Mapping the 2021 Health Tech 1000

Deconstructing the 2021 Health Tech 1000 into HolonIQ's 46 Taxonomy Clusters

Health Intelligence Unit

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August 4, 2022

Clinical, digital and analytical advances are driving a focus on prevention and ‘smarter’ healthcare


Every year, HolonIQ’s Health Intelligence Unit identifies the top 1000 Health Tech startups around the world. By mapping the 2021 cohort to the Global Healthcare Landscape we’re able to gain a deeper understanding of where entrepreneurial talent is focused in healthcare - and which areas of the market are driving innovation.   

The Health Tech 1000 is built region by region from over 10,000 nominations, applications and screening to ensure the global cohort is diverse and to shine a light on the inspiring innovation happening all around the world.

Exhibit 1

Applications for the 2022 Global Health Tech 1000 are now closed and each regional list will be announced at our Global Impact Summits Sep-Nov 2022. Please also check our 30 individual maps for the 2021 Global Health Tech 1000, EdTech 1000 and Climate Tech 1000.

The Global Healthcare Landscape encompasses all organizations working across healthcare. The Taxonomy provides an organizational structure that helps to make sense of what is often a complex and hyper-local sector and map and track this evolving market. Companies are allocated first to sub-sectors and within those sub-sectors they are classified into clusters. 

When viewed through the prism of the Global Healthcare Landscape, the 2021 Health Tech 1000 provides a visual representation of where entrepreneurial focus is concentrated currently; a heat map of sector innovation and investment opportunity.

Clinical research gains and personal health focus a silver lining from pandemic

As nations continue to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic it is already all too apparent the experience has left great scars across global healthcare systems and society generally. Following a period of unprecedented prioritization of clinical research and vaccine development it is perhaps unsurprising Research is the largest sub-sector across our cohort. With nearly a quarter of all organizations represented focused on Prevention and Diagnosis it is also clear that personal health remains a high priority for individuals. The 2021 Health Tech 1000 consists of many organizations with B2C propositions concentrated on wellbeing, mental health and other aspects of physical health. 

The greater utilization of digital across healthcare globally is also represented in the chart, with technology specialists increasingly applying machine learning and artificial intelligence methodology to healthcare’s antiquated data infrastructure. Soaring usage of telehealth over the period has profoundly changed the landscape for investors and entrepreneurs.  

Exhibit 2
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'Cluster view' reveals pace of medical device innovation

When viewed as specific clusters, rather than sub-sectors, the texture of the Health Tech 1000 subtly shifts. Despite Hardware being only the 4th largest sub-sector overall, Medical Devices leads the way in terms of companies represented in the cohort - reflecting both the high degree of specificity required in this space and also the substantial opportunity for start-ups who can apply novel technologies to major healthcare challenges. The next two clusters - Clinical Insights and Discovery - once more reflect the extent to which the scientific community has responded since early 2020. Elsewhere there are clear patterns showing that start-ups focused on applying digital expertise to healthcare’s great productivity challenge are gaining traction.

Exhibit 3

A global picture of healthcare innovation

Different regions of the world have different areas of focus, demand or specialization in health innovation and technology, driving variation in the regional composition by sub sector.

The importance of the Research sub-sector is clearly evident across East Asia, Europe and North America whereas in other regions the role of systems and technologies is more pronounced. In South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa, Treatment represents more than a third of all organizations in the cohort, reflecting the capacity for digitally-enabled healthcare delivery across regions with large rural populations.

Exhibit 4

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Age and stage of start-ups vary by region

Globally, 5% of the Global Health Tech 1000 were founded through the pandemic, and 54% established in the four years prior. This leaves just over 40% who were formed prior to 2015.

By analyzing the founding year of the Health Tech 1000, we can also see trends in company formation, biased of course by the fact that we are looking at the most promising startups region by region.

Interesting outliers include Sub Saharan Africa, which has the highest percentage (16%) of startups formed since the pandemic. At the other end of spectrum, almost 60% of startups in our European cohort were founded prior to 2015. At a regional level, the Americas has the youngest group of startups, with two out of three digital health businesses founded post 2015.

Exhibit 5
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