Rise of the Zombies (or should we say eZombies?)

Lauren Arnold


Image from GotCredit used under CC license.

Without a doubt, we are in the midst of a digital healthcare revolution. As a PR agency with a focus on healthcare, we are constantly talking to companies on the leading edge of developing new telehealth capabilities or remote patient monitoring technologies. You need only scan the headlines of the trades and business press to read about the great advancements underway and the financial investments these companies are receiving. 

Having worked with healthcare companies for nearly two decades, I have seen firsthand the economic impact of healthcare innovation as well as the tremendous effect it can have on patients and their families. As a PR practitioner, nothing is more gratifying than seeing your client’s decades of blood, sweat and tears pay off in extending the life of a patient.

Accenture recently reported that healthcare IT start-ups received nearly $4 billion in funding between 2008 and 2013, and $2.5 billion will be invested in health technology start-ups in the next two years across engagement, treatment, diagnosis and infrastructure. The report quickly became more somber, however, when it found that based on an analysis of 900 healthcare IT start-ups, 51 percent were in danger of failing within 20 months of their launch. These companies may be well-funded, but fail for a variety of reasons. Perhaps an unclear go-to-market strategy or misperception about their customer base and addressable market.  

While this seems disheartening at first, there is a silver lining. These “zombie” start-up companies are being awakened and revived via acquisition by larger corporations that see the  value of their innovative technology, particularly as it can help bolster existing innovation and add top talent. As a PR agency focused largely on emerging growth companies, we never want to see a company fail.

Therefore, we cheer when the little guys make it big - especially when it is our communications strategies and campaigns that help catapult them to success.

According to the Accenture report, there were 1,700 patents among the companies analyzed. Acquiring these zombie start-ups can often dramatically accelerate R&D efforts by capturing this important intellectual property.

I'd love to hear from you - are there zombies you work with or know that have gotten a second chance?


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