The UK’s mHealth app market has almost doubled since 2014. Globally, mobile health apps provide better accessibility to healthcare, especially for patients living in remote areas. Monitoring and collecting health data, using apps, helps patients and healthcare professionals manage conditions better.
One major development arrived in March 2015, when Apple announced their ResearchKit. This open-source software framework uses the iPhone’s tech features such as sensors, GPS tracking and facial recognition to aid health research. Apple followed this success with CareKit, a tool to help developers build apps that allow people to track their care plans, symptoms and manage their own medical conditions.
Never has the need for innovation been more pronounced than the mental health industry. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet, according to a WHO report, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Many startups have already risen to the challenge, using the latest technology and heightened financial interest in this area, to develop smart mental health apps and help people improve their wellbeing.
There’s another key area of growth in the health app market. An Applause report found that, over the past year, the most popular health and fitness apps in the US were women’s health apps. ABISHKKING’s Period Calendar, GP Apps’ Period Tracker, and BabyCenter’s My Pregnancy Today have all received very positive reviews and rankings.
So which health app startups are set to become market leaders in the fast-moving mHealth industry? Find out below…
DocsApp – the “consultation on demand” health app
DocsApp is a mobile-only doctor consultation app that ensures doctors are easily accessible to patients all across India. In fact, users can speak to a qualified doctor on chat in about 30 minutes. The app’s makers Satish Kannan and Enbasekar D both graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology before turning their attention to mobile health.
In 2016, the Bangalore-based startup raised a $1.2 million seed round from Facebook’s early investors Anand Rajaraman, Venky Harinarayan and venture capital firm Rebright Partners. DocsApp plan to use this money to scale their current operations and invest in technology.
- Founded: 2014
- Funding raised: $1.2 million
- DocsApp’s USP: Easily accessible healthcare services
Lantern – the behavioural health platform
Lantern is a mental health startup that offers an app to deal with stress, anxiety and body image. Their personalized programs include daily exercises and one-on-one coaching to help users deal with mental health issues and strengthen emotional wellbeing.
This year, Lantern raised a $17 million Series A round led by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s venture arm (UPMC), with contributions from Mayfield Fund and SoftTech VC. So how will they use this funding? Lantern plan to double the size of their team (currently 17 employees) and integrate the app into employer insurance plans, so that employees can access its tools as a benefit.
- Founded: 2012
- Funding raised: £21.4.million
- Lantern’s USP: personalized programs for emotional wellbeing
Clue – the period tracking app
Clue is the world’s fastest growing female health app, allowing users to keep tabs on their monthly cycle. Founded by Ida Tin, Hans Raffauf, Mike LaVigne, and Moritz von Buttlar, the app uses science and data to provide actionable insights. Clue was recently awarded Editors’ Choice by Google Play, the first female health app to receive this recognition!
Last year, the Berlin-based startup bagged $7 million in a Series A round including investment from Union Square Ventures and Mosaic Ventures. Clue will use the money to grow their team and markets, and expand the app’s features.
- Founded: 2013
- Funding raised: $10 million
- Clue’s USP: helps women and scientists understand menstrual cycles
Quartet – the behavioural healthcare system
Quartet Health is a tech startup that uses data to link patients with healthcare providers through their behavioural health platform. Their goal is to bridge the gap between physical and mental healthcare.
In 2016, Quarter raised $40 million in a Series B round led by Google Ventures (the company’s first mental health investment) along with contributions from F-Prime Capital Partners, Polaris Partners, and Oak HC/FT. With headquarters in New York, Quarter’s founders Steve Shulman and Aran Gupta will use the capital to expand their business across the US.
- Founded: 2014
- Funding raised: $47 million
- Quartet’s USP: improving access to behavioural health resources
Joyable – helping tackle social anxiety
Joyable is an app that offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to overcome social anxiety. The 12-week program combines online CBT with support from trained coaches. According to ADAA statistics, social anxiety disorder affects 15 million people in the US, and many experience symptoms for ten or more years before seeking help. To tackle this issue COO Steve Marks started the web app, back in 2013, with Joyable’s CEO Pete Shalek.
In 2015, the pair raised $8 million in Series A funding, led by Thrive Capital and Harrison Medal. Joyable will use the money to develop a native mobile app offering CBT.
- Founded: 2013
- Funding raised: $10.1 million
- Joyable’s USP: an online support system for social anxiety
Now GP – remote appointments and medicine delivery
Now GP (Formerly Dr Now) is the world’s first health app to diagnose and deliver medicines. As wait times for NHS GP appointments continues to lengthen, Now GP is one app startup trying to fill this opportunity. The app offers consultations with GPs over video link and works on a monthly subscription basis.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Lee Dentith, Now Healthcare Group is the UK startup behind Now GP. The app made history when it delivered the world’s first in-flight GP appointment thanks to its smartphone-based video technology. Now GP is seeking partners and investors to help them transform healthcare.
- Founded: 2014
- Now GP’s USP: On-demand health care
Talkspace – the online therapy app
Talkspace is a startup that offers online therapy via an app. The online platform connects users with a licensed therapist and offers an unlimited messaging plan. Founded by Roni Frank and her husband Oren Frank, Talkspace began offering therapy via messaging before adding video and audio appointment options.
Talkspace has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), to expand their text and video therapy services. NVP’s Managing Partner Jeff Crowe will also join Talkspace’s Board of Directors and the startup wants to expand the business to connect with users around the world.
- Founded: 2012
- Funding raised: $28 million
- Talkspace’s USP: An online therapy app
The future of mHealth
Technological developments in mHealth have the potential to reduce costs and improve healthcare. Innovative digital technologies and machine learning are already putting patients more in control, and virtual care looks set to transform the industry. While more app startups are popping up to tackle our changing healthcare needs, investors will be looking for differentiated apps with strong business models, to help bring down the cost of healthcare.
Want to find out how apps are changing other sectors? See more app startups articles.