Eastwick launches new health tech practice

Eastwick has launched a healthcare technology practice and announced a partnership with Launchpad Digital Health, which is expected to provide the agency with a steady flow of 20-30 startup healthtech clients each year.

The new team is based in San Francisco and led by SVP Karen Clyne (pictured), who had a major part in cultivating the Launchpad partnership. She has been with the firm since 2013 and brings more than 15 years' experience working with disruptive startups to Fortune 500 companies. Clyne said each member of the healthtech unit has both tech and clinical experience.

The team will provide clients with research and coaching, help develop messaging, guide corporate positioning, and help startups leverage digital platforms to advance their goals.

The startup companies run the spectrum: some have created apps to help new moms, while others offer postpartum help. Each will have a separate contract with Eastwick.

"Usually, these guys are looking for the next round of funding. So visibility is key," Clyne explained. "We are paving a path to developing what they are. Everything with PR is very sequenced and has to be timed right. What we tell them is research, research, research."

In order to deliver a successful healthtech campaign, Clyne said engagement and interaction are critical and the startups will look at "anything that can help improve lifestyle, health, or wellness and what technology can do to drive that."

"In the past year, we have been watching the intersection of technology and healthcare, and patient engagement has come into play," Clyne added. "That has an impact on everyone."

Eastwick offers research analytics, a digital brand lab where the creative team lives, and a traditional PR team that focuses on content development, marketing, and media relations.

"We've had our eye on the rapidly expanding healthtech market and have been working to set up the right team of experts to support it," said Heather Kernahan, president of Eastwick in a statement. "With funding for digital health companies among the fastest rising in the tech industry, we felt it was the right time to take our investment in healthtech to the next level."

Launchpad Digital Health said that in 2015, venture funding for digital health companies exceeded $4.5 billion, a historic high. Each of the 270 transactions raised about $2 million in venture funding. More than half of those are California-based digital health companies.

This story originally appeared in PRWeek.