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3. Summary

3.1 General findings

Investments in Nordic Health Tech. Nordic Health Tech has undergone a dynamic investment journey, attracting nearly 7 billion USD in investments to date since 2019, and growing by 92% compared to pre-pandemic levels. 2021 received a historic level of venture investments although, since then, investments have seen a correction of 30–50% as the market adjusted post-pandemic. Within the broader Nordic venture landscape, Health Tech's share shifted from 16% in 2019 to 9% in 2022, as overall investments in Nordic Venture have grown faster than investments in Nordic Health Tech.  Nevertheless, Nordic Health Tech ranks among the top 5 Nordic sector with most investments and maintains a substantial presence on the European stage, representing 15% of European Health Tech investments and over 2% of European Venture investments. Geographically, Sweden and Denmark continue to dominate, attracting 70–80% of Health Tech investments, while all Nordic countries experienced growth in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Investor approach in Nordic Health Tech. The survey findings indicate a robust 64% of investors actively engaged in Nordic Health Tech with at least one investment in the field in the last 5 years, reflecting a growing interest. These investors divided into Generalists (69%), Thematic investors (14%), and Specialists (17%), often possess health-related backgrounds (80%), mostly related to prior work experience in the field (70%). They favor early-stage and tend to invest into Health Tech companies based in their same country, limiting cross-border investments. Key criteria when assessing investments include team quality, a proven market demand, and the strength of the IP. Most investors saw returns exceeding 1x from investments done in the last 5 years and anticipate increasing allocations due to the sector growth and relevance, despite current market challenges. Most investors believe M&A is the most viable option to exit Nordic Health Tech deals.
  • By type of investors, Generalist tend to invest broadly among Health Tech sub-sectors, while specialist investors concentrate their investments among Digital Health, Med Tech and Bio Tech. Generalist are sourcing companies from entrepreneur networks, other investors, and startup inquiries mainly. While specialist are sourcing mainly from Universities & TTOs, incubators and other investors. Most specialist are very likely to lead an investment round in Health Tech and co-invest with other health specialist and professional investors. While generalist are not very likely to lead a Health Tech deal and tend to co-invest with angels and preferably with other co-investors with expertise in health.
  • By investor location, Finnish and Icelandic investors are investing more broadly in Health, with investors betting equally in most sub sectors. Norwegian and Swedish investors are mostly focusing on Digital Health and MedTech. While Danish investors are predominantly investing in Digital Health.
Main barriers to invest in Nordic Health Tech. Over 36% of surveyed investors, despite having a mandate for Nordic Health Tech investments, have yet to engage in the sector. The primary barrier for 57% of these non-investors is the difficulty in finding suitable opportunities, attributed to limited access to high-quality deal flow or not encountering the right company. An additional 14% highlight extended development and approval timelines as a major hurdle, impacting time-to-market and capital requirements. Other noteworthy barriers include the absence of networks in the Nordics to co-invest with (10%), insufficient health knowledge (5%), and concerns about the attractiveness of the exit market for these companies (5%). Investors currently involved in Nordic Health Tech underscore the significance of prior health knowledge, particularly in BioTech and Life Science investments. Digital Health and Consumer Health also require expertise, especially according to specialist investors, while opinions vary regarding Med Tech.
Investment risk in Nordic Health Tech. Investors in Nordic Health Tech identify several key risks, including extended sales cycles for B2B and B2G models, prolonged time to market and revenue, and a shortage of follow-on capital hampering company growth. Public healthcare system dominance poses another challenge. Generalist investors note a lack of specialized co-investors, while specialists highlight small, fragmented markets and insufficient clinical validation. Non-Health Tech investors perceive market regulations and a scarcity of high-quality deal flow as risks. Investors also point out weaknesses in Nordic Health Tech founders, primarily their constrained access to capital, limited understanding of target customers (especially health corporations and public entities), deficiencies in commercial and communication skills, a penchant for small markets, team-building challenges, and a lack of growth-oriented mindset.
Perceived level of available funding for Nordic Health Tech companies. Investor perceptions of available funding for Nordic Health Tech companies vary significantly based on investor type and sub-sector. Overall, 62% rate funding as average, but active investors tend to be more critical, with 31% believing it's below average. When it comes to stage, most investors perceive there is the right amount of funding for health tech companies at the pre-seed and seed stages, however they see a lack of funding at later stages. Especially at the growth stage (pre-IPO), where almost half of the investors interviewed perceive that there are below average levels of funding. Most sub-sectors are viewed as adequately funded, except for BioTech, which is seen as underfunded. Investors in each country have also different perceptions of the level of available funding for their local companies. Norwegians, Swedes and Fins perceive their companies to be receiving less funding than average. While Icelanders believe their companies to actually be receiving the right amount of funding, and the Danes indicate that the available funding for Danish companies is above average.
Opportunities and Strengths of Nordic Health Tech Ecosystem: Investors highlight key strengths in the Nordic Health Tech ecosystem, including quality education, specialized talent, strong healthcare systems, government support, and IP generation, with specialists noting the quality of the deal flow. Most investors pointed out Digital Health and BioTech and Life Science as the most promising sub-sectors in Nordic Health Tech. Each Nordic country has their own most promising sub-sectors, with BioTech in Norway, MedTech in Sweden, Digital Health in Denmark, and multiple sectors in Finland and Iceland. Unanimous agreement centers on AI and healthcare automation as the most impactful trends in the next 5 to 10 years, alongside trends like remote monitoring, precision medicine, digital therapeutics, and the integration of health data into apps, with mentions of robotics and data privacy and ethics trends, albeit to a lesser extent.

3.2 General recommendations

Recommendations to reduce risks and increase investments in Nordic Health Tech
Reducing Time to Market and Sales Cycles:
  • Establish More Local Testbeds: Create additional opportunities for Nordic health tech companies to gain early clinical evidence and validation, enabling faster market entry and sales. (e.g., Meru Health in Finland).
  • Streamline Public Procurement: Improve public sector engagement and procurement processes with local and national health providers to facilitate quicker adoption of health tech solutions. (e.g., DFØ in Norway).
Expanding Market Reach:
  • Foster Nordic-US Market Expansion: Facilitate Nordic health tech companies in establishing themselves in the US market to attract capital from US investors, recognizing it as a prime market for health tech growth and investment.
  • Support companies in Go-To-Market Strategy development and implementation: Support Nordic Health Tech founders developing sound go-to-market strategies targeting markets with high growth potential and in helping them to successfully establish their companies in new markets and attract capital from investors in those markets. 
Enhancing Investor Expertise:
  • Develop Health Tech Angel Investors: Encourage health professionals to become angel investors, boosting both capital and expertise within the Nordic Health Tech ecosystem.
  • Attract STEM Graduates: Engage STEM graduates and PhDs, particularly those with backgrounds in medicine, biology, or chemistry, to join the venture industry as industry experts, advisors, angels, or venture partners.
  • Support Generalist Investors: Provide education and training for generalist investors interested in health tech investing, promoting co-investments with health specialists.
  • Promote Thematic Health Tech Investors: Encourage more active investors in Nordic Health Tech to become thematic investors, focusing on health tech for increased specialization and investment activity.
Enhancing Access to Investment Opportunities:
  • Strengthen University Connections: Forge stronger links between universities and technology transfer offices (TTOs) with the broader Nordic investor community to expand access to health tech deal flow.
  • Cultivate Health Tech Angel Networks: Develop health tech-focused angel investors and networks to facilitate co-investment opportunities with generalist investors.
  • Create Investor Arenas: Establish platforms for local Nordic investors, non-Nordic and non-Health Tech investors to connect with active investors and health tech companies in the Nordic Health Tech ecosystem.
Addressing Capital and Exit Challenges:
  • Foster Corporate-Startup Collaboration: Encourage greater engagement of Nordic health corporates with the health tech ecosystem to improve the exit landscape, promoting partnerships and acquisitions.
  • Support Capital Raising: Assist Nordic Health Tech companies in raising capital from European and international investors, showcasing successful stories for inspiration.
  • Engage Diverse Investors: Involve Pension Funds, Family Offices, and Corporate Venture funds in Nordic health tech investments to bridge the funding gap, especially in later-stage rounds.
  • Mobilize State Investors: Encourage Nordic state investors to allocate more capital into Nordic health tech, supporting later-stage companies and co-investing with other investors or funds.