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Biggest Quarter Ever for Asia’s HealthTech Startup Funding!

Biggest Quarter Ever for Asia’s HealthTech Startup Funding!

Q1 – 2018

Hot on the heels of a record breaking 2017 where funding exceeded US$2.6 billion across a total of 230 deals executed, Asia HealthTech funding shows no signs of slowing down as we close the first quarter of investment activity for 2018.

To recap 2017, the number of deals practically doubled with the region’s top 10 deals representing 40% of total deal value in 2017. As HealthTech in Asia continues to accelerate, so is investors’ confidence growing. The funding activities of 2017 showed investors placing more bets in all investment rounds whether early, growth or late stage.

It is in this context, that we share with you a snapshot of our analysis of the ecosystem’s funding activities for Q1 2018 which points to an exciting and promising year for HealthTech in Asia.

HealthTech funding in Asia shows no signs of slowing down!

The first three months of the year reveal that a total of US$979 million was invested in Asia HealthTech (up from US$771 million in Q1 2017), representing a 27% QoQ increase deployed across 72 deals, down 42% QoQ.

The combination of deal value growth and deal volume shrinkage results in Q1 2018’s average deal size growing from US$10.7 million to an impressive US$23.9 million driven primarily by both Series A & B deals.

This outstanding quarter for HealthTech funding in Asia is impressive when compared with the results in the USA as shared by Rock Health, where HealthTech investments in the first quarter of this year rose 62% YoY up to US$1.62 billion (source: Rock Health). It also continues to position Asia Pacific as number two in the world.

Nine quarters of growth

Q1 2018 total HealthTech funding in Asia closed at a staggering US$979 million building on the previous 8 quarters of growth since Galen Growth Asia began reporting the investment activities in this exciting ecosystem.

One of the biggest drivers behind the Q1 2018 extraordinary quarter was Ping An Good Doctor’s $US400 million Pre-IPO investment by Softbank, IDG Capital and SBI Group. This venture is expected to IPO in 2018.

Whilst HealthTech investing continues to grow across Asia, China still dominates funding in the vertical across the region in both value and volume. We should be reminded that in Q4 2017, India registered more deals by volume.

Having correctly called the 2017 year-end funding total, we are expecting to see the Q1 2018 trend in mega deals to continue in Q2 and close out H1 2018 at a predicted US$1.5 billion of total HealthTech funding.

Resurgence of early stage deals after big dip in Q4 2017

After a significant slowing of early stage deals in the last quarter of 2017, Q1 2018 experienced a resurgence of early stage deals.

When comparing with the first quarter of both 2016 & 2017, we are seeing Growth stage and Late Stage deals this year capture more of the total funding deployed.

Similarly, after the total value Series A deals weakened vs Series B & C in 2017, Q1 2018 saw Series A type deals dominate by value.

Pre-IPO and Japan deals amongst the key drivers

China continues to dominate the investment landscape in Q1 with the Ping An Good Doctor’s Pre-IPO round, and the sizeable Series C investment in Genomic Diagnostics venture JW Therapeutics.

Despite this, we should also note the vibrancy of the HealthTech scene in India. With more than 420 startups analysed by HealthTech Alpha, we count PharmEasy’s Series C as the largest deal in Q1 2018 which gives a helpful order of magnitude between deals in China and the rest of the region.

A relative new comer to the league table in this vertical, is Japan counting two significant HealthTech deals which exceed US$10 million.

HealthTech CategoryFunding Size & StagePrincipal Investor
Ping An Good Doctor (CH)Health Services Search$US400 million 
JW Therapeutics  (CH)GenomicsUS$90 million 
Series C
Sequoia Capital China
PharmEasy (IN)Online MarketplaceUS$30 million 
Series C
Bessemer Venture Partners
Genesis Healthcare  (JP)GenomicsUS$15 million 
Series B1
Rakuten, Omron Healthcare
Cure App (JP)Patient SolutionsUS$14 million 
Series B
Beyond Next Ventures

Genomics and related applications attract greater funding share

By value, Health Services Search category remains in first place in Q1 primarily owing its pole position to one single deal this quarter. The second most funded category in Q1 2018, displacing Medical Data & Analytics, is Genomics and its relevant applications. 

Drilling down into the Genomics and related applications category, we showcase Annoroad, a promising China based venture to illustrate the type of application being developed in this region.

In view of the ever-expanding landscape of HealthTech ventures, Galen Growth Asia is revising its categorization methodology during the course of 2018 to bring greater precision and differentiation to help better understand and assess each venture.

HealthTech: An unprecedented opportunity to solve Asia Healthcare’s Inefficiencies

Although the vibrancy of the first quarter of the 2018 is welcome, we should not lose from sight that this convergence of healthcare and technology is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the Asia health systems and deliver better patient outcomes.

Galen Growth Asia: The HealthTech Connector & Builder, in collaboration with its industry sponsors and a number of key stakeholders from the Asia HealthTech ecosystem, solicited strategic views and insights to define a suitable framework to better understand the inefficiencies which hamper the transformation of healthcare in Asia.

It is therefore imperative that the innovation and much needed funding be focused on solving specific inefficiencies. We therefore include this framework and the need for focus on inefficiencies in our analysis and rating of each HealthTech venture in the region – see next section for further information.

The report and its chapters introduce our point of view that each market in the region suffers from a myriad of sources of Healthcare System Inefficiencies (HSI).

It’s the all about the DD, Stupid!

Comparing HealthTech Ventures with HTA Indices

Asia HealthTech Liquid Biopsy Category Snapshot

Note: HealthTech Alpha ultimately scores a HealthTech startup on a scale from 1-100 enabling comparison of HT ventures. The Alpha Score is a proprietary algorithm which leverages multiple data points. Source:

Q1 2018 also saw the news of Theranos’ CEO Elizabeth Holmes, settling Securities and Exchange Commission charge of fraud against investors, which focused the minds of many key stakeholders in the ecosystem as demonstrated by the many requests we received for insights on the Liquid Biopsy sub-category in Asia. Despite this spike in interest triggered by this recent Theranos news, this development should and does in fact create focus on the importance of thorough due diligence to prevent the FOMO effect.

With this in mind, Galen Growth Asia developed a snapshot of the Liquid Biopsy landscape in the region via its analytics platform, HealthTech Alpha, and leveraged its proprietary indices to provide a valuable and necessary comparison of each of the ventures showcased. This is critical to get beyond the hubris and make informed and pragmatic investment and partnering decisions.

For further information on HealthTech Alpha and its unique ecosystem indices, please consult

About Galen Growth Asia

Galen Growth Asia was founded in late 2015 by five HealthTech (aka digital health) innovators. Since that day, we have established ourselves as the HealthTech Connector in the region.

Having successfully created the links critical to creating a vibrant ecosystem, Galen Growth Asia has built a portfolio of solutions which will facilitate its deliberate focus on creating a significant financial and social value multiplier by enabling the key stakeholder groups to directly collaborate to prototype, evaluate and implement HealthTech solutions.

Why partner with us?

Are you leading an enterprise digital health innovation team or conducting an analysis of the ecosystem to evaluate HealthTech ventures? We partner with enterprise, investors and startups to accelerate and deepen their understanding of this exciting ecosystem. We offer client specific analytics and advisory solutions to help you find the right options and scale your innovation plans. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements at:

© 2023 Galen Growth Asia Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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