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Health tech's Q1 mega-round winners

Top digital health equity deals in Q1 2022
Data: CB Insights, Erin Brodwin/Axios; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than two dozen digital health companies raised late-stage mega-rounds in the first quarter of 2022, reflecting a bigger trend in the sector that's seeing investors write larger checks for Series C rounds and beyond, according to data from CB Insights and Rock Health.

Why it matters: Although the first quarter of 2022 might go down in history as the first time in a decade that health tech funding slowed, you'd never know it looking at the size of some of its biggest deals.

By the numbers: 13 digital health companies collected rounds of $150 million or more.

  • In 2020, Series D+ raises averaged $80 million.
  • Over the past 15 months, deals of that stage have averaged around $130 million.

Details: Some common themes among the companies with Q1's largest rounds include:

  • Chronic condition management: Somatus, Freenome, Lyra Health, Omada Health.
  • Medical data analysis: DNAnexus, ConcertAI, Verana Health.
  • Telehealth and digital pharmacy: Ro, Alto Pharmacy.

Between the lines: All this late-stage activity suggests entrepreneurs are shifting their strategy away from near-term public debuts amid tough market conditions, as several executives have told Axios recently. Other factors in the works:

  • Companies could be rejiggering their exit roadmaps toward traditional IPOs and away from once-hot SPACs, according to Rock Health.
  • Venture firms that have been sitting on dry powder they collected in 2021 may have been more likely to reinvest it in startups they know or had previously backed.

What's next: Tiger Global and D1 Capital Partners are just two big-name firms that plan to pull back on later-stage deals and instead back earlier funding rounds, something several executives tell Axios they expect to influence their business for months to years.

  • "As far as fundraises, I think everything will go earlier, towards seed rounds and Series A," says Sami Inkinen, the founder and CEO of digital diabetes company Virta Health.
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