Nedbank buys into disruptive health-tech firm LifeQ

Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) has invested in a minority equity interest in LifeQ Global, a disruptive health-tech innovator and provider of biometrics and health information derived from wearable devices.

Last week, life insurer and financial services provider 1Life, LifeQ and Samsung SA joined forces to launch the LifeQ COVID-19 app.

The launch came as some South African provinces are already in the throes of the COVID-19 third wave, with Gauteng experiencing a greater surge than the rest of the country.

Nedbank says the data collected by LifeQ is used by many of the world’s leading health solutions providers to inform their science-based health data analytics, with the ultimate aim of positively impacting the future of health for their members and customers.

According to Johann van Zyl, Nedbank CIB Venture Capital lead, the investment forms part of a global fundraising campaign by LifeQ, which saw the business secure $47 million (R646 million) from a variety of prominent investors around the world.

Other funding investors include OneBio, Invenfin, 4Di Capital, Allen & Co, Analog Devices, Convergence Partners, Hannover Re and Rachel Diamond.

“Nedbank CIB’s investment in LifeQ is perfectly aligned with our mission to proactively seek out opportunities for our clients and our own business to invest in disruptive and innovative technology companies that are category-defining,” Van Zyl explains.

“We are excited to facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations between LifeQ and our ecosystem to identify and unlock further potential for growth and value creation at scale.”

Van Zyl explains that a key attraction for Nedbank CIB to the LifeQ business model is that it doesn’t merely collect and distribute health data, but also enables personal health insights at an individual user level. This thereby creates real potential for scalable monetisation opportunities for health management providers, as well as an assortment of verticals, such as insurance, fitness, real estate, preventative care, clinical care, product enhancement for hardware manufacturers and commerce platforms.

“LifeQ’s vision is to improve human well-being at scale by enabling healthier living, including preventative healthcare, and making a healthy way of life accessible and affordable to all people,” Van Zyl explains.

“The company’s unique, biologically-underpinned analytics and modelling approach sets it apart from its competitors in the health-tech space.”

He points out that the severe global impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of people and communities has highlighted the fact that the world currently finds itself in a global health crisis – exacerbated by sedentary lifestyles, increased work demands, unhealthy foods – all of which are resulting in rapid increases in chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.

“LifeQ has already been integrated into some of the world’s most innovative wearable products, meaning that it is already helping to address these health challenges via tailored disease detection, prevention and accurate risk flagging,” Van Zyl says.

“Doing this, while also creating opportunities for significant commercial benefit for health solution providers and other stakeholders in the health and wellbeing sectors, made the company a very compelling investment proposition for Nedbank CIB.”

He notes that LifeQ’s intention to harness the capital it has raised from this latest investment round to expand its capacity and its global reach augurs well for the potential returns that could be achieved by Nedbank on its investment in the company.

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