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Bupa joins Spark in ramping up investment in Kiwi health tech

Bupa joins Spark in ramping up investment in Kiwi health tech

"Technology is the key to unlocking new models of care. The potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous.”

Global healthcare provider Bupa has joined forces with mHealth start-up Vigil Monitoring, investing $5 million to aid the acceleration of technology development at the company.

Acknowledged as a global leader in healthcare, Bupa plans to partner with Vigil and provide added capital in exchange for a 25 per cent stake in the business.

The agreement also establishes Bupa as one of Vigil’s channel partners and will see Bupa use Vigil’s products and services.

Together with Spark New Zealand, another major shareholder who invested $5 million last week, Vigil hopes to use the capital to develop "innovative solutions" that will help address the growing challenges of age care and health care.

“The Bupa partnership strengthens Vigil’s clinical capabilities and creates opportunities for Vigil to contribute to the health of Bupa’s 3.5 million customers across Australia and New Zealand, and 22 million in 128 countries worldwide," says Keith Oliver, Chairman, Vigil.

“We need new health delivery models using digital technologies to address worsening macro health-trends and help reduce health-care costs.

"Technology is the key to unlocking those new models of care. The potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous.”

According to Oliver, the demographic trends are significant with Statistics New Zealand projecting the population aged 65 and over to grow to over 1.18 million people in New Zealand by 2051.

As a result, Oliver believes the consequential pressure on health services could be "profound" unless it change the way it delivers care.

”There’s no denying the fact that the cost of healthcare and especially age care services is rapidly becoming unaffordable in the developed world," he adds.

"We need to drive cost out of delivery and improve efficiency, all the while focussing on the needs of aging communities.”

Echoing Oliver's comments, Sir Ray Avery, Vigil Founder and board member believes Vigil mHealth is a "great example" of applied innovative Kiwi technology in the global healthcare arena.

"It heralds a new era in the care of our aging population allowing them to live independently in the community with Vigil mHealth watching over their wellbeing," he adds.

Meanwhile, Bupa Care Services NZ Managing Director Grainne Moss says Bupa was attracted to Vigil because of its ability to think innovatively and challenge many of the assumptions on how to best serve the changing face of health care.

"Bupa wasn't only providing investment for the start-up," she explains, "but will use Vigil’s lean canvas and customer validation models to develop innovative offerings for both its New Zealand and Australian customers."

Spark Ventures CEO Rod Snodgrass agrees that this opportunity was too good to pass up.

“The demand for smarter digital health solutions will only grow as the population ages," he adds.

"Vigil offers monitoring solutions using digital technologies with many applications and with global potential.

"The addition of the global muscle and capability of Bupa will help realise that."

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