In ‘Technology, Innovation and Management’[1] OUBS (2019) shapes out six waves of innovation change up to now. Technological innovations appear to emerge in clusters over time which they call ‘Generations of innovation’. OUBS states further, ‘that we are currently experiencing a transition from the fifth (IT) to the sixth (life sciences) wave of technological development’. However, this is true for the UK and other Western European countries, and not that true for Bulgaria yet. The reason? Some of the features of the fifth-generation process – such as technology transfer and open innovation – are still not in place here. And what is the core of the fifth-generation innovation?

According to Dodgson et al. cited by OUBS (2019) it is all about securing the highest level of organizational flexibility to deal with the increasing level of risk and uncertainty:

‘Within the firm we see increasing concern with organisational forms … that enable the maximum flexibility and responsiveness to deal with unpredictable and turbulent markets. Research, development, design and engineering take place in concurrent iterations, supported by ‘innovation technology’ in a fluid model.’

(Dodgson et al., 2008, p. 64)

Based on the results and conclusions of this HealthTech Mapping Analysis you are about to review, we may argue that Bulgaria is well into the fifth generation of innovation, but some of the healthtech solutions are well into the sixth. No wonder, that these are more warmly received abroad than in their home country and market. Nevertheless, we are proud to have remarkable, break-through healthtech solutions that, we hope, will have bright future in their international development.

[1] OUBS (2019), Technology, Innovation and Management, http://www.open.edu

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BULGARIAN HEALTHTECH SOLUTIONS ANALYSED
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MAPPINGS

32 % of tech solutions are established in 2020 alone. This is an unprecedented increase, taking into consideration the size of the next group;

36 % of healthtech solutions are established in the last 5 years preceding 2020, i.e. 2015-2019. This is an even more astonishing number in view of the 3rd group;

32 % of healthtech solutions were established in the last 15 years preceding 2015, i.e. 2000-2014.

56 % of all Bulgarian healthtech solutions are set up by only 13 of the companies.

In Bulgaria we observe a 30 % increase in Telehealth solutions in 2020.

15 % of all Bulgarian Healthtech solutions apply AI, and 5.7 % work with Big Data and Predictive Analytics. These 15 % of the Bulgarian healthtech solutions apply AI in their technology mix; some of them alongside Predictive Analytics, Big Data, Data base technologies; others alongside platform software or applications.

32.8 % of all Bulgarian HealthTech solutions apply Platforms and/or apps, which equals 1/3 of all tech solutions in this domain.

Digital solutions which apply both a software and a hardware part are only 15 % of all Bulgarian healthtech solutions.

Due to the pandemics, there is a rise in telehealth solutions, and a completely new category of telemonitoring occurred. Before Covid-19, only Checkpoint Cardio was performing in the remote online monitoring sector.

From the perspective of industry sectors, the heading categories of Bulgarian healthtech solutions are:

19 % Other Screening & Diagnostics

17 % Administrative Tools, and

16 % Pharma supply-chain solutions.

Despite there are newly entrants in the sector, Checkpoint Cardio remains the only medical center for complete remote health monitoring. Other solutions are self-serve ones, and can be useful more in cases of preventive care, rather than ill people.

There are 37 Bulgarian healthtech solutions which serve 4 sectoral Value Chains which comprise this industry vertical. These 4 Value Chains are as follows, Life Sciences Value Chain, Health System Value Chain, Pharma Value Chain, and Laboratories which are not part of Pharma companies.

Approximately 49 % of all tech solutions considered for this mapping, deliver a service or product for the Health System value chain. And 55 % of them serve the interaction among patients and physicians.

HEALTHTECHS: FUNDING

Sifted’[1] (2020) announced the annual numbers on European Digital Health solutions for 2020. It concludes, ‘Despite fears that the pandemic would mean health investors focused on operative businesses rather than up-and-coming ones, Europe’s startups brought in $2.3bn in the third quarter of 2020, nearing the record $2.9bn invested in the same quarter last year. There are 626 funded digital health companies active across Europe today, and 63% of them were founded in the past five years.’

Based on Speedinvest[2] data, 56 Digital Health companies which secured funding, have been established in Central Eastern Europe. Figures are far lower than the real number of established companies in the secftor due to the funding reporting lag, and because younger startups are less likely to have secured funding yet.

We observe the same trend in Bulgaria. Figure 3 displays that only 37 % of Bulgarian Digital Health companies are externally funded, according to data on Crunchbase. Some 10 % are bootstrapped, and the basis doesn’t have any information for more than half of all Bulgarian firms in the realm (53 %).

[1] Sifted (2020), ‘In numbers: Europe’s healthtech industry in 2020’, https://sifted.eu/articles/europes-healthtech-industry-2020/, last accessed on 03.01.2021

[2] ibid

Moreover, Sifted interlinks the level of available external funding for Digital Health solutions to the numbe of established companies. ‘Countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Benelux — Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — and Southern Europe receive comparatively little digital health funding.’ However, we don’t observe this underlying principle of interdependence only here. The same is valid for any innovation entrepreneurship domain. In our 2020 edition of BULGARIA: PropTech Mapping Report[3] we spoke about the same principle in PropTech.

[3] PropTech Bulgaria (2020), BULGARIA: PropTech Mapping Report 2020, http://proptechbulgaria.eu/bulgaria-proptech-mapping-report-2020/, last accessed on 03.01.2021

MOST WELL-FUNDED

Figure 4 displays the external funding type of Bulgarian healthtech solutions (those we have information about), and Figure 5 depicts the type of investors who have funded these companies.

CBInsight’s Report ‘Startup Continent: The most well-funded Digital Health startups in Europe’[4], issued on 19.05.2020, states that Ayo by Novalogy is the best-funded Bulgarian startup in the sector. See Figure 6. Data cited is as per 18.05.2020.

Both Findmecure, and Bioseek are founded since 2015 (Findmecure – 2015; Bioseek – 2017). Ayo is also set up in 2015.

The Report considers companies which have raised funding since 2015. On grounds Crunchbase data, Ayo has raised EUR 333.8K from 2 sources of funding (Seed and Product Crowdfunding). According to Cruchbase, Ayo rates third, and the database cites higher funding levels for 2 other Bulgarian Digital Health solutions, namely, Findmecure (EUR 344.95K from 4 investors), and Bioseek (EUR 654.5K as Seed funding and a Convertible Note).

[4] CBInsights (2020), Startup Continent: The Most Well-Funded Digital Health Startups In Europe,  https://www.cbinsights.com/research/europe-digital-health-startups-map/, last accessed 02.01.2021

Based on these figures we can consider Bioseek the best-funded Bulgarian healthtech startup up to now, followed by Findmecure.

OTHER PERSPECTIVES

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