Investing in Healthtech: Seeding and Scaling Healthcare at the Intersection of Software, Data, and Empathy

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Insight Partners had a banner year, with more than $50 billion in capital commitments and over 200 investments in 2021. While we invest in founders across a wide spectrum of businesses, this series focuses on outlining our theses on four verticals that we’re particularly excited about in 2022: artificial intelligencefintech/crypto; cybersecurity; and healthtech.  

Insight has long fostered innovation in healthcare by investing in and scaling growth stage healthcare software companies. Recently, we have begun widening our scope by both startup stage and business model to further impact health outcomes, quality, and costs. 

Over the past six months, Insight has been accelerating into healthcare. We have invested in health data operating platforms with companies like Kintsugi, a mental health API using voice biomarkers to detect signs of clinical depression and anxiety; Iterative Scopes, a company providing AI-driven, precision-based medicine for gastroenterology; and Trialjectory, a patient-first platform accelerating clinical trial recruitment and treatment decision support in Oncology. We’re also hyper-focused on software at the infrastructure layer with investments in companies such as PriorAuthNow (solving medical prior authorization) and Skyflow (digital privacy), and we continue to invest (and reinvest) in our deep healthcare companies changing care outcomes with data, like Clarify Health and Viz.ai.

With dry powder from our new $20 billion Fund XII and a healthcare system that is still expensive and inefficient, Insight is doubling down in healthcare. Here’s how we’re thinking about the sector in early 2022.

Insight is leading in Computational Care

“Digital health” is too incremental a term to describe the future that Insight wants to catalyze. Instead, we say “Computational Care,” which to us means unlocking an antiquated, oligopolistic healthcare system with software powered by data and empathy. We are thinking long-term and we are thinking big.

We’re investing in healthtech at every stage…

Before product-market fit is achieved, our Computational Care thesis is biased to special teams with technological moats, the right business model for the problem at hand, and a glimmer in the eye for distribution. No company is too early – we’re looking for companies at any stage who align with our thesis.  

For companies achieving product-market fit, we run Insight’s world-class ScaleUp playbook, but with healthcare characteristics. With a combination of “do the work” diligence and the industry’s most value-additive post-investment scale resources (such as our Insight Onsite team), we seek to help CEOs and founders create overwhelming go-to-market momentum with an increasing flywheel of user and data network effects.

…and in every time zone

We have applied this strategy to investments in every corner of the world except Antarctica. We’ve invested in cybersecurity companies in Israel, fintechs in Africa, and e-commerce platforms in LatAm, to name a few, because founders can now build innovative companies almost anywhere. We are seeing the green shoots of progress that software and entrepreneurship can improve health in every major market, and we know that some of the best new approaches and technologies will be created elsewhere and brought to the huge and expensive US market. We aren’t afraid to push the envelope on new models and methods of care delivery because the future of healthcare should—and will—look very different than it does today. Most of healthcare will be rebuilt in our lifetime.

We take a “software AND” approach to investing

At Insight, our bread and butter is software. It’s the common denominator underscoring each of our investments. As a result, our deal teams look at companies through a “software AND” lens: What issues are being solved by the software? What science, discipline or work function is the software helping advance? Once we understand the answers to these questions, we can bring the right expertise, to the right founders, at the right moment.

In healthcare specifically, “software AND” looks a bit like this:

  • Deep tech teams like those engaged in the future of neuroscience, liquid biopsy, battery-less digital bandages, and science-fiction quality ideas on the future of biomarkers
  • Science and clinical teams that are considering the next generation of women’s health, reimagining surgery and devices, and new models to improve disease-specific or demographic-specific challenges
  • Deep product and design-centric teams creating better user experiences for clinicians, care teams, patients, and consumers directly. We are determined to rebuild aging care, for example, and love finding software that empowers “health extenders” like pharmacists, EMTs, nurses and even parents to practice Marvel-quality superpowers with empathy, at scale
  • Software that powers network effects to solve previously inefficient, expensive processes, from the supply chain, to smarter healthcare transactions, to better shared knowledge

We’re unlocking healthcare with the right questions

The future of healthcare is much bigger and better than today’s conventional thinking. In every large oligopolistic part of the market, we ask: How do we find the right founders to unlock this with the right capability and the right business model? Every single “business of healthcare” today is ripe for change.

Our mission is to create better healthcare outcomes for all, and this includes examples like:

  • Data-driven infrastructure that creates an actual learning system of informed, intelligent care, and then makes that available at greater scale and lower costs to providers taking new approaches to healthcare
  • Versions of insurance that facilitate, not frustrate, a desire to allocate society’s resources to serve patients with empathy and efficiency
  • True consumer-driven healthcare where go-to-market scales like consumer software, but where ROI is measured in clinical quality and outcomes rather than clicks and prescriptions

We are moving past the simplistic first phase of digitizing care and tacking it on to a bad system. Now is the time for software and founders to rebuild care, both from the inside out and outside in. We are here to back and scale those founders.

Investing in Cybersecurity: A Look into 2022

  • Scott Barclay, Managing Director

    Scott Barclay is a Managing Director at Insight Partners based in Palo Alto. His Computational Care thesis envisions the future of US and global healthcare built at the intersection of empathy and scalable technology.  Scott’s early career traversed capital markets with Banc of America Securities in Europe and the US, The Boston Consulting…