6 scaling UK health-tech start-ups to watch

Tech Nation has announced the newest cohort for Upscale, its flagship growth accelerator focused on mid-stage tech companies in the UK.

Upscale targets fast-growing tech companies and aims to speed up their progress even more. To qualify, companies must be backed by venture capital, having raised a Series A funding round, or be seeing revenue of £1.5m to £5m. Upscale companies must also be growing at a rate of about 10pc month-on-month.

Upscale programme lead Liam Ward said the latest roster represents the programme’s “most regionally diverse cohort ever” with almost half of all companies based outside London.

“Despite the events of the last 12 months, we’re seeing some exceptional companies scaling at Series A stage, with health-tech and the future of work being represented particularly strongly. We’re excited to adapt Upscale to support the new challenges that founders are facing around remote work, fundraising and culture; and to work with such an exciting group of leaders,” he said.

Start-ups selected for Upscale 6.0 will enter a six-month programme offering more than 60 hours of support from appointed ‘scale coaches’.

Previous participants in the accelerator include banking start-up Monzo and e-commerce disrupter Depop.

The 33 start-ups selected for this year’s cohort span a variety of sectors including adtech, edtech, enterprise SaaS, fintech and deeptech. But, as Ward noted, it’s health-tech that has the largest representation on the programme with six scaling start-ups selected from this sector.

This could be a reflection of post-pandemic opportunities in health-tech, but it’s also a continuation of the UK’s strength in health-tech overall. Globally, only the US and China top the UK for health-tech investment, and early stage investment in UK health-tech is rising, according to Tech Nation’s figures.

London leads the way with three health-tech start-ups selected for Uspcale 6.0, followed by two from Oxford and one from Belfast.


Half of Upscale 6.0’s health-tech cohort hails from the start-up city of London, starting with AccuRx. Founded by Jacob Haddad and Laurence Bargery, AccuRx focuses on solving communications challenges in healthcare with its platform. It supports communication between healthcare professionals and their patients with NHS-approved tools for sending text messages, performing video consultations, conducting medical surveys, securely send digital documents and more.

The company raised £8.8m in Series A funding in February 2019, led by Atomico.


Fellow London health-tech LabGenius develops new protein-based drugs (biologics) using its novel drug discovery platform, which is powered by machine learning. LabGenius believes this platform can drastically lower both the cost and risk associated with drug development.

The company initially announced a $10m Series A round in October 2019, led by Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures. Atomico then led an oversubscribed extension round of a further $15m Series A funding the following year.

Locate A Locum

Belfast’s Locate a Locum is the only start-up from Northern Ireland selected for the Upscale 6.0 programme. Founded by Jonathan Clarke and Michael Budden in 2014, it secured £1m equity funding from Techstart Ventures, Co-Fund NI and a number of private investors in 2019.

Locate a Locum enables healthcare workers and organisations to connect via an online booking platform. It currently serves more than 8,000 pharmacies across the UK, including Boots, Superdrug and Lloyds and claims to have registered more than 12,000 locum pharmacists.

Last year, the company announced that it would be investing more than £1.3m into research and development with support from Invest NI.


Oxford university spin-out Navenio has set out to transform hospital management with a system that tasks healthcare staff based on their location. The company claims this system can double output by unlocking hidden capacity within hospital teams.

Described as an ‘Uber for indoors’, the company was founded by Tim Weil and Niki Trigoni in 2015. Navenio has had lots of success in raising funding since then, with its most significant injection coming from a £9m Series A round in May 2020.

Second Nature

Our last London start-up on the list, Second Nature, is in the business of supporting weight loss goals through technology and coaching. Selected as an NHS service provider as part of its ‘Healthier You’ programme, Second Nature is an app-based subscription service that tracks users’ weight, habits, food intake and steps taken.

Founded by Chris Edson and Mike Gibbs, the company secured Series A funding of $10m in February 2020.


Finally, another Oxford start-up, this time focused on providing biopharmaceutical clients with real-world evidence of how their drugs and treatments are performing. Vitaccess designs and implements patient-centric digital studies, gathering data on patients’ everyday quality of life outside of the clinical setting. This data is then presented in real-time analytics dashboards.

Founded in 2017 by Mark Larkin and Helen Williams, Vitaccess has grown to a team of 50 working around the world.

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We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck $3 billion valued healthtech startup Hinge Health used to raise $300 million

Summary List PlacementThe global digital health sector has unsurprisingly boomed amid the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, with companies and consumers increasingly seeking out alternatives to in-person services.
Investors too are pouring more money into the space. One recent beneficiary is Hinge Health, which raised $300 million earlier in January to become the most highly valued private healthtech in the US, the company said. 
The Series D round was jointly led by private equity giants Coatue Management and Tiger Global and raised the valuation of startup to $3 billion, according to Hinge Health’s announcement.
The San Franc iso-based startup offers a digital clinic for musculoskeletal (MSK) pain and is available to more than 300 enterprise customers in the US. The company’s customer base tripled and revenue quadrupled in 2020, according to Hinge Health’s CEO Daniel Perez. 
“It was a very interesting year for us — in March every investor was concerned due to the pandemic, but we decided to stay the course,” Perez told Insider in an interview. “We knew there would be a counter revolution after a five or so week period where people weren’t answering the phone. We said, ‘If we can overcome this and execute we will win’  — and we were one of fastest growing companies in tech last year.”
The startup, founded in 2015, avoided layoffs or salary cuts and continued to hire last year. This new fundraising will help Hinge Health continue on its growth trajectory, with its current 550 headcount likely to double by the end of 2021, Perez said. The company was named as a healthtech company changing the industry recently.
Amid a crazy year for IPO listings in the US, and a likely continued surge into 2021, Hinge Health is primed for a debut on the public markets. 
“There was enormous investor interest when we opened the round — within 24 hours we had more than $400 million in commitments,” Perez added. “They [Coatue and Tiger Global] are the two best funds for a pre-IPO round, it’s very rare that they co-lead the same round.”
The two private equity firms’ involvement continues a trend of major hedge funds and private equity piling into late stage startups. 
Existing investors Atomico, Insight Partners, Quadrille, 11.2 Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Heuristic Capital also participated in the funding round. Hinge Health has raised just over $426 million in total, according to Crunchbase.
Read more: Investors are pouring cash into mental health startups during a rough 2020. Here are 19 to watch, picked by top European VCs.
Despite the obvious incentives provided by public markets to buzzy startups, Perez claims that the company’s growth path is “laser focused” on growing its digital clinic for MSK.
“There is no pressure to IPO soon,” said Perez. “We’re hoping to be in a position to go public, or whatever, in 2022.”
To put Hinge Health’s rise into context, the company’s previous funding round (a $90 million fundraise in February 2020) valued the business at $428 million, one-sixth of the most recent valuation.
Perez said there’s still ample opportunity to grow further. “Healthcare is one-sixth of the US economy and around one-fifth of that is related to MSK,” he said. “That’s around 3% of [gross domestic product] so it’s a huge area of spend to disrupt.”
Check out Hinge Health’s pitch deck below: SEE ALSO: We asked 12 prominent European tech investors to pick out fintech startups they think will blow up in 2021. Here are the 20 they chose.

Why we need to start looking at Europe as one tech ecosystem

2020 in a nutshell has been challenging, unpredictable, and isolating for many across the continent, and indeed the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic did have some silver linings, as it has spurred innovation and cooperation between different countries in the interest of global public health and safety.  Europe’s tech industry would benefit from the same kind of inter-country collaboration. By allowing Europe’s individual tech communities to grow holistically as one integrated ecosystem, the continent’s best and brightest get a chance to shine. The possibilities are endless, paving the way for increased sustainability, better digital literacy and modernization, and greater resilience… This story continues at The Next Web


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