Zurich-based digital health scaleup Oviva has raised an $80m Series C — one of Europe’s largest healthtech raises so far this year, as the pandemic-fuelled boom in healthcare demand continues to drive investment.
This is Switzerland’s largest digital health round this year, and brings Oviva’s total funding up to $115m, following its $21m Series B in January 2020. It’s also the latest in healthtech’s lucrative year, after Swedish startup Kry raised $300m in April 2021, tailed by French startup Alan’s €185m raise in the same month.
The round was co-led by Sofina and Temasek, with existing investors AlbionVC, Earlybird and several angel investors participating, among others.
The company, which was founded in 2014, provides diet and lifestyle coaching for those with diet-related health issues, such as heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. Oviva has developed an app, which combines interactive coaching led by hired dieticians, to help users prevent future risks of health complications.
It’s part of a growing hub of European healthtech startups that have burgeoned post-pandemic. From 2016 to 2021, the combined valuation of European healthtechs has grown over 6x — from $8bn to $41bn. With Covid making face-to-face appointments and immediate access to health services difficult, the healthtech market’s seen “five to 10 years of change in 18 months,” according to Corinne Berger, head of communications at Oviva.
The pandemic also created a fertile funding environment for digital health scaleups; now, investor interest in the industry is “radically different to what it was seven years ago, with more investors with larger funds having an increased interest in digital health,” adds Berger.
And it’s not just the private sector that’s taking note — governments across Europe are also starting to recognise the potential healthtechs have to offer alternative services to traditional healthcare. Oviva provides the NHS England Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme, which to its knowledge is the “largest prevention programme in the world, targeting 200k new enrolments per year.”
Policy changes in Europe, such as the Digital Care Act in Germany created in 2020, have also enabled customers to reimburse prescribed digital health apps through German health insurers. Belgium followed suit with a similar approach in 2021, making apps such as Oviva much more accessible to the general public. It’s also a sign that policy-makers and insurers are taking digital health services more seriously.
With consumer health apps reportedly making up the third-largest chunk of healthtech services in Europe, Oviva also has plans to expand into European countries “where support for people to improve their diet and lifestyle is reimbursed by healthcare payers,” says Berger — or where countries are open to making new partnerships with digital health apps.
The company also sees potential for acquiring businesses that enable it to offer wider services to patients, such as mental health or physical therapy. It’s eyeing businesses that would allow it to grow its established network and healthcare provider base — and to “leverage its technology to digitise its care, [and] to build value for its patients and payers.”