Digital & Innovation

Aussie healthtech sheds half its team in challenging ecosystem

Health Industry Hub | July 1, 2022 |
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Digital & Innovation: A five-year-old healthtech with a mission to accelerate patient recruitment to clinical trials by matching researchers with patients, has been forced to halve its team, shedding 18 jobs, as the local tech sector braces for a challenging journey ahead.

HealthMatch has received backing from high-profile investors including Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull and venture capital firm Square Peg, and raised $18 million in 2020. 

HealthMatch was founded in 2017 by then-final year University of Sydney medical student Manuri Gunawardena.

“There are several factors at play that have created downward pressure on tech stocks and the broader market that have had a very significant effect on capital raising, especially for growth stage companies,” she said.

“The result is a significantly longer and riskier fundraising market for companies of our stage as investors have across the board pulled back extensively.”

Gunawardena is devastated to make such a tough workforce call.

“Making a significant portion of the team redundant was an incredibly hard decision to make that we worked tirelessly to avoid,” she said.

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“No one wants to be in the position of having to say goodbye to brilliant people. HealthMatch has an incredibly tight knit team and culture and everyone working at HealthMatch joined because of wanting to contribute to our mission and help patients.

“It’s certainly a hard time for everyone in the team but we are united and driven to make a difference to patients’ lives. The entire team has been very understanding of why we need to take these measures and want to see the best for the company moving forward regardless of their individual position.”

The business expanded into the US at the end of 2021 and now has more than one million patients on its database using HealthMatch to find and access clinical trials globally.

Gunawardena said she is working extensively with their existing and new investors to continue the company’s mission despite current market conditions.

“My focus right now is twofold on making sure HealthMatch navigates through this difficult period, continuing to help more patients in need and importantly to personally do everything I can to ensure our team that was affected is taken care of in all ways possible to ensure they land well on their feet,” she said.

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