He doesn’t often make investments in North America, but when he does they are usually home runs.
Hong Kong billionaire and philanthropist Li Ka-shing has upped his investment into Canadian telehealth and next-gen clinic player WELL Health Technologies (WELL Health Technologies Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:WELL).
Li put another million dollars into WELL via a recent convertible debenture financing of $11-million. The investment brings his ownership of the Canadian healthcare upstart to approximately 18 per cent, part of which was made through his venture capital firm, Horizons Ventures.
“We are excited to include participation from Mr. Li Ka-shing in this financing,” WELL CEO Hamed Shahbazi said of the development. “We are appreciative of the support we have received from both the institutional investor and Mr. Li Ka-shing. This financing provides Well with sufficient capital to continue to grow its clinical, digital and virtual service offerings.”
Estimated to be worth $30-billion, Li’s empire encompasses real estate, manufacturing, the A.S. Watson Group, (which owns Watsons, the largest health care and beauty care chain in Asia), Canada’s Husky Energy, and investments in American tech stalwarts Facebook and Spotify.
WELL Health has been active in 2020. Earlier this month, the company announced it had launched VirtualClinic+, a digital health communications platform that connects patients to physicians through video, phone and secure messaging. On Friday, the company issued a statement, noting that it has already activated approximately 40 doctors on VirtualClinic+ with another 60 set to be added in the coming days.
Then, on March 10, the company announced a flu surveillance partnership with McMaster University and the Public Health Agency of Canada that would see the company leverage its already extensive network of Canadian doctors.
“Our networks of paediatricians and family doctors are essential to surveillance,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada. “They are the front line of primary care and are often the first to detect new or unexpected patterns of illness that alert us to a potential problem. By working with partners to build tools like this, we can better support physician reporting and improve future surveillance of influenza-like illness.”
As of Monday, there were 370 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with one confirmed death.
“Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow,” Tam warned on Sunday. “We all need to act now. COVID-19 is a serious public health threat.”
Disclosure: Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell and Jayson MacLean own shares of WELL Health Technologies and the company is an annual sponsor of Cantech Letter.