(Bloomberg) — Livongo Health Inc. may focus on chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, but it’s really “a tech company in healthcare clothing,” according to RBC Capital Markets.
One year since its public debut, Livongo is fetching comparisons to software-as-a-service names like Zoom Video Communications Inc. and Crowdstrike Holdings Inc. Analyst Sean Dodge said the digital health company is increasingly being valued as a tech company, and it’s warranted given its significant market potential, blistering revenue growth and ability to scale.
“From a financial model standpoint, Livongo’s characteristics aren’t all that different,” Dodge said in an interview.
Livongo shares have risen 270% since the company went public in July 2019. Most of that advance has taken place since March amid strong revenue and demand for remote patient monitoring services during the pandemic. The market value now exceeds $10 billion.
Livongo helps members manage diabetes and prediabetes, high blood pressure, weight and behavioral health. The company sells its services to clients like health plans and self-insured employers, who then cover the cost for their staff to participate.
The platform is powered by an engine that aggregates personal data like weight or blood sugar and then interprets them to deliver personalized “health nudges” to users. The company also offers 24/7 human coaching support. Livongo members can receive updates on Apple, Fitbit and Samsung smartwatches, and the company has collaborated with Amazon.com Inc. on an Alexa feature that complies with federal laws on health privacy. Chief Executive Officer Zane Burke said Livongo straddles the line between identifying as a health care company or a tech company.
“We’re much more of a tech SaaS business model that understands health care very well,” Burke said in an interview.
Locating the company’s headquarters in Alphabet Inc.’s home of Mountain View, California, was no accident. Setting up shop in Silicon Valley “was very purposeful in terms of having the right developer mentality for a consumer application,” Burke said.
RBC’s Dodge said he’s received a lot of phone calls from investors to discuss the stock, and there’s been a big increase in the proportion of tech specialists as opposed to those focused on health care. Livongo has several tech-like attributes that cause it to be valued more like a tech company, he said.
Livongo shares trade around 20 times estimated sales for 2021, similar to Crowdstrike. Zoom’s valuation is nearly 30 times estimated sales for the fiscal year ending January 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Benchmark Co. analyst Bill Sutherland said that while Covid-19 has been a tailwind for Livongo so far, higher permanent unemployment could pressure client growth and increase member churn. Burke says the coronavirus has accelerated the transition to a consumer-directed virtual care system.
Dodge estimates Livongo’s total addressable market is about $50 billion, with $28 billion attributable to diabetes, $18.5 billion to high blood pressure and the balance to behavioral health.
That has attracted competition. Closely held peers, like Glooko Inc. and Omada Health Inc., have likely also been growing rapidly and are closer to achieving the size and scale they need to go public, according to Dodge. Heath insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. launched a digital service for type 2 diabetes earlier this week.
Livongo is also attracting more short bets. About 22% of shares available for trading are currently sold short, according to data compiled by financial analytics firm S3 Partners. That’s up from around 10% at the beginning of June.
All but one of the 17 analysts tracked by Bloomberg has a buy rating on the stock, though their average price target is about 5% below where the shares are trading. Goldman Sachs downgraded Livongo to neutral earlier this month, saying growth appeared priced in.
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