November 2, 2017

The Supercells of healthcare

Joni Karsikas

Investment manager at Tesi

Electronic health services, preventive healthcare and outcome-based healthcare are well-known megatrends. Most of these drivers share one thing in common: data. Consequently, data collection will grow as the adoption of wearable technologies increases, as data is progressively utilised in health-related e-services, and as existing data is interpreted in new ways. The greatest benefits, however, are yet to be tapped.

Development of the industry needs an open and transparent business climate that favours new and experimental practices. A recent KPMG study lists the Nordic countries’ healthcare systems at the very top of its global transparency ranking. In Finland, for instance, our strengths are comprehensive digital patient registers and the availability of healthcare data for R&D purposes. Similar conclusions were drawn in the Way Forward report, which listed the digitalisation of healthdata as one of Finland’s four healthcare assets. Finland thus offers an ideal environment for new business models in the health technology sector.

Data alone will not improve health or bring added economic value. It must instead be linked to other sources and also interpreted correctly. Finland has a progressive Biobank Act that already legislates for the extensive collection of samples and data. Nevertheless, the full potential will only be realised when the data has been sufficiently processed and the correct conclusions can be efficiently reached – while also, of course, safeguarding data security.

Healthtech already comprises Finland’s largest and fastest growing hi-tech export sectors, producing a trade surplus of around one billion euros. On top of this, giants in the technology, health and pharmaceutical industries, including IBM Watson, GE Healthcare and Bayer, have made major investments in Finland. Furthermore, whilst there are hundreds of startups developing health technology, I firmly believe that we will see an even bigger breakthrough in healthtech in future.

Most startups in this sector are still in the early stages of their development. Within a few years the most successful of them will have reached larger milestones, where the sky is the limit as we have seen in gaming. Already now, international venture capitalists are active in the sector, and in fact, this year, many of the largest venture capital rounds in Finland have been raised by healthtech companies.

Using diversified financing solutions enables companies to grow even faster. I am convinced that we will see many other health technology success stories step onto the international stage over the next few years. Finland may, in fact, well become the health technology centre of Europe. Although this is a relatively new sector for the country, we have the right business climate and already boasts success stories. Are you among the investors discovering the next Supercells of healthcare?

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