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Health Tech Weekly Round Up: 10 August

Hotwire Global

We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.

Peleton’s connected exercise equipment targets new markets following $550m funding  

It has been a good week for Peleton, the New York based “unicorn” status company, who have just announced a $550m Series F fundraising round. This latest round of fundraising follows a $325m round in May 2017, and aims to support its virtual workout class business and connected home exercise equipment. Investors in this round include TCV and NBCUniversal, with this latest support focused on helping the company become a global influential consumer product.  Peloton’s primary consumer offering is an exercise bike integrated with a tablet-like screen. With this, users can join in live or pre-recorded classes with on-staff cycling instructors and, during live sessions, real-time social features like leaderboards or video chats with friends keep users immersed in the process. Earlier this year the company also launched an app-based digital subscription service offering many of these live and pre-recorded fitness features. This company is one to watch as it’s understood it plans to launch in the UK and Canada later this year and is looking to open 20 or more retail showrooms for its products by early 2019. 

Klara receives $11.5m to improve communication in healthcare 

This week, New York based Klara received $11.5m in a Series A funding round led by First Mark Capital, a round that will also see Amish Janal join the board. Led by founders and co-CEOs Simon Bolz and Simon Lorenz, Klara looks to rethink the way communication is handled across the healthcare industry. The HIPAA-compliant messaging service allows all departments of a practice, from doctors to physician’s assistants, nurses to the payments department and the scheduling department, to communicate via text about a patient’s diagnosis and treatment. The platform also allows medical staff to communicate directly with a patient regarding scheduling and treatment. Many believe communication channels in the heathcare space needs improvement – and it looks like Klara is set on providing an innovative service and to work its way into the fabric of the healthcare system.  

Virgin awarded almost £2bn of NHS contracts in the past five years 

This week, the Guardian exclusively announced that Virgin have quietly become one of the UK’s leading healthcare providers – having been awarded almost £2bn worth of NHS contracts over the past 5 years. Virgin Care, the company’s health arm has reportedly seen aggressive expansion, winning deals worth close to $1bn in one year to provide services to the NHS in England – with the company now holding 400 contracts across the public sector. Virgin’s first entrance into the healthcare industry was in 2008 when it announced plans for six branded clinics offering a range of services. However, it was in 2010 when it bought a stake in an existing provider, Assura, that Virgin began to show real ambition in the market. 

New UK defibrillator map aims to save thousands more lives each year 

An announcement this week, saw the NHSMicrosoft and British Heart Foundation (BHF) vow to map the UK’s public defibrillators. Previous research has found that just 3% of patients who have cardiac arrests outside hospital are treated with public access defibrillators. The charity says this significantly reduces the survival chances of tens of thousands of people every year, while the BHF estimates that thousands more lives could be saved if the locations were known to emergency call handlers. The new project, a collaboration between the BHF, NHS England, NHS Scotland and Microsoft solutions provider, New Signature, will see a comprehensive map of defibrillators created over the next 12 months. There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK, but fewer than one in 10 people survive. Hopefully this new initiative will see a marked improvement.  

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