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MARCH 2023

Ex Salute Machina



Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Vice-President at The LEGO Foundation looks at Designing for digital well-being, and Sermo share physicians’ perceptions on the value of ChatGPT in healthcare.


Unveiling of the 2023 HealthTechX Award winners, and we share news on the launch of the 2023 EdTechX Awards.


A global snapshot of the EdTech, HealthTech & Impact Investing markets.


Notable M&A & Fundraising activities across EdTech & HealthTech industries


Global trends and innovation across the tech-led impact ecosystem.
In this issue:
Industry Analysis: AI in education
Industry Analysis – Chronic Diseases


Designing for Digital Well-Being

 By Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Vice-President at The LEGO Foundation

In a time where a series of technology disruptions are sweeping the education space, and families and young people are concerned about digital privacy and well-being, we have a unique opportunity to design for digital well-being. We often tend to separate health and well-being from learning and education. In reality, these are deeply integrated principles, and young people are well aware of their relationships.
To discuss these topics, I invited a group of young people to share their thoughts about technologies, education and well-being at the Economist Metaverse conference in San Jose. At many of the conferences I attend, we discuss the opportunities of edtech, try new applications, and assess the right fit for curriculum and outcomes. We also hear the perspectives from developers, policy-makers, educators and principals, but rarely invite perspectives from young people, who are the real customers and potential co-creators of educational experiences.

At the Economist conference, I invited three young people between 12 - 18 years old to share what they envisioned as important for digital technologies, and we discussed how the industry could incentivize a different set of digital behaviors.

Contrary to traditional beliefs about how young people might use technology, they provided a very nuanced perspective on how they use technologies in real life. For instance, they shared that not only can technologies be boring and addictive, it can also be physically and socially disconnecting to be caught up in the metaverse; a lot of content is also not safe with an inappropriate use of language, a lot of advertising and speaking down to children and young people.

They asked practical questions about the lack of more creative forms of technologies, which incentivize people to help each other, doing good, and solving real problems. Many of the current experiences are either traditional games or learning apps to teach narrow concepts or principles.
They also asked, why companies can't be more transparent on what data they collect. If they asked young people about what data they would like to collect, everyone might even learn more about each other and the value of the experiences.
A recent report on responsible innovation in technology for digital well-being from UNICEF and partners, elaborates on this perspective and aims to create practical tools for business and governments to put children at the centre. What the children shared at the conference coincide well with these insights, which came from interviews and a global survey with children from more than 30 countries. 
The insights revealed that supporting social connections are key, and there is a need to use technologies and media to shape a sense of belonging, peer relationships and confidence in working together. 

Creativity should be integral to new technologies, by enabling expression, co-creation of ideas, and engaging young people in the development and testing of those ideas. The inclusion of young people in the design of technologies will not only enhance the quality of the applications and strengthen digital well-being, but it will also expand how we design for diversity.

In order to design for well-being, we have now developed tools which support digital well-being, development and learning through playful experiences. The tools follow specific principles like social connection, agency, guidance, creation and playfulness, which are an integral part of some of the existing platforms as illustrated in the overview on learning through digital play.

It means that when we design for digital well-being, we need to ask questions such as: What level of choice do the participants have? How deep are the social interactions? How do we support content creation? There are very legitimate and practical ways to design technologies for well-being, and we have good tools to start engaging children and young people.
Next time you are designing technologies for children and young people, consider these tools and invite the perspectives of young people; the features they request the most, might also have the greatest value for their well-being, development and learning.

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Physicians are reacting to ChatGPT’s healthcare potential better than you’d think.

By Erin Fitzgerald, CMO at Sermo

Since its release in November, it feels like every industry has produced testimonials and forecasts about the potential ChatGPT has to disrupt the status quo. This is true for physicians and healthcare as well. However, in an industry as regulated as medicine, how are HCPs reacting to this new technology? 


Surprisingly more bullish than might be expected; a recent Sermo poll of 524 global physicians found 44% of physicians see themselves asking ChatGPT for patient treatment recommendations. 


Maybe this optimism shouldn’t feel so shocking. While it may be early in ChatGPT’s adoption, Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is not new. AI has been a popular topic for over a decade, promising to improve diagnosis, imaging, and procedures. This is just the next generation.  


But, will ChatGPT help or harm healthcare? 


Do HCPs see ChatGPT as a clinical or admin tool? 

The split between how physicians forecast they would use ChatGPT was especially noticeable when it comes to patient care versus administrative assistance. The study found 29% prefer assistance with medical delivery and 46% chose admin tasks. 


What admin tasks could the AI platform help solve? The two most popular include drafting insurance letters for prior authorization (36%) and post-procedure patient instructions (29%).  


Clinically, 51% believe an AI tool like ChatGPT would be useful in speeding up the process of creating personalized treatment plans.  


How ChatGPT could impact healthcare 

Burnout is at an all-time high. Finding solutions that can scale into rural and international care locations without expensive machines is critical to alleviating the burden on the global workforce. 


Physicians are already posting about their experiments using ChatGPT as a new time-saving tool. One clinical user asked ChatGPT to write a sample letter to a medical insurance company to explain why a patient should be approved for treatment. Other initial use cases include: 

  • Summarizing medical records 
  • Analyzing research papers
  • Writing emails
  • And answering questions for patient apportionments 

 Beyond just administrative efficiencies, ChatGPT is looking to apply its skills to clinical assistance. ChatGPT passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination; with the appropriate clinical training, one day this tool could help physicians: 

  • Create personalized treatment plans by analyzing a patient’s medical history and current symptoms
  • Reduce the risk of adverse reactions or other complications

 Will we be paging Dr. ChatGPT? 

Despite all the excitement around the potential of ChatGPT, heavy skepticism remains for current implications. And timelines are not immediate; 48% believe ChatGPT will only have a slight impact on medicine in the next year. 


Instead of AI becoming the doctor, AI should help augment the provider. A shift in authority is not an option many so easily accept: “ChatGPT is the next version of PAs and NPs in the erosion of physician control and autonomy” wrote a Sermo Physician. 


That said, there is still energy about its benefits. One Sermo physician wrote: “I am very excited about the ways that AI and technology can impact care! I believe that it will improve diagnostic accuracy and can help to reduce mistakes in patient care.” 


More and more information and use cases will appear for ChatGPT, but it is important to keep in perspective that healthcare rarely sees wholesale transformation overnight. According to Sermo Medical Advisory Board Member and physician, Dr. Zachary Horne, “right now, a publicly available AI platform shouldn't be used for medical decision-making. The system hasn't been validated for such a use, but it will be interesting to see how the technology evolves.”  


Patient safety is at the core of our industry, so while exciting, ChatGPT may not be the immediate disruptor many are forecasting. But that shouldn’t dismiss its achievements in just a few months or dissuade a future where more technology like this begins impacting the day-to-day in medicine.


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2023 EdTechX Awards Launch

  • Over the past decade, our applicants have made a substantial impact to the digitisation of education, training and work sectors.
  • This year's EdTechX Awards will champion companies at all stages of maturity and highlight applicants in their respective geographies and across segments.
  • Awards Gala Dinner - For the first time at EdTechX, our awards presentation will take place during a celebratory gala dinner.

Alma Health & Sermo receive the 2023 HealthTechX Award

  • The HealthTechX Awards recognise companies that are leading transformation across the global health technology industry through innovation and growth.
  • HealthTechX was delighted to announce the winner for each of the award categories at the HealthTechX Summit held on 23rd February 2023.



Technology is changing the nature of work. To prepare the workforce of tomorrow and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, education and vocational training will need to adapt to new ways of working. McKinsey Read more


The CEO of 2U, a company that helps colleges run online programs and owns the edX platform, responds to criticism against his sector. Higher Ed Dive Read more

WSJ - FOW-1-1-1

To build better companies, leaders need to experiment more, quit ‘living in fear of opening Pandora’s box,’ says Wharton management professor Adam Grant. The Wall Street Journal Read more


021723 QandA Pari Natarajan 1200
An expert offers an overview of AR and VR for provider organizations, and discusses what these leading-edge technologies might help hospitals health systems accomplish. Healthcare IT News Read more

To be able to catch up with technological advancements, the structure of healthcare must change. It’s an entire cultural and physical transformation of the whole healthcare sector.  The Medical Futurist Read more

With the rise in the aging population, chronic diseases and personalized care services, wearable technologies are not just a fad but are here to stay. Health Tech Digital Read more


The sector is attracting big inflows — but with them come fiercer competition and closer regulatory scrutiny. The Financial Times Read more

Edtech, and education more broadly, usually one of the more resistant sectors during times of economic crisis, has not been immune to the downturn. TechCrunch Read more

Despite a pullback in funding, investors remain taken with health tech and platform companies where M&A is part of their growth plan. FIERCE Healthcare Read more





M&A-HTX (1)-1






Industry Analysis – AI in education


The education market conditions have been challenging and are expected to remain largely unchanged this year.1 Global education deal making fell significantly in the January-February period of 2023, compared to the same period in the previous year, with an 88.6% decrease in global education deal value to $609.6m. Fundraising also declined, with the $2.2bn of capital raised in 2023 being a $547.2m (19.9%) decrease when compared to the same period a year ago. In general, the global education market has been significantly impacted by challenging world events (COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine war, etc.). As a result, the trending strategy for education companies in the current year is to focus on stabilising and consolidating rather than innovating in product/service offerings, technology, or operations.1 The current economic environment is expected to decrease government spending and private growth capital, causing EdTech formation to slow down and drive defensive acquisitions and consolidation. The industry is currently transitioning from the pandemic inflicted short-term surge to a more stable long-term growth strategy.1


Strategic buyers have consistently dominated the majority of M&A transactions, and this continues to hold true in 2023 where they account for 84% of acquirers in the EdTech space. Fundraising transactions show a contrast to M&A, as majority of investors are undisclosed, followed by financial buyers making up 33%. From a geographic perspective, North America continues to be the dominant geography for M&A, accounting for 58% of transactions, whilst Europe and Asia Pacific follow with 19% and 11% respectively. In terms of regional trends, South Asia and North America, which have received substantial Venture Capital funding, are currently placing a stronger emphasis on operational enhancements than other markets. They are exploring ways to increase efficiency and potentially reduce costs in difficult economic conditions.1


The education industry is playing ‘competitive catch-up’1,as Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been transforming the space in unprecedented ways through the development of personalised learning experiences for students. With the help of AI algorithms, educational platforms have been able to analyse student data and create customised learning paths based on their individual needs and preferences. Chatbots and virtual assistants are used to answer questions and provide feedback and administrative tasks, such as grading and scheduling, are being automated. Additionally, AI is enabling new forms of assessment, such as adaptive testing and intelligent tutoring systems. As companies move towards an education ecosystem driven by AI, they are encountering difficulties in recruiting talent with the necessary AI skill sets. The second biggest obstacle cited is the lack of resources dedicated to AI1. However, institutions and digital providers remain optimistic about the potential of AI to drive innovation, increase agility, and disrupt traditional education practices. Stakeholders are particularly excited about the potential for AI to enhance areas of education that rely on assessment and feedback. The incorporation of AI in EdTech companies is likely to have a significant impact on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising deals in the sector. The introduction of AI-powered personalised learning solutions enhances the value proposition of EdTech companies, making them more attractive to potential investors and acquirers.



Industry Analysis – Chronic Diseases



Healthcare in 2023 is experiencing a pivotal moment for the sector. Despite the scientific, technological, and systemic progress made during the pandemic, the sector is now confronted with mounting demand and a worldwide budget squeeze. The pandemic compelled healthcare providers to implement innovative care models that upended a field that had long resisted change. The current crisis has created an opportune time for a much-needed transformation in global healthcare, and has also served as a model for emerging markets to construct agile, digitally-driven, and asset-light healthcare systems. The current challenge for industry leaders is to sustain this momentum amid escalating costs, outdated infrastructure, and politically-charged environments.5


Fundraising Activity2,3

HealthTech companies are placing significant emphasis on the chronic diseases sector, which is a leading driver of healthcare expenses and a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Currently, there are c.480 digital health ventures, which provide solutions for chronic diseases. The total venture volume for the chronic diseases sector has grown at a CAGR of 5.3% over the last five years and a total $10.1b has been raised across 879 funding deals.2

Global chronic diseases deal making is gaining momentum, as deal volume has ticked up to five deals during the period, with a total deal value of $15.9m in the January-February period of 2023, compared to the same period in the previous year. Fundraising decreased slightly, with the $478.9m of capital raised in January-February of 2023 being a c.$25.6m (5.1%) decrease when compared to the same period a year ago. Fundraising deal volume hit its peak during the pandemic and has since decreased to 16 deals, although this volume is still in line with pre-pandemic levels. Fundraising deal size was equally split between small, medium and large deals, with some notable deals including Monogram Health’s recent January 2023 raise of $375.0m, bringing their total funding amount to $555.1m. Monogram Health provides in-home care for patients diagnosed with polychronic ailments, such as chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, utilising evidence-based and whole-person approaches. Key exit transactions included Nemaura Medical’s, an affordable diagnostic and digital tools for Chronic Disease Management, recent Post-IPO Equity transaction of $8.4m. Additionally, Reliant Immune Diagnostics, a patient-driven health platform that provides medical care, testing, diagnosing, and monitoring solutions, was recently acquired by OpenLoop Health for an undisclosed amount.


Through the use of technology and data, HealthTech companies are creating ground-breaking solutions that enhance the treatment and management of chronic diseases. These innovative solutions comprise personalised medicine, remote patient monitoring, digital therapeutics, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Personalised medicine approaches take into account the individual's genetic makeup and medical history, which leads to more targeted and efficient treatment. Remote patient monitoring technology empowers patients to manage their health from their homes, which in turn enables more proactive and effective chronic disease management. Digital therapeutics employ technology like mobile apps and wearables to treat chronic diseases, thereby reducing the need for conventional medications and treatments. HealthTech companies also leverage data analytics and AI to scrutinise large volumes of patient data, in order to uncover patterns and trends, and develop more effective treatments. Collectively, the chronic diseases sector in HealthTech is focused on improving patient outcomes and minimising healthcare expenditures by devising innovative solutions that better manage and treat chronic diseases. Overall, the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, substantial market potential, advancements in technology, potential for cost savings, and backing from regulatory bodies establish chronic disease companies as a compelling investment option for investors.


1Exits: An exit occurs when an investor sells part or all of their ownership
2HealthTech Alpha
4Small deals are considered to be <$1m; Medium deals are considered to be ≥ $1m<$5m; Large deals are considered to be ≥$5m


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