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January 20, 2016

Written by Stephanie Baum

Norwest Venture Partners has just closed a $1.2 billion fund, its 13th to date. So what should we expect from the venture investor for which healthcare is just one of its interests? Here’s a look at some recent exits and current investments in this segment. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of its investments.

Wearables

2015 saw the exit of its wearables developer Misfit in the form of a $260 million acquisition by Fossil Group.  In 2014 its investment in sleep and fitness tracker business Basis paid off with an acquisition by Intel. Wearables seems like a fair bet for future investments.

Chronic condition intervention

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Its investments in Omada Health and iRhythm Technologies reflect its interest in using technology as a way to red flag deteriorating conditions earlier or helping people to do a better job of managing chronic conditions. Both of these companies have made clinical validation a critical part of their strategy — Omada Health, with diabetes and iRhythm with the detection of Atrial Fibrillation.

Telcare, also in the realm of diabetes, combines an FDA-cleared glucose monitor and a care team to support diabetes patients and send them timely feedback on blood-glucose readings.

This area has been the source of a lot of investor interest betting on the need to help patients and physicians improve communication to better manage chronic conditions in response to pressure to cut healthcare costs and avoid readmissions whenever possible.

Although the firm has largely focused on growth stage companies, it has noted in the past that it is open to investments at stages as early as Series A.

Big data and cloud-based tools

Among its investments in this area are Care Cloud, Clear Data, Health Catalyst, a data mining business tracing its roots from Intermountain Healthcare. Health Catalyst has expressed interest in doing an IPO by 2017. But the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference highlighted the lack of appetite for health IT and digital health companies to move into the public market.

Care centrers

Crossover Health manages onsite primary care centers for employers. HealthSpot’s vision for supporting employers with kiosks sputtered out, although Norwest didn’s back that business. Companies have persisted with different ways to help employers manage healthcare costs, through price transparency, health literacy and improving access to care for staff through things like telemedicine, so this might emerge as an area of interest in 2o16.

Another area in health IT that Norwest has demonstrated an interest is care team communication that offers a HIPAA-compliant way to do instant messaging in hospital settings. That’s reflected with its investment in TigerText.

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