company launched in 2012 with the goal of building a health and wellness network by installing wellness kiosks in retail locations across the US, and then integrating the data captured by those stations with a health and wellness app.

Higi Raises $40 Million Venture Round To Expand Its Health And Wellness Platform

Higi have made remarkable progress on its vision in the three years since its launch. The company has partnership agreements with Shaws, Stop and Shop, and RiteAid that has resulted in Higi wellness kiosks being installed in 4,000 retail locations. Higi says that 75 percent of the US population now lives within five miles of a Higi kiosk. Each kiosk is equipped to measure blood pressure, pulse, weight, and body mass index. This information is captured and stored in Higi’s app, where users can set goals, trend their results, and track their progress. Higi also coordinates community fitness challenges and allows users to earn tangible rewards like gift cards for competing in challenges and keeping up with their goals. In December, Higi announced that it would partner with Validic, a health data interface engine, so that users could sync their Higi app with other fitness apps to exchange even more information. With the addition of Validic, users can now also automatically upload blood pressure or glucose readings from their own at-home medical devices. Between its expansive retail footprint and its partnership with Validic, Higi now controls an impressive network of access points to its health and wellness platform.

Read more...

The Race For Early-Detection Cancer Screenings Heats Up

The CDC estimates that 39.7 percent of the general population will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, resulting in an annual toll of more than 500,000 deaths and $125 billion in healthcare spending. For oncologists working on the front lines of cancer care, one of the most important predictors of mortality is how early a patient’s cancer was discovered. Breast cancer, for example, is the single most common cancer diagnosed in the US and aggressive treatment options have driven the survival rate for breast cancer to near 100 percent for patients whose cancer is discovered early. However, when breast cancer is not discovered until later survival rates plummet. Patients with Stage III breast cancer tumors only have a 72-percent survival rate, and patients diagnosed with stage IV tumors face a daunting a 22-percent survival rate.

The Race For Early-Detection Cancer Screenings Heats Up

For decades, public health campaigns have focused on promoting self-examinations and routine screenings to help ensure that tumors are found early, giving oncologists far better odds at a positive outcome. While these public health efforts have improved cancer detection rates in the US, many cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, have no standard screening tests and are often asymptomatic until it is simply too late to effectively treat the tumor. What oncologists desperately need is a single, standard screening test that can detect early stage cancers of all types. This kind of broad-based screening test is at the center of a number of high-profile research labs across the US, where oncologists are working with everything from DNA sequencing, to breathalyzers, to nanoparticles in their efforts to improve cancer screening.

Read more...

Flatiron Health Raises Massive $175 Million Series C

Digital health investment activity has been notably active since the start of 2016, with nearly $250 million in fresh capital announcements coming in just the first week of the new year. By a wide margin, the largest funding round thus far has been Flatiron Health’s newly announced $175 million Series C funding round, led by pharmaceutical giant Roche, with additional participation from Allen & Company, Baillie Gifford, and Casdin Capital. The new investment brings Flatiron’s total raised to $313 million, a huge sum for a technology company working in healthcare.

Flatiron Health Raises Massive $175 Million Series C

To provide some context, Flatiron’s new round would have been the second largest in all of 2015, coming in just behind NantHealth’s $200 million investment from Allscripts. Despite having no active customer base, Flatiron has now surpassed other highly-funded digital health startups, including ZocDoc, 23andMe, and Proteus Digital Health. What makes Flatiron even more impressive is that it has passed these other startups in a fraction of the time, having only launched in 2012. At its core, Flatiron is a specialty EHR company – a market segment that investors appear to be bullish on. In 1999, when Athenahealth launched, it managed to raise $40 million in its first three years of fundraising, a fraction of the financial backing Flatiron has attracted over the same time period. As part of the new funding round, Roche has committed to buying several of Flatiron’s products and using them within its cancer drug development business units, an important development as it represents one of the company’s first major clients.

Read more...

Fitbit Slapped With Class Action Lawsuit Over Heart Rate Accuracy

Fitbit has been named in yet another lawsuit, this time in the middle of the CES conference as it launches a new product line and works to keep consumers excited about its offerings. Unlike the last several suits, its newest legal troubles are not coming from a competitor, but rather its own customers. Fitbit was named in a class action lawsuit filed in the Northern District Court of California this week, with plaintiffs alleging that its heart rate sensor is unable to accurately record heart rate during intense physical activity, despite marketing materials that claim it can.

Fitbit Slapped With Class Action Lawsuit Over Heart Rate Accuracy

Fitbit relies on an LED-based optical sensor that illuminates the capillaries directly under the skin and then counts the change in capillary size as the heart beats. It’s a method that is widely adopted in the fitness tracker industry, with Basis, Samsung, and Apple all including the technology in their wearable devices. Optical sensors can be accurate under the right conditions, but to accurately capture real-time heart rate readings during periods of intense activity, a chest strap-based heart rate monitor is far more accurate. CNET hired Kaiser Permanente cardiologist Jon Zaroff, MD to evaluate the accuracy of heart rate sensors found within a group of fitness trackers and concluded that optics-based sensors were only reliable at a resting heart rate. Zaroff explains that by the time blood gets to the wrist, it has already slowed down. This does not impact accuracy when heart rate is below 100 BPM, but as a user’s heart rate climbs, wrist-based sensors will struggle to maintain an accurate reading. As a result, most fitness tracker manufacturers carefully word the marketing material that goes out with new products.

Read more...

Under Armour Unveils $400 Digital Health Kit At CES

In 2015, Under Armour announced that it would make major investments in its digital health ecosystem in an effort to win the space and, ultimately, draw in the kinds of fitness enthusiasts that make up the bulk of its customer base. This vision met reality in February 2015, when the apparel company dropped more than $500 million on its acquisitions of MyFitnessPal and Endomondo, immediately establishing itself as a major player in the digital health fitness sector. One year earlier, Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million and as a result, Under Armour now controls a digital health ecosystem with 150 million active users spread across three fitness apps. While Under Armour trails its chief rival Nike in total revenue, its digital platform is now five times larger than the Nike+ platform.

Under Armour Unveils $400 Digital Health Kit At CES

Under Armour has spent the months since its acquisitions weaving its apps into a single platform called UA Record that pulls information from its own apps as well as competitors to present users with a snapshot of sleep, fitness, activity levels, and nutritional information. Under Armour has also been working with R&D partner HTC on several new supplementary hardware options. This week, at CES 2016, the company unveiled its new hardware platform, called UA HealthBox.  Retailing at $400, Under Armour’s new fitness devices are being marketed as the “world’s first Connected Fitness system.” HealthBox includes a fitness tracker that measures steps, resting heart rate, workout intensity, and sleep patterns; a wireless scale; and a chest strap that tracks heart rate during exercise. All of the information collected from the devices is automatically pushed to Under Armour’s digital health platform, creating a seamless, synchronized ecosystem. Under Armour also announced a new smart shoe that monitors exercise duration and distance, and two models of wireless headphones, one of which monitors heart rate.

Read more...
↑ Back to top

Founding Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors