Operating extensively within the digital healthcare industry, both as a startup, as well as a digital marketing agency supporting global pharmaceutical companies has taught us that both have a need that the other can readily offer.
As pharma and consumer healthcare companies are quickly realising, the future of healthcare lies in the technologies of tomorrow. For digital healthcare startups on the other hand, the opportunities to see their dreams realised have never been more exciting. So, how and why can both the pharma company and the startup make positive headway here.
The digital healthcare startup will have a wide variety of pressures, notably the need to quickly fund proof of concept right through to commercialisation before someone else steals your idea. It’s almost always survival of the fittest and most ambitious.
Many pharma companies have been slow to embrace digital healthcare to date, however things are changing, fast. Some of the most forward thinking pharmas are now fully recognising the potential opportunities to not only strengthening but also future proofing their businesses adding new revenue streams in the process.
Even though healthcare encompasses an immense breadth of subjects, there is a growing army of entrepreneurs committing to developing tech in this space, making for a potentially very congested market where only the brave survive. As alluded to above, funding is always a big concern for many. Not only funding for operations, the tech itself, but also for the hugely important marketing aspects that will help realise your return.
Whilst there are many Angels and VCs with a healthy appetite for risk in digital healthcare right now, expect to give away a healthy slice of equity, which is normal of course, but potentially demotivating for the entrepreneur in the first instance. Now consider that this seed capital has allowed you to prove a concept, great, but you’ve now got to go looking for Series A, B & C funding just to commercialise, meaning even more equity diluted. Will this situation keep you motivated and for how long?
Now consider the pharma. There is also a lot to be said for leveraging a pharma company’s established healthcare processes and knowledge. Such issues as pharmacovigilence, regulatory requirements and government and payer reimbursement can be a heck of a mountain to climb for a small business, who’s focus is mainly invested in getting the technology right.
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