Authors: Shiraz Mahfoudhi & Felix Faltin – The Digital Health Landscape in France
France’s Digital Health: An expanding sector with space for improvement
After looking into the overall landscape in Europe, we pointed out that France comes second on the list of the largest European national markets, when it comes to the amount of Digital Health startups that were founded in the decade between 2010 and 2020.
All in all, since the beginning of the decade, 81 startups were founded, with a peak in the years of 2016 and 2017. A substantial paradigm of the importance of the health industry in the French tech ecosystem is French Tech 120, featuring 22 health focused startups out of the 83 total startups in the line up.
In accordance to France Biotech’s 2019 report, there has been a noticeable trend on the rise when it comes to investments, a trend which our data confirms. HealthTech (including bioetech and medtech), in 2019, raised €1.8 billion in France. This included 60% from venture capital, constituting a 79% increase in comparison to 2018.
The French Digital Health ecosystem is being shaped by 67 startups, the data shows
This blog post has the objective of describing the French Digital Health ecosystem’s main traits, not to line up startups or be exhaustive. The categories described in our methodology blog have been used and adapted to France according to when we felt this was a good fit.
Screening & Diagnostics
Software for screening and diagnostics is one of the most powerful fields in French Digital Health and it falls into two large buckets.
Radiology analytics, including companies such as Avicenna (emergency pathologies), AZmed (fractures), Incepto or Therapixel (brain scans) and Gleamer (recently raised €10M to for workflow improvement) are all part of one bucket. In the imaging field, ImVitro applies Artifical Intelligence to IVF imaging requirements.
The second bucket features general diagnostics enablers. BioSerenity has raised €83M until now towards telemedically-enhanced diagnostics for chronic pathologies. €21M has also been raised by Cardiologs for Artifical Intelligence based heart condition diagnostics. Omini (portable blood testing devices), Primaa (AI for histological diagnoses) and LAB2U (enables patients to perform at-home blood tests) are amongst the young players.
In order for health providers to facilitate communication, data exchange and efficiency gains, companies provide them with horizontal tools. This category includes such companies. Three wide areas are the focus of French startups:
Provider connectivity has attracted many powerful French tech companies, as it continues to be a large unsolved issue in health. Ambler, connecting ambulance companies with health care prescribers and Lifen, that has raised €28M to facilitate medical document exchange are amongst these companies.
Likewise, Arkhn aids researchers and pharma players to connect to hospitals’ data lakes, while MedPics and Omnidoc make it possible for professionals to share clinical cases.
Resource optimization is another issue for providers. DeepOR (operating theater utilization and monitoring), Sancare (revenue coding solution and predictive analytics for hospitals) and Hublo (a platform that manages recruitments and staff replacements) are all startups that are part of this field.
Medical knowledge is yet another challenge, due to the difficulty of successfully passing it on. Many started to tackle this challenge, offering education and training to medical professionals. Invivox and Synapse Medicine are amongst these startups, with the former having raised €4M to connect doctors for in-situ (inside the operating room) medical training and the latter having raised €10M to offer insights to providers on medication, similar to the tool Posos, an AI-based medication insight tool.
Convenience, access and continuity of care can be increased by patient engagement solutions, connecting patients with providers.
Booking and medical videoconferencing platforms, driven by Doctolib, the French Digital Health unicorn, is a field with rapid growth in France. To date, Doctolib has raised €237M, from the best European growth funds, building the category-defining mobile and online booking platform. Keldoc (exited to Mutuelle Nationale Hospitalière in 2015) and Leah Care, a teleconsultation tool for clinics and doctors, are some of the other players aiming to tackle this space.
Patient engagement solutions aid the closing of gaps in the communication between patient and provider. BOTdesign, a communication and waiting room platform, and Intelligence Anesthesia, a solution for pre-surgical evaluations, are among the French players in this space.
Dental Monitoring, that has raised €50M since it launched a remote monitoring solution for dentists, is among the players providing more specialized solutuions. Cureety and Vik (cancer and chronic patients), Implicity (that monitors cardiac implants) and Neuradom (that offers people with neurodegenerative diseases home support) are other players, focusing on remote mornitoring niches.
Across Europe, generalist telemedicine has become a popular category and attracted many investors, including in France. Generalist telemedicine consists of telemedical operators such as MesDocteurs (exited to Groupe VYV in 2017), Concilio, Medaviz, Urgence Docteurs, and Qare(that has up to now raised €28M). It also includes more niche specialist services such as Oosteo, a telemedical platform for osteopaths.
SaaS for Life Science
France has generated many powerful startups in the massive sub-vertical in Digital Health, software for biotech and life sciences.
The main category is drug discovery software. Owkin, is the leader in this field, having raised €74M, connecting researchers with global federated data sets. The drug discovery field is also being tackled by other players, such as Inoviem Scientific, BioMathematica, Aqemia, Epigene and KeenEye. €7.5M has been raised by KeenEye, aiming to apply Artificial Intelligence to pathological imaging, for research purposes.
Different aspects of the pharma world have also been focused on by startups. Examples of this are startups such as Meditect, that supply chain safety for emerging markets and ExactCure, that create software to lessen errors in medication. Other noteworthy players in this field are Inato, an Artifical Intelligence powered patient recruitment for clinical trials that has managed to raise €14M since its launch and Inova, a platform specializing in biopharma partnerships.
Digital therapeutics, commonly known as DTx, are clinical tools that aid patients to control their own care, across a range of therapy areas, with minimum support from professionals or even, none at all.
This space features some key startups, such as Diabeloop and Lucine. Diabeloop has raised €45M to help Type 1 diabetes sufferers manage their condition and Lucine, a DTx for chronic pain, raised €5.5M in November 2020. Other key players are Kwit, that has released an app to quit smoking and Open Mind Neurotechnologies, that aids employees to manage their mental health and stress in the workplace.
Included in the Family Health category are companies that offer solutions to parents making it faster and undemanding to access healthcare, whether it is dedicated for their own or their childrens’ health. Below are the three areas French startups are focused on:
Fertility, has recently received a lot of funding, particularly in the U.S. and the UK. However, fertility in France still seems to be in its embryonic stage with just two startups having recently emerged. Apricity is a virtual fertility clinic which improves the chances of conception through the use of AI and has raised €6M. Mojo, the second startup in the fertility field, is finding solutions for fertility care based on robotics and AI, and has raised €1.7M.
Children and parenting, one of the areas of focus, includes various apps. The way was paved by WeMoms, a community-based application for mothers that raised €3M. More recent players include May, an app focused on parenting and Biloba, an on-demand pediatrics app which has raised €1.2M.
Startups dedicated to women have also been well supported by funds recently, although various areas of a woman’s lifecycle are still lacking the appropriate attention. A great initiative has been seen by the company Jho, which has up to date raised €2.7M, and supplies women with the amenities they need during their menstrual cycle, such as organic cotton tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners.
Health in the Workplace
Here we will find companies that provide services directly to their workforce, as well as companies that provide insight and data to employers.
Inside the office, a SaaS platform, with the goal of creating a wellness culture among employees has been developed by Ignilife (raised €1.4M). Furthermore, a tool is being developed by Padoa (raised €25M), aiming to mornitor the health of employees in the work enivronment.
Outside the office, Gymlib, that has raised €14M to date, offers access to fitness outlets to employees, on a subscription base.
Health of the Consumer
Included in this category are products that are sold directly to the consumer, such as Epycure, which offers subscription-based food supplements and also B2C (business to customer) such as Foodvisor, that provides an analysis of nutrients in any given food item. Foodvisor has raised €5M to date.
Care for the Elderly
The support of elderly people, particularly those receiving in-home care, is the focus of the companies in this category, which aim to provide solutions for caregivers and families in this regard. Unaide, Ouihelp (having raised €3.3M) and Lili Smart are great examples of such companies, embodying the valuable initiative of caring for the elderly with their tech solutions.