Saks Snacks #11: Amazon's Wearable, Record-Breaking Digital Health Ventures, The Sleep Economy & Creator Economy
Nano-powered Glucose Monitor, Microbiome Health, Decentralized Clinical Trials, The Creator Economy, and more
Hello from San Francisco!
Hope you enjoy the quick health-tech content this week.
🥑 Snacks of the Week - Amazon, record-breaking funding, sleep economy
💸 Capital Raise Radar - 3 recent raises
💰 Zooming out: 2021 digital health’s venture trends
🎙️ Pods of the Week (x2): Microbiome health & Creator Economy
💡 Big Ideas - Creator Economy, Web2 & Web 3
💥 Spark Moment - from September 2020
#1 🥑 Snacks of the week
Big tech: Amazon Wades Deeper Into Wearables - last Tuesday, Amazon unveiled its new wearable device (Halo View) with a screen similar to the Apple Watch / Fitbit, and also announced features around its personalized meal planning service and home workout service.
Venture Funding: Digital health record-breaking year continues with the three highest-funded quarters ever - (*more in Capital Raise Radar*)
Sleep Tech: The Zzz Economy - how sleep tech startups are gearing up to meet the demand and $485M sleep economy ripe for disruption.
Glucose Monitoring: Graphwear’s nanotechnology-based approach to CGM'‘s without breaking the skin is mind-blowing. The graphene has an electric field that drags molecules up, converts them to an electrical signal, then transports it via Bluetooth to your phone that can chart and displace glucose values continuously. (more in Capital Raise Radar)
Sleep Tech: An underrated marker of sleep quality that no one is talking about - WASO. WASO is a measure of the amount of time an individual spends awake after they have fallen asleep and before they fully wake up
#2 💸 Capital Raise Radar
Below are 3 recent raises spanning non-invasive glucose monitoring, neuro-rehabilitation, and end-to-end tclinical trials for underserved populations.
GraphWear, a needle-free, nanotech-powered glucose monitor, closes a $20.5M Series B. This round will focus on delivering step 1: a clinically evaluated, graphene-based sensor. GraphWear will build upon previous validation studies, complete a pivotal trial, and submit for FDA clearance.
MindMaze, a SaaS-based digital neurotherapeutics platform, secures $125M to accelerate commercialization of digital neurotherapeutics Platform
Lightship, virtual-first provider of clinical trials, raises $40M to bring decentralized clinical trials at scale
#3:💰 Zooming out: digital health’s venture trends
Wondering how digital health funding evolved in 2021? Let’s double click on snack #2 of the week:
Between Q1-Q3, 2021’s total funding amounted to $21.3B across 541 deals, with an average deal size of $39.4M.
As digital mental health companies compete in an increasingly crowded space, we’re seeing more startups differentiate by focusing on complex mental and behavioral health support, including serious mental illness and substance use disorders.
Investors aren’t simply shifting to earlier-stage investments. Digital health companies are raising more money per round and also are raising early-stage rounds more quickly.
These 3 strong consecutive quarters of funding (light green bar) also signal that investors are betting on strong adoption of healthcare innovation.
2021’s breakout funding is evidence of an unprecedented mandate for change, across all aspects of healthcare.
These investments signal to me that the post-pandemic era will be the continuation of a multi-year opportunity rather than a bubble.
Looking back at the first 10 editions of Saks Snacks, we’ve discussed numerous diabetes management and mental health “innovators”, and the $’s flowing in the graph below support this.
Writing this bi-weekly has opened my eyes to how quickly technologies evolve and looking forward, innovators will succeed by having agile business models and flexibility with the evolving regulatory environment.
#4 Weekly Musings
🎙️ Pods of the Week - 2 of this week’s listens
Ara Katz, co-founder of Seed Health - a microbial science company, discusses the microbiome and the many ways it impacts well-being.
“Understanding the Microbiome is a 0 to 1 moment in health”: understanding the microbiome, microbes, and how we can use them was our 0 to 1 in health. It's fundamentally changing the way we understand our bodies, ourselves, our pathology, different conditions, and why we eat what we eat, what we should eat, how we’re going to make choices every day”
Scientific integrity & playing the long game: In an industry with hyperbole and misinformation, Ara & her team Triple down on scientific integrity, playing the long game with educating “customers”, and acknowledging when there are shortcomings in scientific research. Ara takes the stewardship of science seriously. She shared a quote from the scientific advisor to the UK that “science isn’t finished until it’s communicated.” Part of doing the science and moving health forward is the aggregate responsibility and impact you have when you properly educate customers.
Seed Health will be propelled forward by a combination of market receptivity and because the science is ready for commercialization and impact
Creator Economy / Web 3: learn how crypto offers a “natural evolution” to the creator economy
Advice for people that want to get into the creator economy / web3:
Jesse Walden: Don’t be discouraged by the rough edges, since crypto is still in its nascent phase. The rough edges will get smoothed out, and the opportunity today is to get in on the ground floor.
Cooper Turley: Overall, the upside to joining a DAO is exponential. Don’t start a community, join one - there’s more upside. “The social capital” gained from work is more valuable than the financial upside.
Li Jin: Learn by doing. Being a member of these ecosystems are a great learning tool
💡 Big Idea - web 3’s impact on health tech? (stemming from pod #2)
The creator economy will allow us all to be our own nation-states.
It enables self-empowerment. Creators have recognized social media is a powerful tool that allows you to mobilize an audience and mobilize messages.
With crypto, you can be your own bank, hold your own assets, etc. Just like nation-states are their own sovereign nation, creators can be their own sovereignty.
Every participant is inherently a creator, but Web2 platforms show that people feel like they’re taken advantage of and don’t like how they feel using the platforms.
Web 2 has witnessed an explosion of distributed content, but centralized platforms determine the nature of how it plays out. Crypto offers a natural evolution to the creator economy, enriching the relationship between creator and community.
A key feature for decentralized systems is the ability for users, developers, and all people participating on that platform to feel like they can build on that platform and not have the rules changed later on.
Cooper Turley had some bold comments on the DAO inflection:
“I think DAO’s are the new LLC. Looking 5 years into the future, there’ll no difference between an LLC today and a DAO tomorrow. The core difference is there’s no longer equity in companies, there’s tokens and networks.
While I disagree with the timelines Cooper boldly laid out (5 years), he’s onto something. I can see a future where there are larger, more sophisticated DAO’s than tech companies such as Facebook.
Ultimately, I believe in the internet hive mind’s ability to outcompete centralized organizations and individuals’ abilities to shape how the world works. We’re early in the process, but I want to stay informed on these developments and understand how the rise of web 3, the creator economy, and crypto will intersect with and impact health tech. More to come.
💥 Spark Moment of the Week - from September 2020
One reason we repeat behaviors is if we enjoy them. Because we like the reward.
If we don’t enjoy the experience along the way, we’re less likely to stick with it.
This means you must find ways to bring that reward into the present moment.
Last week, I urged a friend wanting to run a half marathon to take it slow, patiently allow progress to come, and truly enjoy the process ( all basic advice).
I dug up the original inspiration for my approach, when I knew nothing about running, felt like a complete outsider to the running world, and wanted to learn:
6/13/20 Moment: The difference between surviving 1st marathon and succeeding in the 1st marathon was introduced in The Strength Running Podcast (Ep74, 1st time listening). I realized when listening to Jason Fitzgerald (host) sharing how being more patient, tactical with training, and slowly building up will help make the experience of the marathon more enjoyable and an actual sustainable practice, rather than "surviving" 1 and then never doing it again.
Another moment came when learning about heat dissipation when running, and how smaller bodies allow more efficient heat loss.
6/1/2020 Moment: The chapter in atomic habits on 3-mile run today changed my POV and helped me realize that my natural advantage based on my body type, height, etc. will be long distance running!
I’m average height - 5’9” to be exact. Growing up playing competitive baseball I was almost always the shortest guy on the team and had to compensate in other aspects of the game to stay competitive.
However, that 1 line from the audiobook completely shifted my perspective on running, and for the first time, I felt like I had an advantage in physical exercise.
What’s 1 small narrative you can reframe that will positively serve you? 🤔
Any questions, thoughts, comments, disagreements, additions, ideas are welcome as always. I’m in inning 1 of a 9 inning game with understanding web3 / crypto concepts, and recognize that some of those topics require other exposure so - please email me with any thoughts and I will make updates moving forward!
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Have a creative week,