Digital health funding hits $15B in the first half of 2021

The Data: Global venture capital funding for digital health totaled $15 billion in the first half of 2021—driven largely by telehealth investments, which accounted for about 30% of all digital health funding in H1 2021, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group. That’s a 138% increase in funding activity compared with the $6.3 billion raised in H1 2020. Digital health funding so far this year already surpasses all digital health funding from 2020—and it’s the largest amount raised in a single year since 2010 (when the Affordable Care Act was passed, sending a wave of investments into innovative health ventures).

Telehealth companies brought in over 105 deals—a 147% rise compared with last year’s $1.7 billion raised across 79 deals. Telehealth was the largest area of digital health investments ($4.2 billion), followed by wellness ($1.7 billion), mobile health apps ($1.6 billion), analytics ($1.5 billion), and clinical decision support ($1.1 billion).

A breakdown of some of the most notable funding hauls:

  • Ro reeled in a whopping $500 million in March. The direct-to-consumer (D2C) telehealth company has an aggressive expansion plan underway—it wants to expand its in-home offerings, build more pharmacy distribution centers, and grow its in-house network of providers.
  • Hinge Health raised $310 million in January—boosting it to a $3 billion valuation.
  • Capsule captured $300 million in April, which it’s using to build out a one-stop-shop online marketplace for D2C digital health solutions (in addition to its existing digital pharmacy business).
  • Lyra Health raised $200 million in June, catapulting its valuation to $4.6 billion and setting itself on a trajectory to expand its telemental health platform internationally.

Why this isn’t so surprising: Investments in D2C telehealth are breaking records even as telehealth utilization drops off.

  • Telehealth use is plateauing: It fell 37% from its pandemic high to the end of Q1 2021, per Trilliant Health’s analysis of 70 billion medical claims data representing over 300 million patients across the US.
  • But telehealth use is still 38 times higher than before the pandemic, according to a recent McKinsey report.
  • And consumer interest is holding strong: About 40% of consumers say they’ll keep using telehealth, which is up from the 11% who used it before the pandemic. Moreover, 40% to 60% say they’re interested in broader telehealth solutions, per a June 2021 McKinsey Consumer Health Insights survey.