It’s been a sobering year for digital health startups in Europe.
The sector has picked up just $1.4bn in funding in 2023 so far — it raised $3.2bn across the whole of 2022 — and fallen further than European tech as a whole.
While Babylon’s dramatic collapse over the summer has done nothing to settle the nerves of founders looking to convince investors to part with their cash, there is still cause for optimism.
A number of digital health startups are still flying in the face of tough macroeconomic headwinds, and Sifted has tracked down the fastest-growing teams over the past 12 months.
Workplace health insurance and elderly care startups feature prominently on the list, alongside a smattering of others covering personalised nutrition, skincare and practice software.
Headcount data for the past year has been pulled from Dealroom. All the companies featured were founded after 2005 and — to avoid the results being skewed by small businesses making a flurry of hires — startups needed to have raised $50m or more to make the cut.
Zoe is a personalised nutrition app set up by scientist-turned-Instagram star Tim Spector, alongside cofounders Jonathan Wolf and George Hadjigeorgiou.
After starting out in the nutrition space in 2017, the startup pivoted its app to track symptoms of Covid during the pandemic and was instrumental in tracking early symptoms of the illness. Before losing government funding for the project in 2022, its Covid app had 4.7m users.
Since pivoting back to nutrition, the startup has become the best-funded in a nascent but growing gut microbiome sector. Between 2021 and 2023, it raised $57.5m across several rounds of an extended Series B.
Team growth last 12 months: 136% to 419 employees
Total funding: $84.5m
GetHarley is a skincare platform that connects people to dermatologist clinicians who then recommend products. It raised $52m in June 2023 from investors including Index Ventures and Headline.
Team growth last 12 months: 64% to 90 employees
Total funding: $67.2m
YuLife provides health and life insurance for staff at companies via a gamified app that encourages policy holders to complete daily “wellness activities”. It raised a $120m Series C in July 2022, from investors including Creandum, LocalGlobe and Target Global.
Team growth last 12 months: 54% to 337 employees
Total funding: $207m
Birdie provides elderly care agencies with a software platform that helps them to plan visits, and monitor and store key information about patients that are living at home.
It raised a $30m Series B in June 2022, during a year that saw a number of elderly care tech startups pick up funding (including Cera, another startup on this list) as investors wised up to the huge opportunity in the sector.
Team growth last 12 months: 48% to 183 employees
Total funding: $55m
Patient21 acquires and outfits dental clinics with management software for appointment booking and patient data, alongside providing a patient-facing platform that allows them to look at their digital case history, access diagnoses and plan treatment. It has recently begun to launch GP and women’s health clinics, too.
The startup raised €70m in equity in May 2023 — the biggest digital health round in Europe so far this year — alongside a further €30m in debt financing.
Team growth last 12 months: 44% to 117 employees
Total funding: $212m
Cera helps elderly patients and their carers manage at-home healthcare via an app that allows users to log symptoms and schedule appointments, as well as a recruiting platform for care providers.
It raised £260m in August 2022 — split roughly 50/50 between debt and equity — setting it up as the clear frontrunner in the elderly care sector.
Team growth last 12 months: 27% to 580 employees
Total funding: $303m
Padoa is a health platform for employers, providing access to healthcare for employees and risk analysis in the workplace. It last raised in an €80m round in February 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 23% to 223 employees
Total funding: $116m
Peppy is a workplace healthcare platform, connecting employees with healthcare professionals for advice and treatment on menopause, fertility, men’s health, women’s health and baby care.
It last raised in a $45m Series B in January 2023, after the company 10x’d its revenue over the previous 18 months.
Team growth last 12 months: 21% to 215 employees
Total funding: $57.6m
Castor is a clinical trials platform that looks to simplify the process of running clinical trials by creating a more seamless patient experience. It last raised in a $45m Series B in July 2021, featuring Eight Roads Ventures.
Team growth last 12 months: 19% to 233 employees
Total funding: $64m
Alan provides companies with health insurance for the workplace and is one of Europe’s best-funded digital health startups — behind Sweden’s Kry and the now-defunct Babylon.
Team growth last 12 months: 15% to 879 employees
Total funding: $542m