Dr Ben Evans is Managing Partner at InHealth Ventures, an early stage healthtech fund. Ben discusses his varied career journey from medicine to venture capital via management consulting at McKinsey, a stint at a startup and being an operations manager in the NHS.
Learning from the US
Ben spent four years working for the prestigious management consultancy, McKinsey & Co, in its offices in London, New York and Boston. Ben’s time State-side introduced him to a vibrant start-up and investor scene and helped informed his views of healthcare innovation, A stint at Objective Health, a spinout providing healthcare analytics to provider organisations, allowed Ben to understand the enormity of the role of data in the future of health in clinical outcomes and costs. These are lessons that he employs today in his role in venture.
Operations management in the NHS
Upon return to the UK, Ben headed to St George’s hospital in the NHS in London as clinical transformation lead. Suddenly on the provider side, Ben learned a lot about how hospitals are run from the challenges of day-to-day crises to handling different stakeholders who have misaligned incentives. This role also thrust Ben into the role of a customer in healthtech and it was customary for him to meet healthtech startups pitching to him.
Ben was brought in over 4 years ago to lead InHealth Ventures, the venture arm of InHealth. InHealth is the UK’s largest specialist provider of diagnostic and healthcare solutions. They work with hospitals and commissioners across the NHS and private sector.
InHealth Ventures is an early stage healthtech fund investing in startups at seed and series A. The portfolio is split between US and Europe and all companies aim to leverage data to improve access, outcomes and costs in healthcare. Highlights in the InHealth Ventures portfolio include Kheiron medical technologies (UK) working in AI in mammography for breast cancer screening and Laudio (Boston), an SaaS company focused using their software platform to improve communication between groups of clinical staff and reduce burnout in clinical staff.
InHealth Ventures has evolved from classic strategic corporate venture capital to a more independent, agile institutional style fund. Their deep links to InHealth are very advantageous to the portfolio companies who can get help with go to market planning, product development, R&D and deployment of products into InHealth.
Differences between US and UK healthtech
The US digital health market is a more mature than the UK and is around 5-8 years ahead. The corollary being a more established ecosystem with sophisticated angel and VC investors many of whom are previous exited founders. There is also a level sophistication on the customer side in how providers deal with digital health startups. Medicine in the US is more entrepreneurial in nature with doctors often thinking about how they run their practice as a business.
Will startups walk alongside the internet giants moving into healthcare?
Large internet giants e.g. Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft view health as the next large profit pie and are moving into the space. They bring with them exciting acquisition opportunities, high quality ongoing innovation and endless resources. However, these enormous companies can’t focus in the same way as a small and agile startup can. Healthcare is different as a market as one doesn’t only need to build a phenomenal product but also think about deployment across various clinical pathways in a complex, regulated system with various stakeholders. These intricate stakeholder relationships are areas that startups can truly focus on and excel at understanding. This differentiation will allow healthtech startups to thrive alongside the internet giants.
If you want to find out more about Ben and InHealth Ventures, read more here.