platform, noun 1. A raised level surface on which people or things can stand.
When I think about a platform, especially in business, I imagine a foundation for building an integrated solution or a value proposition.
From an investor perspective, when a private equity firm looks at a market and sees an unmet need, they will develop an investment thesis. And from that, they will build a platform strategy.
Creating a Platform Strategy
The first thing a private equity firm does when executing against an investment thesis is to find and buy what they call an “anchor company.” Then they make a series of smaller, bolt-on acquisitions and integrate them to form an end-to-end solution that’s bigger than the sum of the parts. Efficiencies from the integration, synergies in the collective capabilities and the impact of strong leadership help create this impact.
We need more of this kind of thinking in healthcare.
It doesn’t all need to be acquisition-oriented like it is in the private equity world. Healthcare could focus on partnerships, which is often a more nimble approach. For example, pharma could partner with a mHealth app, a data analytics company, a disease management firm and a regional care center or ACO to create an integrated approach to supporting a diabetes or asthma population.
This would create a healthcare whole that is bigger than the sum of the individual products and services.
For example, four companies recently partnered to win a White House Ebola Grand Challenge to provide a “precision medicine” approach using wearable, wireless health sensors, a wireless vital signs monitoring platform and advanced analytics technology to monitor and analyze multiple vital signs of patients either suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Ebola virus. This wouldn’t have been possible if any of these companies had tried to do this on their own.
My only question is, why wasn’t there a pharmaceutical company in this partnership?