Healthtech/Analysis/

The 50 most active early-stage healthtech investors

Meet the government funds and VCs that have backed the most early-stage healthtechs in 2022, according to Dealroom

By Kai Nicol-Schwarz

High-Tech Gründerfonds investment team

Early-stage healthtech funding rounds are still rolling in, despite gloomy talk of downturns, layoffs and tumbling valuations at some of Europe’s biggest scaleups.

Fintech was the only sector that topped healthtech’s 250 deals in Q3 — snapping up just seven more — and total funding for early-stage healthtech startups in Europe this year is already at €3.9bn. While that figure might be short of the €5.8bn invested into the sector during the heady days of 2021, there are still two months left to play and sectors like femtech and at-home care are both on the rise.

So which investors have been busiest doing early-stage deals in healthtech this year — and what’s the gender diversity of their investment teams looking like? 

Using data from Dealroom, Sifted pulled together the most active early-stage (pre-seed to Series A) healthtech investors so far this year, by deal count (including follow-ons). Where possible, we confirmed the data with the most active. 

*Data pulled on October 26.

The most active early-stage European healthtech investors in 2022

Calm/Storm Ventures

Lucas Polagnoli, founder and managing partner at Calm/Storm Ventures, standing in front of a black background
Lucas Polagnoli, founder and managing partner at Calm/Storm Ventures

The Vienna-based healthtech VC launched its first fund — Calm Storm 1 — in 2020 with €20m in the pot, investing at pre-seed and seed stage. The fund has backed 53 startups so far and plans to back seven more before closing its second, which it will look to start investing at the beginning of 2023.

Healthtech focus: Digital health startups in Europe and North America. It’s particularly interested in tabootech — like sexual health, infertility issues, LGBTQ and mental health.

Healthtech investments in 2022: 29

Notable investments: 

  • Diabetes health platform Second Nature
  • At-home hormone testing startup Inne
  • LGBTQ+ sexual health startup Lvndr

Current gender split of investment team: Two men and one woman

Pitch to founders: “Calm/Storm is an exclusive founder network and boutique super-early-stage venture capital firm investing in purpose-driven founders changing our life, health and wellbeing for the better. With more than 50 startups in our portfolio we are the most active early-stage digital health investor in Europe. We have a particular focus on tabootech and love to invest in diverse founder-teams and have built a network of over 40 founders who support our entrepreneurs to calm the super-early stage storms.”

EIC Fund (European Innovation Council Fund)

The fund is owned by the European Commission and was launched in 2021 to bridge the early-stage funding gap in Europe and make it easier for European startups to hit scale. It has a budget of €3.5bn to be spent between 2021-27 and so far has invested €616m in 159 startups.

Healthtech focus: Deeptech startups in the healthtech sector

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: 25

Notable investments:

  • Molecule analysis biotech Lumicks
  • Implant startup ProVerum Medical
  • Medical imaging startup MedTrace

Gender split of investment team: EIC Fund has five men and no women working on its investment team, but tells Sifted an external alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) manages the fund, and it has no control over the appointments on that team.

Pitch to founders: “We are among the most active public investors in European deeptech and provide equity from €500k to €15m to breakthrough innovation companies selected for European Innovation Council Accelerator blended finance support (grant and equity). We bridge the funding gap for startups with seed capital to Series B financing, where market entry is at most in a pilot phase, to prepare the scaling up of breakthrough European innovations. Our aim is to crowd in other investors, further sharing risks by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding.”

Scottish Enterprise (SE)

The government agency exclusively co-invests public funding alongside private lead investors, and has two investment vehicles:

  • The Scottish Co-Investment Fund (SCF), provides loan funding of £250k to £2m to growth-focused Scottish companies
  • The Scottish Venture Fund (SVF), writing cheques of between £10k and £2m, as part of a total deal size typically ranging from £20k to £10m.

Healthtech focus: SE tells Sifted it doesn’t have a specific healthcare focus, and its investment decisions are driven by where there are funding gaps in deals led by the private sector.

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: 24

Notable investments: 

  • Microbiome startup EnteroBiotix
  • Respiratory illness diagnosis startup PneumoWave
  • Biotech dentistry company Calcivis

Gender split of investment team: 20 women and eight men (portfolio, transactions, debt and strategic investment teams).

Bpifrance

Bpifrance is a French public investment bank and sovereign wealth fund that has €36bn assets under management. It provides non-dilutive financing (subsidies, grants and loans), as well as equity, and launched its medtech and biotech fund Innobio 2 in 2019. The fund, its latest in the healthtech sector, made its first closing at $135m and will invest up to €14m alongside VCs in Series A and B rounds.

Healthtech focus: Biotech and medtech

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: 19 (according to Dealroom)

Notable investments: 

  • Telehealth unicorn Doctolib
  • Biotech DNA Script
  • Vaccine startup Valneva

Gender split of investment team: Sifted approached Bpifrance for comment but didn’t receive a response. 

Nina Capital

Spain women in investment Nina Capital

The Barcelona-based healthtech VC was founded in 2019, and backs startups from pre-seed to Series A in the US, Europe and Israel. It launched its second fund, the €42m Nina Capital Fund II, in September 2021.

Healthtech focus: Regulated medical devices (hardware and software) that are solving clinical needs — like oncology, cardiology/neuro, ophthalmology and endocrinology. Also tools (hardware and software) that improve the inner workings of our healthcare systems — like care management, clinical trials, health data portability, medical education and manufacturing and logistics.

Digital health investments 2022: 16

Notable investments: 

  • Breast cancer treatment startup Kheiron Medical Technologies
  • Cancer detection platform Elypta
  • Medical device startup Neurescue

Gender split of investment team: Three men and two women 

High-Tech Gründerfonds

High-Tech Gründerfonds investment team
High-Tech Gründerfonds investment team

The German VC was founded in 2005 and made both Sifted’s top seed stage and German VC lists over the summer. In June, High-Tech Gründerfonds announced the first close of its fourth fund, HTGF IV, having secured commitments for more than €400m. The investment period will start in Q4 of 2022.

Healthtech focus: Medtech, diagnostics, R&D tools and digital health

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: 16

Notable investments: 

  • Cancer therapeutics startup Emergence Therapeutics AG
  • RNA-based therapeutics for heart failure company Cardior Pharmaceuticals
  • Liver disease treatment startup Alentis Therapeutics

Gender split of investment team: 12 men and seven women (life sciences and healthcare investment team)

Pitch to founders: “At HTGF, we not only offer investment know-how, but also understand your specific needs and provide the right expertise to support your innovative business ideas. We have both entrepreneurial expertise and an understanding of science, medicine and practical applications, and have invested in around 200 life science companies since 2005.”

Parkwalk Advisors

Founded in 2013, Parkwalk Advisors is a London-based VC investing in university spinouts from pre-seed to Series B, and has two active funds: 

  • Parkwalk Opportunities Fund, which has £270m assets under management and launched in 2013
  • Parkwalk Knowledge Intensive Fund II, which has £22m assets under management and launched in 2022

Healthtech focus: Parkwalk invests in spinouts from UK universities and research institutes — specifically deeptech companies with defensible IP or know-how in solving a significant problem. Its focus in healthcare covers digital health, medical devices, genomics, drug discovery and therapeutic platforms.

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: 12

Notable investments:

  • Genomics analytics platform Congenica
  • Drug discovery startup PhoreMost
  • Pet biotech startup PetMedix

Gender split of investment team: Six men and three women

Pitch to founders: “Since launching 13 years ago we have backed over 160 companies in 400 rounds with over £400m of investment, from pre-seed to Series B and AIM-listed. We seek to support companies with the benefit of the experience that our track record brings. We take a collaborative approach, seeking to align founders, management and other stakeholders and have co-invested with many of the key players in the UK ecosystem and beyond.”

Enterprise Ireland

The Irish government agency invested €28m in 125 startups in 2021. It has a number of active investment vehicles, including a €175m Seed and Venture Capital (SVC) scheme, backing other funds, and the Halo Business Angel Network — which has invested €15m across 47 deals.

Healthtech focus: Medtech, biotech and enterprise software

Healthtech investments 2022: 10 (according to Dealroom)

Notable investments:

  • DNA analysis startup Nuritas
  • Clinical research startup Teckro
  • Medtech startup Perfuze

Gender split of investment team: 14 men and 10 women (board of directors and executive committee of the investment team)

Business Growth Fund (BGF) 

BGF was set up in 2011 to address the lack of funding for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. It has written cheques to the tune of more than £3bn over the past 11 years, investing from a permanent balance sheet as opposed to a series of fixed-life funds raised from outside investors.

Healthtech focus: Diagnostics, digital health and medtech, as well as tech supporting drug discovery and development.

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: Eight

Notable investments:

  • Femtech Elvie
  • Workforce management software for primary and secondary care Lantum
  • Personalised therapeutics startup Closed Loop Medicine

Gender split of investment team: Four men and three women (early-stage investment team)

Pitch to founders: “BGF operates a unique investment model, providing patient minority-only capital to help ambitious early-stage companies. Our long-term model means we can look past economic cycles and typical investment horizons to find the right solutions for individual businesses. As investors across multiple growth stages, we provide access to a powerful BGF ecosystem, supporting national and international expansion through our relationships and collaborative culture.” 

Capital Cell

The Barcelona-based equity crowdfunding platform was founded in 2014 and focuses exclusively on biotech. The proposition is that Capital Cell does the due diligence and approves a number of startups that ordinary people can then invest in. Round sizes go up to €2m and the platform has invested €71m in total since launch.

Healthtech focus: Biotech and medtech

Early-stage healthtech investments 2022: Eight (according to Dealroom)

Notable investments:

  • Alzheimer’s early detection startup ADmit Therapeutics
  • Medical device startup VB Devices
  • Diagnostics startup Methinks Software

Gender split of investment team: Sifted approached Capital Cell for comment but didn’t receive a response.

The top 50

While we confirmed these figures with the most active investors where possible, we know that due to reporting lag some of the earliest-stage deals may not be counted in the figures below. If you think there is anything wrong with the list, please get in touch at [email protected] and let us know.

Kai Nicol-Schwarz is a reporter at Sifted. He covers healthtech and community reporting, and tweets from @NicolSchwarzK.

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