Over the past two decades, the impact of software on business and consumer life has grown exponentially. Today, there’s an app or smart device in just about every domain, albeit some more practical than others. However, the use of software to influence health outcomes outside of clinical settings has been fairly limited, despite the obvious benefits of leveraging data to inform diagnostic and treatment decisions.
There are good reasons for this slow adoption. A malfunction in a connected juicer or social media app isn’t fatal, but a miscalculated insulin dose or poorly timed treatment recommendation could have serious adverse effects. Additionally, the data required to power these medical use cases requires the utmost privacy. The importance and sensitivity of healthcare data has led to regulation, and regulation tends to stifle the use of new, cutting-edge technologies. These regulatory and data protection hurdles aren’t insurmountable, but the same companies driving medical and pharmaceutical innovation rarely possess the internal technical expertise required to launch a compliant and secure consumer digital therapeutic.
A budding awareness of these challenges led us to start researching the market in 2019. We found that most existing digital health products were built from the ground up either internally or through a custom development shop. Both options are expensive, slow, and often prove unsuccessful despite the heavy investment. Moreover, biopharma and medtech companies remain responsible for navigating through a complex regulatory process and are exposed to legal risk if the software or connected medical device leads to a data breach.
Our first conversation with BrightInsight’s CEO Kal Patel, MD was in October 2019. At that time, it was clear that the company approached the problem differently as a truly product-based vendor. Kal and team recognized that the software infrastructure required to launch a digital therapeutic is largely consistent project-to-project, so they created a reusable platform to underpin clinical applications. BrightInsight could then greatly reduce time to value for customers while maintaining data security and privacy. Equally important is the fact that a standardized platform can be pre-screened by the FDA (by compiling and submitting a Design History File) and other regional regulators, which enables the BrightInsight team to quickly and smoothly secure approval for its customers’ projects built on the BrightInsight Platform.
6 months after that initial call with Kal, the company had doubled its customer count while materially growing its footprint in existing accounts – it was clearly hitting an inflection point. However, BrightInsight had raised $25M less than a year before and Kal thought it might make sense to wait for the Series B. The company’s growth projections were lofty, yet Kal had confidence in the forward performance. At this point, Insight had shown Kal its conviction for the market, so we made a very specific proposition: if we could also get conviction with the projections, we’d give him credit for this performance and align to a corresponding valuation. Fortunately, Kal kept an open mind. Through a quick, iterative diligence with Kal and team, we were able to get comfortable with the forecast and structured an investment that made sense for the company and board.
Now post-investment, we remain excited by what we’re seeing in the market. The rapidly growing digital health ecosystem has been further accelerated by a more urgent need for remote care in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, which should result in the continued release and use of new regulated digital health products built on BrightInsight. While the rapidity of adoption within this nascent market is still hard to predict, we’re confident that BrightInsight will play a central role in the proliferation of new therapeutics and, most importantly, an improvement in the quality of care for patients across the globe.