Virtual ward technology provider Doccla has received strategic investment of €5 million from Bertelsmann Investments, the global venture capital arm of Bertelsmann corporation.

The funding, received in the form of a convertible loan, will be deployed for Doccla’s European expansion – with a focus on Germany, which Doccla views as a priority market during the next phase of their expansion. The fresh cash follows September 2022’s Series A round.

Doccla’s virtual ward technology is designed to keep patients at home and out of hospital, whilst still being closely digitally monitored by healthcare professionals. Patients receiving care through the virtual ward service are given a tailor-made box of equipment, which includes a pre-configured tablet.

The box also includes wearable medical devices that, depending on a person’s needs, can measure heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and a range of other vital signs.

Doccla CEO Dag Larsson commented: “We are very proud to have Bertelsmann Investments with us on our journey to bring remote patient monitoring to as wide a patient base as possible.

“Doccla is scaling rapidly and in order to bolster our position as Europe’s virtual hospital, we require the best people in our corner.

“Bertelsmann Investments’ deep industrial expertise and remarkable team make them an ideal partner for the next chapter in the Doccla journey. Our European expansion will bring virtual wards – and their benefits – to a whole new level.”

Germany open for remote monitoring technology

Bertelsmann Investments CEO Carsten Coesfeld added: “With Doccla’s innovation, everyone involved wins. Patients can go home earlier, hospitals have more beds available, and health insurers see a reduction in healthcare costs.

“Doccla is the right investment decision for us: The track record in the U.K. is convincing, and we are delighted to support the team around the founders Dag Larsson and Martin Ratz with their expansion in Europe. Together, we have already successfully initiated the start in Germany.”

Stefan Zundel recently joined Doccla as the general manager for Germany to strengthen the local presence and focus on German clients. A former McKinsey consultant and experienced digital health entrepreneur, he previously founded the ophthalmology startup Dopavision and is passionate about advancing the digitalisation of German healthcare.

Speaking on the investment and German market launch, Zundel said: “Remote monitoring technology and virtual wards can – and will – deliver terrific patient outcomes in Germany. It will relieve the cost pressure and staff shortage which we are already seeing right now.

“I am convinced that the inpatient and outpatient sectors will move closer together in Germany, and remote monitoring will become a part of standard care in the future. We are excited to build on our UK success and get to work with hospitals across the country.”

Launched in the UK during the pandemic, Doccla was created following the unexpected heart attack of its founder, Martin Ratz, who soon realised the immense benefits of virtual ward and monitoring technology to patients and healthcare systems.

Since then, the company has experienced extraordinary growth: today it is present in one in three of all Integrated Care Systems (ICS) in the UK. To date, Doccla has already saved thousands of bed days for the British NHS and has achieved a 29% reduction in Emergency Admissions and a 20% reduction in A&E attendance for client health trusts.

The Bertelsmann funding is just the latest step towards fulfilling the company’s growth ambitions. In August, Doccla said it had acquired medically certified cloud-based platform OpenTeleHealth (OTH), a transaction that expanded its global presence, and extended its operations to 12 new markets.