Huma, a company that aims to put a mini hospital in everyone’s pocket, has just raised $130 million to expand into the US

  • UK medtech startup Huma has raised $130 million from German pharma giant Bayer and Hitachi Ventures.
  • CEO Dan Vahdat says the “exciting part” of the health tech industry has not yet started.
  • The industry has been tipped to save up to $3 trillion a year in medical costs by 2030.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A medical technology that aims to place “mini hospitals” in everyone’s pocket has raised $130 million to help fund its push into US, Asia, and the Middle East.

London-based Huma, previously known as Medopad, has raised the funds from a host of big names including German pharma giant Bayer, and the venture funding arm of Japanese tech giant Hitachi.

The medtech industry has been widely tipped to slash the cost of healthcare by using sensors to monitor patients continuously and detect problems early on. A recent study from McKinsey found the advent of medtech could reduce global annual spending on healthcare by up to $3 trillion – or 20% of the total cost expected by the end of the decade.

Huma has already agreed deals with four national governments in England, Wales, Germany, and the UAE. Apple also has a partnership with Huma that allows the medtech company to use the Apple Watch to monitor vital signs.

The company dubs itself as a “hospital at home” provider that uses a host of apps to constantly monitor the wellbeing of patients, rather than just when they arrive at a doctor’s office. Huma claims its technology can reduce hospital readmissions by over a third with clinician capacity almost doubling. It allows doctors to look at real-time data on their patients such as blood pressure and glucose levels, either through smartphones or standalone devices.

Huma chief executive Dan Vahdat said there were a range of factors that had driven intensive growth in the health tech industry.

“Five or 10 years ago, technologies like the smartphone didn’t have enough computing power, and they weren’t as accessible, nor as accurate medically,” he told Insider.

“I do believe when COVID-19 happened, that also accelerated the need for healthcare systems to use innovations to address all the extra patients with the same number of resources and hospitals.”

Vahdat said medicine has always relied on periodic data, where patients would see their doctor once in a while, do a lab test, or scan. But now “for the very first time as a universe,” data can be collected on patients in real-time.

“I think you’re at the very beginning of it,” the Huma boss says of the advent of the health tech industry.

“I think the exciting part hasn’t even started, the things that are happening now are relatively basic .. I think it’s opening a new lens to your body and by looking at multiple data streams you might be able to combine them and create a signature.”

Such a signature could allow doctors to predict the likelihood of a patient being diagnosed with

in a set period of time, just by using sensors found on a modern-day smartphone.

“I do believe it has the potential to change a lot of things for a lot of people very cheaply,” he said.

Vahdat also said the US presented a bigger and better opportunity to provide savings in the health service. He said the healthcare system in the US was “very fragmented” and that he was unsure if a government-level agreement was possible. 

The $130 million Series C round also included Samsung Next, the South Korean’s AI investment wing, the Sony Innovation Fund, Unilever Ventures, and HAT Innovation and Investment Fund. Former Softbank president Nikesh Arora, and Allianz chairman Diekmann have also joined as new investors.

Huma said it had also agreed a further commitment of $70 million that can be exercised at a later date. While the company did not reveal its new valuation, it is understood the additional $70 million was agreed at a valuation in excess of $1 billion.

Vahdat said it was “very interesting time for going public,” but the company was not thinking about it “at the moment”. He also said that blank-check merger companies looking to take his business public through a special purpose acquisition company – or

– had become “more aggressive than recruiters these days.”

“It’s a new phenomenon,” he said of SPACs. “It’s been around, but it’s becoming really routine. I haven’t really thought deeply about it in detail, but I think the normal IPO looks like it’s more sensible. But there might be some pros and cons to consider at some point.”

Huma’s most-recent accounts point to soaring revenues before the pandemic struck. The company recorded turnover of £5.42 million in 2019, compared to £146,000 a year earlier. Despite the surge in revenues, losses at Huma increased to £12.92 million from £10.13 million as the company invested heavily into its expansion.

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