Canadian health and technology company WELL Health Technologies will now invest in early-stage digital health companies through the establishment of WELL Ventures.
The new investment firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of WELL with a focus on helping startups developing tools and technology for practice development, particularly in Canada.
In addition to capital, an investment by WELL Ventures includes a strategic alliance or cooperation agreement that gives portfolio companies access to WELL’s own technology and health products. The company will also provide guidance to its portfolio companies to support their growth.
WELL Venture’s investment and advisory teams consist of its own board of directors, management and the operational teams of the business units.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
Since starting a formal venture, the company has made a strategic investment in Bright, a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based virtual employee wellness platform.
Bright’s platform offers hundreds of weekly virtual sessions such as fitness classes, mindfulness exercises and nutritional content for small and medium-sized businesses.
WELL’s investment of $ 250,000 comes with the start of a strategic alliance between the two companies. The alliance will give WELL rights to use and sub-license Bright’s offerings to its own employees and customers – with profits shared with Bright – and provide it with call warrants to purchase Bright common stock.
“We are very excited to receive this investment and to be part of the WELL Ventures portfolio company family,” said David Howe, CEO of Bright, in a statement.
“This investment will help fund our expansion of our sales efforts and future growth initiatives. We look forward to working with the expanded WELL Health network.”
This investment follows a number of financial contributions WELL made prior to founding its venture company, including INSIG, Circle Medical, Phelix.ai, Pillway, and Twig Fertility. Similar to WELL Ventures’ strategy of combining an investment with a strategic collaboration, this earlier support was supplemented by advice and access to the WELL network of clinics and doctors.
THE BIGGER TREND
Aside from investing in digital healthcare companies, WELL got a little M&A kick this year. The company acquired Intrahealth Systems, CRH Medical and MyHealth as early as 2021.
With a view to Canadian digital health startups, WELL is targeting an emerging area of innovation. In 2020, Toronto had 19 digital health deals totaling $ 282 million, according to a Startup Health report. This made the city the fifth largest non-US digital health funding center in the world.
A number of other medical device and digital health companies also have venture funds, including Dexcom, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic.
ON THE RECORD
“The establishment of WELL Ventures and the investments we have made to date reflect our commitment to investing in, nurturing and building strategic alliances with innovative digital healthcare companies,” said Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of WELL, in one Explanation.
“In particular, we want to invest in companies that are genuinely committed to using technology to improve health outcomes and that can benefit directly from the ecosystem, size and scope of WELL. Our recent investment in Bright is a natural fit as it recognizes the importance of health care and wellbeing to a growing remote workforce. Caring for our own employees and the network of practitioners and the health of all hardworking Canadians is a value shared by both companies. “