We’ve come a long way. After a multi-year IPO drought, 2019 saw six: Livongo, Health Catalyst, Phreesia, Change Healthcare, Peloton, and Progyny. What they have in common is less important than that they represent diverse and key areas of the ecosystem - chronic conditions, connecting disparate data, automating patient check-in, analytics, stationary bikes, and fertility benefits, respectively - contributing to a healthier whole. Why the surge? Some analysts believe that these companies were at the right place at the right time, and able to strike while the iron is hot. That is certainly a big factor, given that the size of the digital health economy is only expected to grow. It also helps that they’ve had skin in the game for an average age of 11 years prior to their public offering launch. One Medical, who was the first to kick off 2020’s round of IPOs is the ripe old age of 14.
As the ecosystem prepares for a 2020 that will outpace 2019’s $7.4 billion across 359 startups, what does all this money mean for the startups of tomorrow? It’s a north star, a beacon to light the way. The ability to walk in the footsteps of those who’ve come before is invaluable. Mentorship and best practice modeling sets the stage so that we can innovate bigger and bolder. Whether you can choose to follow the path or even to break away and forge a new one, the successes and milestones - be it IPO, unicorn status, acquisitions, or otherwise - of the golden six of 2019 place a stake in the ground for what is possible. This is particularly true as established technologies flow into emerging markets, retrofitted for specific geographic or cultural use cases and entirely new markets will form.
It’s in this spirit that accelerator programs, fellowships, and G4A Partnerships serve to nurture the startup community of tomorrow. Afterall, the joy of innovation is that there will always be a new horizon to chase.