By Somesh Dash, Michael Miao, Army Tunjaicon, and Jules Maltz
Imagine that you are a student preparing for your final round interview for your dream job right out of college. What do you do to prepare for the interview? You almost certainly first check LinkedIn to learn more about your interviewer’s career, interests, and role. After all, better understanding your interviewer’s background will help you establish rapport and ask better questions, which should hopefully increase your chances of getting hired. Now imagine that you are a sales rep looking to identify the right prospect to cold email. What do you do to identify this person? You probably use a solution like LinkedIn Sales Navigator as there is nothing worse than wasting precious time and resources connecting with a prospect, only to find out that you are speaking to the wrong person. In the world of Life Sciences, identifying and connecting with the right healthcare professionals (HCPs) is a crucial part of the drug discovery process. However, Life Sciences professionals don’t have the luxury of relying on LinkedIn to find physicians to engage with. Data is notoriously fragmented, opaque, and siloed in the healthcare industry, and it’s near impossible to see all aspects of a HCP’s background (i.e. publications, clinical trials, speaking history, congresses, etc.) on a single platform. That is, until now…
H1is a healthcare company that connects all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to enable greater collaboration and discovery. H1 is the most comprehensive platform of its kind that aggregates real-time data on over nine million HCPs across 70 countries, 16K healthcare organizations, 160M peer-reviewed publications, 350K clinical trials, and 700 medical societies. H1 provides a mission-critical resource for Medical Affairs and Commercial teams in Life Sciences that helps accelerate the development of life-saving therapeutics and innovative medical devices. IVP is thrilled to co-lead H1’s $58M Series B with Menlo Ventures and is joined by Transformation Capital, Lux Capital, Lead Edge, Novartis dRx Capital, and Y Combinator as part of the round. Somesh Dash will be joining the board as a Director and Michael Miao will be joining as an Observer. IVP believes deeply in the future of Digital Health and we are excited to be a part of the H1 journey.
Here is why we invested.
Digital Transformation in the Life Sciences Industry
Roughly two-thirds of commercial launches for new drugs underperform initial sales expectations in the first year post-launch. A successful launch hinges on how well teams understand, educate, and build trust with key stakeholders to maximize the chances of successfully bringing a therapeutic to market. Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) are tasked with identifying and engaging with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to ensure a commercial launch goes smoothly. The challenge that MSLs face is that data in the healthcare industry is extremely fragmented, inaccurate, and outdated. MSLs have to either manually sift through data sources like PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, Google, and academic publications, or hire expensive consultants to create static KOL lists that quickly become stale. H1 flips this problem on its head by offering an elegant and easy-to-use solution to help MSLs self-serve the information they need to identify and engage with the right KOLs. This accelerates time to market and increases the chances for a successful commercial launch.
Despite being a scientifically advanced and data-rich industry, Life Sciences has historically been very slow to adopt modern software solutions. This dynamic is rapidly changing as Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Medical Device companies are increasingly embracing technology to drive efficiencies in the drug development process. It takes ten years on average for a new drug to complete the journey from initial discovery to commercialization and the average cost to develop each successful drug is close to three billion dollars. Drug patents typically only last twenty years and because it takes ten years to bring a drug to market, time is money. COVID-19 has caused major disruptions to the drug discovery and clinical trials process, which makes increasing efficiency through technology more important than ever. Life Sciences companies are beginning to invest heavily in resources that speed up clinical trials, efficiently target the right physicians, and speed up time to market during this critical window.
Strong Traction and Customer Love
H1 graduated from Y Combinator at the beginning of 2020 and already has 13 of the top 20 largest pharma companies as customers. The business’s early traction and capital efficiency are exceptional and a testament to the quality of the product and the size of the market opportunity. IVP spoke to a dozen customers as part of our diligence process and consistently heard that H1 is a game-changer for large pharmaceutical clients. Customers raved about H1’s high-quality data, global coverage, and world-class customer support. H1 sets itself apart from other solutions in the market because of its unique data acquisition strategy. Instead of purchasing claims data from third parties, H1 built a proprietary data acquisition engine that scrapes and aggregates data on HCPs from around the world. This gives H1 unique global coverage and allows for both quality control and frequent data refreshes.
H1 has seen strong product-market fit with Medical Affairs teams but we believe that this is just the beginning. The applications of H1’s underlying data set are boundless and we believe that the platform is extensible to all aspects of Life Sciences. Commercial and Marketing teams are already using the platform to identify KOLs and we believe that Clinical teams, Hospital Systems, and individual healthcare professionals will also become power users of the platform in the future.
Exceptional Founding Team
IVP loves backing exceptional entrepreneurs that are passionate about the problem they are solving. Co-founders Ariel Katz and Ian Sax both care deeply about accelerating the discovery of revolutionary therapeutics to help eradicate some of the world’s most daunting diseases. Ariel previously founded a company called ResearchConnection that helped students uncover research opportunities at universities. After selling ResearchConnection to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ariel decided to take a backpacking trip to India where he met his soon-to-be co-founder, Ian Sax. Ian was previously running a company called Shore Group Associates that helps companies handle automated data collection at scale. The two immediately began working on projects that combined Ariel’s passion for increasing transparency in the Life Sciences industry and Ian’s expertise in aggregating massive data sets at scale. The two eventually came up with the idea of H1 and decided to dedicate all of their time and energy to scaling the company full time. They have since recruited a strong executive team and are well on their way to create a healthier future for all of us.
When the right founding team meets a massive problem that they are uniquely equipped to solve, incredible things happen. We are fortunate to be working with H1 and are excited to help Ariel and Ian build H1 into a generational company. Onwards!
Somesh Dash, Michael Miao, Army Tunjaicon, and Jules Maltz are investors at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.