This episode of Health Tech Deals is brought to you from the parking lot of a MacDonald’s in New Mexico. Yes, Jess is driving cross country from Florida! She and I hash out some health tech deals that happened this week: Brightline raises $105 million; Brightside raises $50 million; OssoVR raises $66 million; Podimetrics raises $41 million; and AmplifyMD raises $23 million.
IDIH Week 2022 starts this coming Monday! It is a 4-day FREE online event hosted by Catalyst & our partner organizations that is dedicated to researchers, innovators, care providers and users associations dealing with Digital Health for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA). IDIH Week is a unique occasion for R&I stakeholders from the US, Europe, and beyond to explore opportunities for international cooperation in the field of Digital Health for Active and Healthy Ageing, through information, networking and co-creation sessions that will be held between March 21 and March 24.
The team at Catalyst will be running a US Regional Workshop on Monday from 12pm ET/9am PT – 2pm ET/11am PT. The Workshop, titled The Impact of COVID-19 on the Shared Priorities for International Cooperation in Active and Healthy Ageing, aims to bring a US perspective to the findings of the IDIH Digital Health Transformation Forum around the areas of data governance, interoperability by design, and digital inclusion, and how these have been impacted by COVID-19. Check out the IDIH Week agenda available here.
Panelists for the workshop are author, healthcare journalist, educator, and activist Nancy B. Finn, health lawyer and privacy expert Deven McGraw, innovation consultant and digital health strategist Iana Simeonov, specialist in media and gerontology Mandy Salomon, and smart home and aging expert George Demiris. Catalyst’s Indu Subaiya & Matthew Holt will be moderating the discussion.
To join us: If you are not registered to the IDIH Platform: register here and select the sessions of the IDIH Week 2022 in which you are interested.If you are already registered in the IDIH Platform: access your Agenda and add the sessions of the IDIH Week 2022 in which you are interested.
Teen mental health has hit crisis-level concern these days, and seed-funded startup BeMe Health is hoping to help with a digital mental health app purpose-built just for teens. Fast Company labeled the app as “TikTok for teen mental health,” which is a spot-on description of its exciting, social-media-like look and feel, but a bit of an undersell of the evidence-backed behavioral health care the app is actually providing.
Co-founders Nicki Tessler and Mandeep Dhillon introduce us to BeMe, and tell us why they believe the TikTok-like approach they’re taking – with its emphasis on short, engaging video content that’s “served up” rather than “sought out” thanks to smart algorithms that link mental health goals with in-app behavior and engagement patterns – is key to winning the buy-in of digitally-native teens.
While apps like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have lately received criticism for their role in harming teens’ mental health with algorithms that drive content consumption to increase ad revenue, BeMe is hoping to use those same tactics to drive content consumption that will increase a teen’s ability to manage stress, learn coping skills, build resilience, identify their emotions, and even help coach one another.
Beyond product design and market fit (winning teens is not enough, parents need a place in this too) Nicki and Mandeep also talk us through BeMe’s business model, which is evolving along with the app’s development. The startup’s $7 million dollar seed funding is “connected” to payers – nine of the top 10 health plans, says Nicki – and so the initial strategy is based on a per-member-per-month model and will be launching in coordination with pediatricians and therapists, as well as with schools, before it goes direct-to-consumer. Still the question remains: If mom, dad, or the doc recommends it, will a discerning teen really will want to do? Listen in to find out if BeMe’s sticky videos, teen advisory board, and algorithms sound like they’ll bridge the generation gap and start shaping a different kind of mental health care for this important phase of life.
Nate Maslak, CEO of Ribbon Health talked with me late last year (2021) after his $40m round from General Catalyst and Andreesen Horowitz. We dug into the really thorny problem of information about physicians. This has so many facets and ramifications but most people only see it when their doctor somehow isn’t in their health plan’s network. But it’s much, much more than that. Nate joined me in nerding out on this topic and explaining how Ribbon is working to fix it — Matthew Holt
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on THCBGang Thursday were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); cardiologist & provocateur Anish Koka (@anish_koka); patient activist, author & entrepreneur Robin Farmanfarmaian (@Robinff3); and THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard).
We got into the “what are parents thinking about schools and what happens to politics as a result”, and then into the children’s COVID-19 vaccine, then how remote patient and now remote therapeutics monitoring, and ending with where we thought AI was going! Quite the conversation!
You can see the video below but if you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk briefly about Frontiers Health – frontiers.health – a digital health company with a deep therapeutics focus. Kareo and Patient Pop merge to form Tebra and get $65 million dollars from a PE firm. A notable raise from Notable, $100 million in a Series B brings to total up to $119 million. Wellinks gets $25 million in a Series C in the COPD space. Constant Blood Pressure monitoring company Aktiia gets $17.5 million, bringing their total up to $28 million. Aver Inc. rebrands, becoming Enlace Health, and raises 58 million dollars bringing their total up to $111 million. Investment efforts in Enlace were led by Cox Inc., and the relationship between Cox and Enlace seems very tight. -Matthew Holt
A sign of effective ‘merging-and-acquiring’ among innovative healthcare companies? How about a new brand-name? The company known as “Grand Rounds Health and Doctor on Demand,” which merged in March 2021 and quickly acquired LGBTQ+ virtual care company, Included Health, announced that the company would be moving forward as Included Health from here on out. We get into the strategy behind that name-change – and, more importantly, how the integration of the three companies is going – from CEO Owen Tripp.
This quick update covers how the navigation-plus-virtual-care co is prioritizing integration at-scale for millions of members – unlike other growing healthcare companies who Owen says have, “acquired companies, but haven’t put them together.” From member experience, clinician experience, and the business model backing all of this, we get a state-of-play on Included Health, including Owen’s take on the rising popularity of at-risk models among competitors Accolade Health and Transcarent, the legacy relationship the company has with Walmart, and how small/mid-sized employers are increasing area of focus for growth.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I catch up after HLTH 2021. Some massive deals in Episode 356: Oak Street acquires Rubicon MD for 190 million, 130 in cash; 23andMe acquires Lemonade (a virtual care and drug delivery company) for 400 million – 300 million in stocks and 100 million in cash; Babylon Health’s SPAC deal, 4.2 billion in market cap now; Everlywell acquires Natalist – their third acquisition in 6 months. – Matthew Holt
Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt
In this week’s health care tidbits, a little bit of light was shone on two of the dirty tricks health insurers play. First San Diego is suing Molina, Centene (owner of Healthnet) & Kaiser for misleading patients about which providers are in their networks. Apparently Healthnet & Kaiser’s directories were 35% inaccurate and Molina 80%! Now this may be incompetence, but it is not only false advertising, it’s also a way of weeding out high cost patients who may leave when they can’t find a specialist that will take them–and of course avoiding a high cost patient is a nice earner for health plans.
The next trick is double billing. In this lawsuit unearthed by Bob Herman of Axios, Aetna which was being paid to manage an employer’s health network subbed out PT care to an Optum network. Optum then also charged an admin fee. Meaning the provider got less and the patient had to pay more. So while Aetna and United Healthgroup may appear to be fierce competitors, they’re happy to cooperate when it comes to ripping off their clients.
More bad behavior by health plans and I didn’t even mention them cheating on Medicare Advantage RAFs! But the CEO of Chenmed did.
If we are going to let health insurers profit from handling employer and taxpayer business, we should see those arrangements in the clear light of day. Time for some heavy handed Federal regulation, methinks.
Episode 56 of “The THCB Gang” was recorded live on Thursday, June 3. Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) was joined by regulars: medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee), THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard) and health futurist Jeff Goldsmith; WTF Health host & Health IT girl Jessica DaMassa (@jessdamassa) snuck in later after she finished up at the Going Digital: Behavioral Health Conference across the virtual street.
We really got into it on two issues — the Wuhan lab “leak” issue and Babylon Health’s IPO — lots of fun and no little disagreement!
Then video is below. If you’d rather listen, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on Fridays on our iTunes & Spotify channels.
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