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S6: #053: Fred Toney of Launchpad Digital Health in San Francisco

37 minutes

2017 was a banner year in digital health on multiple levels, and one key metric is investment in digital health companies. Startup Health reported $11.5 billion in investments in digital health startups in 2017, topping 2016’s record of $8 billion. Series A funding grew it’s share of overall funding for the third year in a row; it is now 36 percent of the total funding in digital health. While seed funding has grown in terms of real dollars, it’s share of the funding pie has continued to decline since 2015, but it still makes up 29 percent of the total funding. See the full report from Startup Health below.

Seed funding plays a key role in developing the companies, leaders and innovations that are needed to transform health and wellness. We spoke with Fred Toney to learn more about how his company is leading and succeeding in this challenging and dynamic market. Fred is the CEO & Co-Founder of Launchpad Digital Health, which is the most active institutional lead investor in digital health at the seed stage in the U.S. He has more than 20 years of financial and executive management in the digital health, medical, life sciences and financial sectors. He’s served in executive and Board capacities for 30 public and private companies, and he’s founded, funded, managed and sold numerous companies. Fred is currently a board member or board observer for over 20 digital health companies.

Fred and I recorded this interview over the holidays so we didn’t have the full 2017 numbers to discuss, but we covered some of the tips for companies looking for seed funding, some of the areas they focus on at Launchpad Digital Health, and the success they’ve had in identifying and supporting female-led startups. He’s also shared some information about their Ground Zero program – which you can access below. Enjoy!


Episode Download:

Information about LDH's "Ground Zero" Program


Today's Topics:

  • What companies should achieve before raising a seed round
  • How the Ground Zero program can help startup companies succeed
  • Why Launchpad Digital Health is investing in female-led startups
  • How children and young adults are being affected by technology, and how they can help preserve and restore mental health


About Launchpad Digital Health:

  • 2014 – 2017, 3+ year journey thus far
  • 1,000+ companies screened, fifth cohort, one every 9-12 most
  • 28 funded startups (including current group underway), led seed round, highly selective, + follow-ons
  • Most active seed investor in the U.S. in digital health deals
  • 80-90% already received outside follow on funding, avg. 3x step-up
  • Many are already strong M&A candidates (~50%)
  • 50 Advisory Board members


Launchpad Digital Health Portfolio Companies:

* Indicates companies with female CEO's


Links and Resources Mentioned:

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Start listening to S12: #113: Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on Women's Health, Social Determinants of Health, and the 'She-cession'
27:23