Stratospheric Growth of Health Startups is a Gamechanger for the Ecosystem

By Pere Duran.

If I had to use one word to describe the health startup ecosystem, it would be healthy! We are witnessing a stratospheric rise in the number startups, giant leaps in innovation and record levels of investment to match. In just four years, the market grew from $70 billion to $172 billion (Statista 2017 Global Digital Health Market & Digital Health & Care Institute).

What we are looking at is the entry ramp to a giant upwards curve that signals a wholesale transformation in how medical care is understood and delivered. In a field defined by cutting-edge science and innovation, we are on the precipice of a change that could have the most important impact on human existence.

The digital revolution has already been widely enjoyed by consumers around the globe, opening up new avenues for commerce, connecting us to one another and delighting us with new forms of entertainment. In the realm of health, advances in connectivity, corporate investment and start-up innovation can mean the remote delivery of medical advice, robotic surgery powered by 5G and enhanced pharmaceutical research using artificial intelligence.

By 2025, we estimate that Health wearables will become part of the solution to overstretched public health systems. Currently 5% of adults over 55 in high income countries own a connected device prescribed by their doctor. By 2025, that number will be over 50 (GSMA Intelligence). Such a big and impactful metamorphosis deserves the convening of its stakeholders. For the last few years at 4YFN, we have hosted the Digital Health & Wellness Summit – a dedicated programme focussed on health innovation during the world’s most influential startup event, hosted in conjunction with our partners ECHAlliance. I would love to say that we weren’t surprised by the success of the Summit, but the fact is that we were truly wowed.

The appetite for health content as it relates to startups is clearly enormous. Of course it helps that Barcelona is a leading hub for medical research and innovation, but the event is impressively international and more and more so each year. It was with all of this in mind that we decided to create an entire real estate presence for the health sector at 4YFN 2020. The Health & Wellness Hub will host the vertical ecosystem for a mix of exhibition, pitching activities, networking and more, in addition to the Summit co-organized by ECHAlliance.

It has already proven to be an incredible success. The exhibition area sold out before it was even launched and we are reviewing plans to expand it to accommodate all of the amazing enthusiasm for the new hub. It turns out health is hungry and we have a duty to help develop ecosystems that are expanding quickly.

There are still many opportunities to get involved, through sponsorship and on-stage talks or simply picking up a ticket to attend. Of course exhibition space is stretched, reflecting the incredible number of ambitious startups keen to connect and grow. Head over to https://www.4yfn.com/barcelona/health-hub/ for more information, or feel free to get in touch directly if you’re interested.

Huge thanks to our partners ECHAlliance for helping to realise this step change in startup innovation in the health sector and to including Biocat, EIT Health, Digital Attraxion, Barcelona Health Hub and ACCIO for their support.

I hope to see you all at 4YFN 2020 – get involved before it’s too late!