Optum Launches $250M Venture Fund to Invest in Digital Health Firms | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Optum Launches $250M Venture Fund to Invest in Digital Health Firms

November 29, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

Optum, the health services business of UnitedHealth Group, announced this week the launch of Optum Ventures, a $250 million venture fund focused on investing in startup and early-stage companies in the digital health care space.

Optum Ventures invests in digital health companies that use data and insights to help improve consumers’ access to health care services and how care is delivered and paid for, and that make the health care system more reliable and easier to navigate, the company stated in a press release.

“Optum Ventures is uniquely positioned to help develop and grow startups and early-stage companies through capital investment, Optum’s decades of experience in health care, and our access to the health care marketplace,” Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum and managing partner of Optum Ventures, said in a statement. “Optum Ventures will be the partner of choice for companies developing innovations that help make health care work better for everyone.”

The launch of Optum Ventures was announced during an analyst day in New York on Tuesday. According to a CNBC article, UnitedHealth is forecasting 2018 revenue growth of roughly 12 percent, to $223 billion to $225 billion. The main growth drivers are expected to be the company’s Optum data analytics and healthcare services business, and growth in the Medicare Advantage membership on the health insurance side, CNBC reported.

UnitedHealth Care, and other healthcare companies, are facing increasing pressure from tech heavyweights like Amazon and Apple. According to reporting from CNBC, Renfro was asked about the potential threat of Amazon and other tech companies entering the health care market and he said the company is “trying to catch up when it comes to early state companies.”

According to the Optum press release, entrepreneurs working with Optum Ventures will gain capital investment as well as strategic guidance to support development and growth from a vast network of experts and relationships. “Optum’s unparalleled health care assets and analytics capabilities provide a unique proving ground to research, test and innovate new solutions in collaboration with Optum’s broad and long-standing relationships and knowledge of how health care systems work and perform,” the company stated.

By leveraging Optum’s health care market expertise and experience, Optum Ventures and the companies it invests in will be able to bring solutions to market more quickly and scale faster, helping build a health care system that is more transparent, personalized, precise and consumer-focused, the company stated.

Among the fund’s first investments are Apervita, a company that developed a cloud-based pharmaceutical platform; Buoy Health, which has developed an artificial intelligence-powered digital health assistant that helps patients better understand their symptoms and get advice on where to go and what to do next; Mindstrong Health, whose technology uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to assess a patient’s smartphone interactions to help diagnose and treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another initial investment for Optum Ventures is SHYFT Analytics, which provides a cloud-based data and analytics platform for life sciences companies, enabling them to reduce cost and risk while increasing clinical and commercial performance, with a focus on oncology, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other specialty and rare disorders.

 

2018 Boston Health IT Summit

Renowned leaders in U.S. and North American healthcare gather throughout the year to present important information and share insights at the Healthcare Informatics Health IT Summits.

August 7 - 8, 2018 | Boston

Topics

News

Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.