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June 15, 2005
Healthcare's Dot-Com Era?
Several months ago we wrote about a company called TargetRX raising money as evidence that there may be a brewing resurgence in deals that straddle the realms of IT and healthcare.
What do you know? We're not alone.
An article in this month's issue of venture capital trade publication, Dow Jones Venture Capital Analyst Health Care Edition, provides more evidence. (Sorry, no link. For all their sound VC analysis, these guys are in the dark ages. But for a copy email editor Tom Salemi at Tom.Salemi@AlternativeInvestor.Info)
If you recall, there was a boom of such deals five years ago. It was the dawn of the sequencing of the human genome and the idea was researchers would need a lot of new technology to crunch all that data and discover lots of new drug therapies more easily and inexpensively. Instead, a lot of VCs just lost a lot of money. Salemi refers to it as healthcare's own dot com fiasco.
But this go-around could be different. Why? Well it goes back to that whole dot com analogy. Only when investors figured Internet companies were overrated did they really start taking off. Now all those initial promises of the Web really do seem to be paying off.
Could the same thing happen with technology companies catering to healthcare professionals? Several VCs think so, according to the article, including OVP Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Bill Ericson of Mohr, Davidow Ventures, who we??e quoted before on this topic. Ericson is one of the few who never fled from these types of deals.
If a few hits emerge, expect many more firms to follow-- again like the resurgence in Internet companies. But if history is any guide, this handful of VCs who got in before it was cool again should be the ones with some winners.
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The convergence of healthcare and IT is definitely witnessing the birth of technologies applied to healthcare sub-domains that, in my opinion, offer great potential. A case in point is mobile and tracking technologies (RFID) to integrate and monitor patient and employee systems in the provider space (hospitals). Reducing costs and improving efficiency in claims handling, through IP driven tools, is another hot topic. In addition to the Big P of Pharma, the Payer and Provider segments in the US healthcare industry will see IT reform. The knowledge to invest in such initiatives have domain understanding preceding other competencies.
President - Healthcare Business Unit
Posted by: Naresh Nagarajan at June 19, 2005 05:01 PM