Barcelona’s healthtech startup ecosystem is in great shape. In fact, there are currently about 200 healthtech startups in the region, with 19% having reached advanced stages of funding (series A, B, C).
The Catalan capital, which is ranked 8th in the world for its standard of healthcare, also boasts 4 of the 10 best hospitals in Spain. Moreover, the region is home to some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Spain, including Almirall, Esteve, Grífols and Uriach, as well as many international companies such as Synthon, Novartis, Merck, Sanofi and Boehringer-Ingelheim.
In addition to that, associations such as the Barcelona Health Hub, organisations like IQS Tech Factory and Ship2B (Tech4Health program), or the life-science-focused crowdfunding platform Capital Cell have all been helping the local healthtech startups grow and prosper over the past years.
In this article, we’ll round up 15 of the best Barcelona-grown healthtech startups that are helping Barcelona make a name for itself within the global healthtech industry.
The big players
Psious is a Virtual Reality Therapy smartphone app, founded here in Barcelona. The app uses behavioral health and virtual reality technology to treat anxiety disorders, fears and phobias. It also promotes the practice of mindfulness and relaxation techniques. The app helps patients overcome conditions such as the fear of flying, acrophobia, claustrophobia and agoraphobia, using virtual reality exercises.
Since it was founded in 2013 by physicists Daniel Roig and Xavier Palomer, Psious has raised €9M in funding. This year’s €8M funding round was co-led by Sabadell Asabys, Caixa Capital Micro II, and Caixa Capital Tic II, and follows a previous €1M funding round in 2016. The Catalan company plans to use this capital for geographic expansion, both within Europe and globally.
Devicare is a leader in chronic patient care solutions. The Barcelona-based company focuses on developing solutions for the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and monitoring of chronic diseases. With a particular focus on chronic diseases that can be controlled from the patients’ home in order to improve quality of life, the company also offers a mentoring service supported by a local team of experts and nursing staff.
In December 2017, Devicare signed a participative loan worth €2M from the Innova Global line by Avançsa. In May 2018, it raised €3M in seed funding to bring remote patient monitoring devices to clinical trial. The company, founded by Rosenda Garganta, has raised €9.5M in total since its founding in 2012, with the latest investment stemming from a €2.4M funding round at the start of 2021.
Founded by Alberto Porciani and Lorena Bassas in 2012, Top Doctors is an online medical platform that helps connect patients with the best doctors and medical centers in the US, Europe and Latin America. The company, with its headquarters in Barcelona, represents more than 60k of the world’s top physicians and reaches more than 1M users on its site every month.
Top Doctors last raised €3M in 2017 which was led by Addventure, bringing the total to €4.6M raised in funding so far. With the latest funding, the startup intends to break into new markets and continue developing new technologies.
Positioned as the WhatsApp of medicine, MediQuo is a medical consultation app that allows users to chat with doctors and specialists, 24 hours a day. Users can speak with a specialist doctor and receive an instant response within 2 minutes.
Founded by Guillem Serra in 2013, MediaQuo secured a €1.5M seed round, led by VC firm Target Global in October 2018 and has raised a total of €4.5M to date. With free, unlimited consultations, users can exchange photos, diagnostic tests and medical forms with doctors to facilitate diagnosis. MediQuo has reached more than 145,000 medical consultations, with a 4.5 out of 5 app rating from users.
Mediktor, the only clinically-validated symptom checker for pre-diagnosis, triage and decision-making support, was founded in September 2011 by Oscar García-Esquirol. The technology combines AI, NLR and patient data to detect symptoms and suggest possible conditions and recommendations.
With the aim of supporting the commercialisation of the AI application in the North American market, the Barcelona-based company raised €3M in Series A funding in December 2018, which was led by Alta Life Sciences Spain I FCR.
The company, which also has an office in New York, is collaborating in an alliance with Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, making the platform the only one clinically validated worldwide, with a success rate of 91.3%, as proven in clinical trials.
Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in BCN, Medtep is a solution that allows doctors to monitor patients via an online tool that tracks medication adherence, symptoms, physical activity and other parameters. The solution, which can be customised for various conditions, is free for patients and doctors.
Founded in May 2011, the company closed a €1.75M investment from various investors in July 2015 when it moved its Headquarters to Silicon Valley. Medtep has however kept its development, product and marketing teams in Barcelona. The team is currently developing different business models, including a subscription-based model that will charge users a small monthly fee to use the software.
Mowoot is a non-pharmacological and non-invasive solution for people suffering with chronic constipation. With a wearable device, users receive an automatic colon-specific massage similar to the manual abdominal massage administered by health professionals.
Mowoot, created by Barcelona-based startup usMIMA in 2015, emerged from the MOEBIO dHEALTH program and recently completed a crowdfunding campaign to successfully raise €400K on the Capital Cell platform. This brings the total amount to €1.5M in funding raised to date. More than 1,000 units of Mowoot have been sold in countries including Spain, the UK and Germany.
The startup motivating employees to live more active lifestyles, Barcelona-based WeFitter is helping companies reduce healthcare costs through gamification and health tracking data. Founded in April 2015, the health solution aggregates real-time data from health and fitness apps to give a complete view of a person’s health, enabling health insurers to reduce healthcare costs and increase profit margins.
WeFitter secured €260K in funding from Wellness Holding, the owner of TechnoGym, in 2015 whilst a seed funding round of €130K in 2018 brought the total raised to €710K. The startup has been reported to be entering the American and Finnish fitness markets as their user base continues to grow.
Barcelona-based IOMED offers multiple solutions that apply artificial intelligence to clinical data in order to generate predictive algorithms. Founded in May 2016, IOMED was born out of a frustration regarding the need to manually analyse medical records. Its suite of tools transform information found in written medical records into structured data that can then be more easily analysed. Hospitals can then use that data to enhance results in clinical research procedures like clinical trials and studies.
The company raised €500K in capital from a seed funding round in 2018, which was led by EASO Ventures, the new fund managed by Inveready, with participation from Pioneers Ventures and business angels. With this funding, it intends to expand its structure and implement its technology in new areas.
First Derm is a clinical research-backed on-demand-dermatology service founded 2014 in San Francisco, with 50% of their team, including their CEO, being based in Barcelona. To date, they raised €800K and are already profitable. The company has collected over 350.000 smartphone images of skin diseases that have been used to build an artificial intelligence (AI) search engine called Skin Image Search.
The AI can screen for 33 common skin diseases with an 80% accuracy. What is more, they are actually collecting a further 15.000 images every month and the founder Dr Alexander Börve is predicting that their AI will soon be better at diagnosing skin diseases than any dermatologist – from just a smartphone picture. They have an API to their AI and is a Saas business model.
Although registered in the UK, most of Diagnost’s team is based in Barcelona. Diagnost offers a variety of tests to examine the body as a whole and allows users to gain insights into their health by assessing specific areas such as cognition and mood, weight management, sleep balance, sexual performance and the cardiovascular system.
The startup was founded this year by Harvard Business School graduate Tatiana Bakunina, international expert in preventive medicine and anti-aging therapy with a track record of more than 20 years in medical innovation, including 10 at Johnson & Johnson Medical Corporation as VP of New Business for EMEA, and it is already amassing a user base of health-conscious individuals that want to be proactive in preventing the adverse effects of getting older.
Medlia Health digitalises care management and improves efficiencies via its 360° cloud-software solution. The online symptom-checking platform was founded by Patrick Freeman and Pablo Moga while meeting at AXA Global Healthcare in 2017. By providing medical clinics with modern management software, but also integrating that software with telemedicine, Medlia improves patient engagement and chronic care management.
This startup won second prize in the Ibero-American Awards for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the Health Sector Go Health Awards and records no investment to date. With a B2B business model, Medlia targets small and medium-sized medical clinics that need to digitalise.
Pharmacy Mentor was founded by Saam Ali in 2016 here in Barcelona and is a niche marketing agency that helps the pharmacy sector communicate with their patients and customers better. Built single-handedly but with a freelance team primarily in the UK, the agency now caters for pharmacies in the UK, Spain and Portugal. As well as executing marketing strategies, the company is heavily involved in the digital transformation of pharmacies, enabling them to better serve a digitally-consumed population.
Barcelona-based startup Doctoralia merged with DocPlanner in 2016, creating the largest online health platform in the world. Originally founded in 2007, the Doctoralia healthcare platform connects users with their local healthcare and medical services in over 20 countries.
DocPlanner raised $20 million in Series C financing, led by Target Global, just before acquiring Doctoralia. As a result of the merger, the two companies will be present in 25 countries, with a combined unique user count of 17 million and together will hold the largest database of healthcare professionals in the world.
PromoFarma is the leading online marketplace of consumer health and wellness products and founded in Barcelona in 2010, before being acquired by Zur Rose Group AG. The company enables customers to purchase the best beauty, baby and health products from hundreds of pharmacies and other health merchants.
According to La Informacion, PromoFarma was acquired by Zur Rose for more than €40 million in August 2018. PromoFarma.com was recognised by Actualidad Económica as one of the Best Spanish Startups for its innovation, talent and youth in 2015.
Barcelona’s capacity to attract international talent, as well as its rich startup ecosystem, make it the perfect place for starting a new business in the healthtech industry. As more money is invested into health industries, all eyes are on Catalunya and its promising, healthy future.
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