Wearables & Quantified Self: Top 5 Largest Deals 2023

August 1, 2023

In the first quarter of 2023, the medical wearable devices industry witnessed a series of exceptional deals, with the top 5 largest deals surpassing £28 million collectively. These deals not only emphasise the growing demand for advanced medical wearable technology, but also accentuate the swift pace of innovation propelling the healthcare industry towards a more technologically capable future.

1. Peerbridge

On 24th February 2023, US based healthcare technology company Peerbridge raised £13.50 million from investors HealthX Ventures and Mendota Venture Capital. Other undisclosed investors also participated in this round.

Peerbridge is an innovative healthcare technology company that specialises in remote monitoring solutions designed to advance patient care. Their state-of-the-art medical wearable technology features a two-channel and three-lead ECG sensor, providing heart rate and rhythm information, and enabling continuous vital sign monitoring from the comfort of a patient’s own home. Through cloud-based algorithms, patients can stay connected to medical professionals, ensuring timely and proactive care. Peerbridge’s groundbreaking approach revolutionises healthcare delivery, fostering improved patient outcomes and paving the way for a future of personalised and connected care.

The capital raised will accelerate the progress and implementation of Peerbridge Health’s cutting-edge AI-powered remote diagnostic platform, harnessing the formidable potential of electrocardiography (ECG) to anticipate and discern the prevalent chronic ailments that significantly impact individuals. With heart disease responsible for one in every four deaths in the US, and more than half of Americans suffering from a chronic illness like heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, or diabetes, the timing is right for a simpler, faster, and cheaper solution to address these health challenges in a more meaningful way.

Chris Darland, current Co-Chief Executive Officer and President at Peerbridge, brings extensive experience and expertise to his role. Prior to his current position, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of the company. Tamanna Bembenek, Chairman of the Peerbridge Health Board of Directors, expressed confidence in Darland’s leadership capabilities and highlighted his remarkable track record in fostering growth and profitability. Regarding Darland’s promotion, Bembenek stated “His exceptional leadership style combined with his track record of driving growth and profitability make him the ideal leader to guide Peerbridge Health to the next level.”

Since the completion of the transaction, Peerbridge has taken significant steps to strengthen its organisational structure by welcoming four distinguished individuals to its board of directors:

  • Mark Bakken, Founder and Managing Partner of HealthX Ventures
  • Patrick Horan, Global Vice President of the ~$200M Ecolab Healthcare, OEM Division
  • Nick Jackson, Co-Founder and Principal of Mendota Venture Capital
  • Greg Tracy, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Propeller Health

Together, these new board members, in collaboration with Bembenek, will provide strategic guidance and oversight to Peerbridge Health, enabling the company to continue its path of innovation, expand its market presence, and venture into new territories.

AveryFairbank’s Talent Prediction

“Through our market analysis, we discovered that Peerbridge currently don’t have a CFO in their leadership team, nor do they have a financial expert on their Board. While they may just be receiving funding from Ascent Biomedical Ventures, Mendota Capital and HealthX Ventures at the moment, they all hold a combined average round amount of around $5 million, which isn’t a blockbuster round pool to work with. If Peerbridge wants to raise a larger round in the future a CFO could be a game-changer for the company.

A skilled CFO would bring financial expertise, strategic guidance, and investor relations acumen, especially providing a network of larger institutional investors. CFO’s also engage with analysts and other industry players, thus acting as a pivotal force for additional marketing. This move would greatly enhance Peerbridge’s ability to secure capital and fuel its future growth.”

Charlie Fairbank, CEO

2. Caretaker Medical

Baxter International led a Series B funding round that raised £6.11 million for US company Caretaker Medical on the 27th February 2023.

The innovative wireless patient monitoring platform developed by Caretaker Medical aims to establish a seamless connection between clinicians and their patients throughout the entire care journey. The company’s device facilitates continuous monitoring of vital signs, ensuring ICU-level accuracy in a convenient wearable and non-invasive package. This not only empowers patients to achieve improved health outcomes and maximise compliance without sacrificing comfort, but also enables hospitals to realise cost reductions and enhance overall patient outcomes.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Pompeo, played a key role in securing the recent investment, which will serve as a catalyst for the company’s ambitious growth plans, facilitating a rapid expansion into new markets while also propelling product development efforts to new heights. The deal has also led to a significant increase in the company’s workforce, with the number of employees more than doubling since March 2022, now totaling 54.

With a notable background as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ADI Engineering for over nine years, Jeff Pompeo brings extensive experience in strategic initiation to his role as CEO of Caretaker Medical. During his tenure at ADI, he demonstrated his proficiency in overseeing operations and financial planning for strategic investments and new initiatives. Given his successful track record, Pompeo is poised to lead Caretaker Medical as CEO for the foreseeable future, leveraging his strategic acumen to drive the company’s growth and success.

AveryFairbank’s Talent Prediction

“The recent retirement of David Gerdt, the Co-Founder & Chief Scientist at Caretaker Medical, coupled with the current trajectory of the company, seems to beg the question of whether they intend on replacing the Chief Science Officer (CSO) and look to explore new innovative products or whether they will purely focus on expanding the market presence of their flagship product, VitalStream.

In my opinion, it may be more advantageous for Caretaker Medical to strengthen Johnny Mann’s team, particularly since there are several Sales & Territory Managers located in Charlotte, North Carolina or surrounding states. If they were to venture down this route, it could lead to the expansion of  the sales team in major cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and the West Coast could greatly contribute to revenue growth for the company.”

Charlie Fairbank, CEO

3. Pons

American company Pons announced a second seed round deal that is currently in progress and is set to raise £4.08 million from undisclosed investors on 2nd February 2023.

The developer offers a cutting-edge digital health platform integrating wearable ultrasound technology with artificial intelligence. This platform enables point-of-care diagnostics of critical injuries, specifically traumatic brain and spine injuries. By automatically identifying and categorising these injuries using ultrasound scans and advanced computational tools, the platform aids qualified medical professionals in assessing the probability of a traumatic brain injury promptly. This timely evaluation can make a crucial difference, potentially saving lives and improving patient outcomes.

Motivated by a deeply personal tragedy, the co-founders of the company, Soner Hacihaliloglu and Ilker Hacihaliloglu, Ph.D., embarked on their entrepreneurial journey. The untimely loss of their father, which could have been avoided with swift medical imaging conducted outside a traditional hospital setting, served as the catalyst for their determination to revolutionise the field by developing innovative solutions that transcend the boundaries of conventional diagnostics.

Soner Hacihaliloglu’s background in technology, including his roles at Gerson Lehrman Group and BEAD Technologies, equips him with the expertise to develop innovative medical technologies with life-saving potential. His brother, Ilker Hacihaliloglu, has over 10 years of experience in healthcare software research and development, and brings a diverse skill set in areas such as medical imaging, machine learning, and surgical planning. Together, they form a formidable duo capable of integrating cutting-edge technology into practical clinical applications, driving advancements in the medical wearable technology industry.

AveryFairbank’s Talent Prediction

“Given that their device is not yet FDA/CE approved, a commercial or business development focused hire may be slightly premature for the company, however they will be looking to make the transition to having patients as users soon, so hiring for this role now may provide a swifter path to commercialisation.

A more pressing hire that AveryFairbank would recommend however, would be a financially focused individual, most likely a Chief Financial Officer. Initial development and customer acquisition costs are likely to be high when bringing their product to market, especially when factoring in the integration and uptake time of new healthcare products, against a backdrop of processing and operational inefficiencies, resistance to change and lack of technological integration present within the North American and European healthcare networks respectively. 

From this perspective, a CFO hire would be a sensible hire to ensure that Pons are being prudent with their capital and effectively budgeting under macroeconomic conditions which create challenges for non revenue generating life science enterprises.”

Dylan Leach, Senior Executive Search Consultant.

4. Byteflies

Byteflies, based in Belgium, raised £3.24 million of venture funding from investment fund Sensinnovat, several business angels and VLAIO on 2nd February 2023.

Byteflies exists to foster the advancement of wearable health applications. Their offerings encompass a cutting-edge wearable component sensor dot, capable of capturing biopotential signals, muscle activity, eye movement, and activity-related signals utilising an integrated inertial measurement unit. This sophisticated technology empowers pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and technology firms to transform the healthcare landscape and enhance patient outcomes by harnessing valuable insights from wearable data.

The primary objective of the funding is to expedite further expansion, leveraging existing partnerships with 35% of Belgian hospitals, and establish widespread accessibility to the underlying patient data platform. This will enable comprehensive remote monitoring of patients across their entire care journey, reshaping healthcare delivery and ensuring continuous virtual monitoring capabilities. This is in line with the prevailing shift towards remote patient monitoring and adopting a patient-centric approach, reflecting the industry’s growing emphasis on leveraging technology to remotely monitor patients and prioritise personalised care.

Hans Danneels, the Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Byteflies, brings a wealth of expertise in the realm of Internet of Things (IoT), which is commonly utilised in modern medical wearable devices, stemming from his tenure as an IoT Application Engineer at Nokia Technologies. 

Hans De Clercq on the other hand, Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and Co-CTO of Byteflies, brings a PhD in wearable and wireless solutions for long-term vital signs acquisition, making him an ideal leader for developing medical wearable devices that enable remote patient monitoring, thereby enhancing outcomes and experiences.

AveryFairbank’s Talent Prediction

“As Byteflies continues its expansion into Belgium and other parts of Europe, establishing strategic partnerships with private hospitals and public healthcare authorities becomes crucial. To meet the rising demand for its groundbreaking monitoring systems, Byteflies must ensure its manufacturing and logistics capabilities are scalable.

To address this need, we at Avery Fairbank would strongly advise Byteflies to consider hiring a Chief Operating Officer (COO). A seasoned COO would bring invaluable expertise in various areas, including Manufacturing, Operations, Quality Control, Supply Chain, Procurement, and Customer Service, specifically within the medical device industry.

By leveraging this expertise, Byteflies can effectively scale up its manufacturing efforts in a cost-effective manner, positioning itself as a key player in the European device sector”

Yacob Derradji, Senior Executive Search Consultant

5. Waire

UK based company Waire raised £2 million in a deal led by Eos Advisory grossing £2 million on 23rd January 2023. Scottish Enterprise and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round.

Waire has developed a wearable vital sign monitoring device called C-Detect that serves to detect early signs of high-risk conditions like sepsis in patients within general hospital wards or at home. By analysing patterns in vital signs, the device proactively identifies potential developments before they escalate to life-threatening levels. The device operates in hospitals and homes autonomously, reducing costs and improving outcomes through continuous real-time monitoring and advanced artificial intelligence. This investment positions Waire to scale its sensor technology, enhancing remote ward monitoring and reducing hospital readmissions. 

The firm’s strategic allocation of funding aims to bolster its workforce, tripling its staff from 10 to potentially 30 individuals this year. This growth initiative encompasses the expansion of the management team, fortification of production capabilities, and intensification of product development efforts. Moreover, the company aims to expedite its penetration into international markets, particularly in North America, as part of its ambitious expansion strategy.

Dave Hurhangee assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Board Member at Waire. With a notable career trajectory, Mr. Hurhangee commenced his pioneering work in wearable technology during the 1980s, specifically focused on radiation monitoring for Ministry of Defence nuclear submarines stationed at Rosyth. His profound expertise and experience position him as an invaluable asset in his role as CEO of Waire, enabling him to leverage his in-depth understanding of the intricacies of wearable device development and application.

AveryFairbank’s Talent Predictions

“With the CEO’s ambitious plan to triple the staff headcount and prioritise North America as a strategic market, the significance of an effective hiring strategy cannot be overstated for Waire. However, for startups, accessing US talent often comes with a hefty price tag, leading them to heavily rely on consultants. 

In my view, this reliance might not provide the same level of credibility and reputation, especially when entering a new market. A cost-effective and remarkable alternative for Waire to consider during its expansion into the US market is the inclusion of a seasoned Board Member whom the CEO can rely on for guidance and expertise from the industry’s global leaders.”

Charlie Fairbank, CEO
Abstract Digital Technology

Published on 01-08-2023

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