Today on Health in 2 Point 00, I’m getting my shots soon! On Episode 197, General Catalyst is throwing more money around – $101 million goes to BrightInsight for its digital health insights management platform. SteadyMD raises $25 million bringing its total to $31 million, and CirrusMD raises $20 million in a Series C bringing its total to $47 million. Is there room for more telehealth companies? Finally, fertility benefits company Cleo gets $40 million, bringing its total up to $80 million – this was a hot space last year, what’s going on now? —Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Virtual-first primary care company Firefly Health is becoming a health plan! Backed by a $40M Series B, CEO Fay Rotenberg and Executive Chairman Jonathan Bush stop by to explain how they’re providing “half-price healthcare that’s twice as good.” (Or, as only Jonathan can put it: “we’re a bloat-less Kaiser.”) All kidding aside, some big-name health innovation investors are not only behind this raise (Andreessen Horowitz led, F-Prime Capital and Oak HC/FT dipped back in), but also this idea to wrap a benefit around Firefly’s digitally-driven comprehensive care model. Already in-market, the new benefit-plus-care product is aimed squarely at mid-sized/small, fully-insured employers – shops with 50-500 employees which, right now, have limited options for dramatically changing their healthcare spend or being able to build out their own benefits the same way large self-insured employers can.
Fay and Jonathan get into the details about how they’re extending their “Marie Kondo-ing” of healthcare delivery – which has thus far netted some pretty impressive health outcomes, cost savings, and a 92 Net Promoter Score – into healthcare financing.
BONUS: Tune in around 25:30 and stick around for a few minutes as Jonathan weighs in on the health tech funding boom, how it compares to the EMR arms race days of ole, and whether or not he thinks he can beat Glen Tullman’s $14.5B valuation if/when Firefly goes public. HA!
By KIM BELLARD
By the time you read this, Microsoft may have already struck a deal with the messaging service Discord. VentureBeat reported two weeks ago that Discord was in an “exclusive acquisition discussion” with an interested party, for a deal that could reach at least $10b. Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal each quickly revealed that the interested party was Microsoft (and also confirmed the likely price).
Let’s back up. If you are not a gamer, you may not know about Discord. It was launched in 2015, primarily as a community for gamers. Originally it focused on texting/chat, but has widened its capabilities to include audio and video. The Verge described it: “Discord is a great mix of Slack messaging and Zoom video, combined together with a unique ability to just drop into audio calls freely.”
Zoom meets Slack meets Clubhouse.
As you might infer from the potential asking price, Discord has done quite well. It has over 140 million monthly users, and, despite having no advertising and offering a free service, generated $130 million in revenues last year (through its “enhanced Discord experience” subscription service Nitro). OK, it still isn’t profitable, but a December funding round gave it a $7b valuation.Continue reading…
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
What’s better than being the CEO of one blazing-hot disruptive health tech company that’s raised $450M to build “the internet of healthcare”? How about becoming the CEO of a second company – a new managed Medicaid health plan company – that’s to be built on top of your first company’s machine learning platform, which is chock-full of hospital data and learning how to automate healthcare admin expertise? So is the fate of Sean Lane, CEO of Olive and now, also CEO of Circulo.
What does a built-from-scratch, tech-first Medicaid plan look like? Sean talks through the strategy behind the new health insurance co, which is aiming to use Olive’s tech to automate every aspect of the way a payer functions in effort to 1) strip away health plan admin costs and 2) create a never-before-seen relationship between patient, payer, and provider. On this latter point, it’s the fresh approach to payer-provider relations that seems to really have Sean excited. With Olive already built into hundreds of health systems, and conveniently located on the desktops of those providers, Sean says Circulo will be poised to take advantage of that network’s data and distribution to forever alter the healthcare payment model. Submitting claims goes away. Denials go away. Costs drop. Care improves.
Backed by a fresh $50M from Olive’s investors (Drive Capital and General Catalyst led Circulo’s Series A with participation from Oak HC/FT and SVB Capital) the new plan is currently building team and tech and aiming “to cover one life, bring on one provider, and earn one dollar of revenue by the end of the year.” It’s early days, but we dive into the details behind the strategy and also explore how this fits into the “health assurance thesis” that’s lurking behind General Catalyst’s latest investments, particularly those spearheaded by Hemant Taneja, who literally co-wrote the book on the subject with Jefferson Health’s Steve Klasko, and is the CEO of the Health Assurance Acquisition Corporation ($HAACU) SPAC that’s just out there waiting to take a health tech business public.
The April Fools joining me on THCB Gang today will be policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1), futurist Jeff Goldsmith, policy & tech expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis), and patient safety expert & all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson). There’s vaccines, a 4th wave, Texas reopening, Florida never having closed, and a whole mess of health policy. It’ll be fun — so come join us
We’ve only got one $100 million deal today on Health in 2 Point 00 — has the bubble burst? On Episode 196, Jess and I talk about care navigator Rightway raising $100 million – there’s a lot going on with this space, does it make sense to do this right now with Transcarent? AKASA, formerly known as Alpha, raises $60 million bringing its total to $85 million for revenue cycle management. Viz.ai gets $71 million, bringing its total to $150 million, for its stroke diagnostic AI software, AppliedVR raises $29 million bringing its total to $35, and Harmonize Health raises $10 million working on remote patient monitoring. —Matthew Holt
Anyone who follows me knows that I’ve been questioning whether digital therapeutics are real and more importantly whether the people building and trying to sell them are simply trying to replicate the American drug pricing model–patent, protect, prescribe & price gouge. So who better to have this conversation with than the person in charge of explaining and selling the notion of digital therapeutics to the world? Megan Coder is Executive Director of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance. She graciously and bravely agreed to talk to me. Who won the argument? You’ll have to watch to decide, but I found our discussion to be a lot of fun and very interesting and I hope you will too – Matthew Holt
The transcript is below
Hi, it’s Matthew Holt with a THCB spotlight. I’m here with Megan Coder. Megan is the executive director of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance. And we’re here to talk about this thing called digital therapeutics, as to what they are, what the alliance does and whether they really exist and how we should treat them. Megan, thanks for coming on. I know we’ve done a little bit of sparring online and in-person, but I’ve never interviewed you. So I’m looking forward to this. So how are you doing?
Good. It’s more fun to spar in-person, but I miss the in-person aspect.Continue reading…
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, I’ve been banned from talking about the Suez Canal by Jess. On Episode 195, we cover Cityblock raising $192 million in a C extension, adding to their $160 million Series C in from December. Crossover Health raises $168 million in a proper D round, Redesign Health raises $100 million adding to their capital of $250 million for their digital health studio, and Vesta, formerly called Hometeam, raises $20 million which has flopped from working to get caregivers into the home to helping care agencies do telehealth at home. —Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Despite nearly 900 employer clients (including big brands like Burger King, Kroger, and DoorDash), a net promoter score of 84, and a new pharmacy benefits management (PBM) program launched mid-pandemic, healthcare navigator startup, Rightway, seems to have come out of left field with its $100M Series C fundraise and $1.1B valuation. CEO Jordan Feldman introduces us to the company he’s built and its pretty impressive ability to achieve double-digit decreases in the cost of healthcare for mid- and large self-insured employers.
We walk through the business model, talk about the well-funded competition in both the care navigation and PBM spaces, and get acquainted with Rightway’s plans for scaling up and attracting new clients. An added little point of intrigue? As Rightway looks to gain a foothold working with health plans, Jordan mentions some interesting ties via its Series C investors. While the round was led by Khosla Ventures, with participation by Tiger Global and existing investors, it’s Thrive Capital, also an investor in the health insurance startup Oscar Health, that sounds like it might help Rightway make its way into the payer market.
This week (for one week only) #THCB Gang was on Friday. Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) was joined by regulars medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee), Fard Johnmar (@fardj), from digital health consultancy Enspektos, THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), and employer health expert Jennifer Benz (@jenbenz). Sadly Casey Quinlan was ill and couldn’t join last minute.
It was an extraordinary week, especially in terms of digital health investment. We talked a bit about that and a lot more about high deductible health plans, whether the filibuster will be busted, and what that might mean for Medicare for all. A wide ranging and big picture conversation!