Launching new digital business lines in consumer health through start-up investments and partnerships

The ventures focused on key under-addressed markets such as the global ageing segment, fem-tech, and taboo markets.

Challenge‚Äč

The consumer health divisions of large corporates such as J&J, GSK, Bayer, and Reckitt Benckiser are facing unprecedented competition with the rise of startup e-commerce and telehealth businesses, which are in line with current consumer unmet needs, and are capturing consumers through better a user experience. In parallel, under-addressed markets such as ageing consumers (50+), feminine care, and taboo markets, present significant growth opportunities globally.

Our challenge was to identify these under-addressed markets (such as: sleep improvement, sexual health, teenage health, and the ageing market segment) and build data-centric ventures to reach the target audience through direct-to-consumer channels. Working closely with our client, we piloted a venture focused on helping women through the symptoms of menopause.

Approach

Our approach combined the following activities to identify the right strategic ventures to build, test and launch. We particularly emphasized the importance of human-centric testing, to understand the major symptoms, key unmet needs and pain points of consumers.

  • Global review of existing portfolio gaps to identify both near-term incremental product improvement opportunities, and new data-centric venture opportunities in new segments
  • Human-centric testing: Combining ethnographic studies, face to face interviews, discussions with clinical experts, and digital testing through social media platforms in Europe and China, we developed a deep behavioural insights on consumers, their unmet needs, and how they will evolve in the next 3-5 years
  • Deep-dive into scientific and technology breakthroughs: Working closely with VCs, startups, biotechs, universities, we identified which new technologies, startups, can drive breakthrough growth. This included both pioneering devices such as non-invasive blood testing wearables, to breakthrough digital therapeutics to alleviate menopausal symptoms
  • Startup investments: Screened and selected acquisition/partnership contenders by analysing strength of IP, claims scope, regulatory pathway, and transferability potential across countries
  • Consumer digital testing: Ran Proof of Concepts with start-up partners through digital testing with 20k consumers in UK and Germany, which informed the launch of the D2C Menopause e-commerce venture

Results

Sia Partners focused on turning strategic insights into tangible outcomes in the market. The results of the partnership with J&J included:

  • Successful pilot of digital venture focused on menopause: lotushealthuk.com, which was tested with 20k users through social media platforms, and had click-through-rates six times higher than traditional consumer health products
  • Secured buy-in from ex-Chairman of J&J EMEA to pursue venture
  • Demonstrated business potential of venture to exceed >$100m
  • Built pipeline of business ventures >$100m (individually) focusing on femtech, pregnancy, adolescent health, sexual health, and improving energy and mobility levels for the ageing market
  • Recommended 5 start-up investments and technology partnerships to extend the reach of the External Innovation function at J&J
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Get in touch

To find out more about how Sia Partners UK can support your business transformation programmes and help you build your internal capability, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

We can be contacted on +44 20 7933 9333 or ukcontact@sia-partners.com.

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