Nov 16, 2022 - Health

HLTH is eating the conference world

A packed HLTH 2022 conference saw 9,000 attendees this year, up from 3,500 in 2018.

A packed HLTH 2022 conference had 9,000 attendees this year, up from 3,500 in 2018. Credit: Erin Brodwin/Axios

A soaring attendee list, jam-packed schedule and sessions with seemingly every corner of the health care spectrum from startup to banker to Big Tech have Axios wondering: Is HLTH eating the conference world?

Why it matters: CES, JPM and HIMSS were once the heaviest hitters in the health tech world — places where so much dealmaking happened, people resorted to taking meetings in bathrooms.

  • HLTH's attendee list nearly tripled this year, with 9,000 people roaming the glamorous, dimly lit halls of the Venetian Expo — up from a roster of roughly 3,500 when the conference started in 2018.
  • It's almost as if the new kid on the health care block is eating the conference world, in true Andreessen Horowitz fashion.

Zoom in: In addition to HLTH in November, the same conference organizers put on ViVE, pitched as "like HLTH, but for hospital CIOs" — otherwise known as the same people that would attend HIMSS.

What they're saying: All of Axios' Erin Brodwin's meetings at HLTH have ended with her asking the unofficial survey query: After all of this, are you going to any of those other three events? The answer is often a shrugged maybe or firm no accompanied by raised brows (as if Erin should know the answer). The reasons include:

  • "All the investors are here," GSR Ventures partner Sunny Kumar told Axios on Monday.
  • HLTH is all in one very, very large building, so there's no need to run around in the San Francisco rain — or take a bathroom meeting, pointed out Steven Wardell, a digital health consultant with the growth consulting firm Wardell Advisors.
  • Market conditions mean tighter budgets overall, so people who bought tickets to HLTH six months ago may not want to shovel out thousands of additional dollars for another event happening within months.

The other side: Still, for those local to San Francisco or Las Vegas, conferences such as JPM or CES may still seem like a logical bet.

  • "For me JPM means walking down the street," Redpoint Ventures principal Jacob Effron told Erin on Tuesday. "So yes, I'll be there."

Meanwhile, for what it's worth, Erin will be there too.

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