The Los Angeles metro region is among the top five centers for health tech companies in the world, according to a recent study of global health tech capitals.
The study, released last month from Austin, Texas-based software development firm Moove It S.A., ranked Los Angeles No. 4 among 85 global cities with the most developed health tech ecosystems, behind Boston, New York and San Francisco but ahead of Minneapolis.
Moove It said it decided to do the study to track significant developments that have taken place in the health tech area in recent years, especially during the pandemic, when health care systems and workers were pushed to their limits.
Moove It initially culled through thousands of cities around the world before arriving at the 85 cities determined to be global health tech centers meriting further study. Then it ranked the 85 cities across a wide range of ecosystem characteristics, including research and development funding; the number of health tech startups; the number of well-established health tech companies; the amount of angel investor, private equity and venture capital funding flowing into health tech startups, and salary levels.
The study also ranked the cities in 13 health tech submarkets, looking at many of these same characteristics. Among the submarkets: telemedicine, health data analysis, cardiovascular treatments, dental care products/services, and medical imaging.
With all these individual rankings in hand, Moove It study authors then tallied them up to arrive at a single index score for each city. U.S. cities dominated the rankings, capturing nine of the top 10 slots; Los Angeles came in with an index score of 76.84.
L.A. achieved its No. 4 ranking without capturing the top spot in any of the 18 component rankings. Instead, the region placed in the top five in nine of the 18 component rankings, snagging second-place spots for dental care products/services and prosthetics and a third place posting for nutrition.
“Although Los Angeles doesn’t actually rank highest in any category, it scores well pretty much across the board which is why it places No. 4 in the overall scoring,” said Moove It Chief Executive Ariel Ludueña Karhs. “It’s a testament to the well-developed and diverse health tech ecosystem in place in the city.
In the dental products/services submarket, Los Angeles has been home to several startups, including Byte, which was founded in 2018 in Santa Monica and provides direct-to-consumer orthodontics, supplemented with teledentist consultations. In January 2021, Byte was acquired by Charlotte, N.C.-based dental products giant Dentsply Sirona Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $1.04 billion. Another dental products company, Glassell Park-based SprintRay Inc., sells 3D printers to dental practices so they can make nightguards, orthodontics, crowns and other dental products.
On the other end, in the nutrition submarket, L.A.’s third-place ranking is due in large part to one major legacy company: downtown-based Herbalife Inc., which was founded in 1980 and posted $5.8 billion in sales last year. The company’s 6 million-plus members, who are independent contractors, sell its health and fitness nutrition products in more than 90 countries around the world.
This healthy mix of startups and legacy companies is one of the main characteristics Moove-It.com sought to highlight in its study.