(Photo by LeAnne Matlach)
Six months after closing its most recent funding, Protenus reported raising $11 million in Series B funding, and is planning more hiring.
The round for the Baltimore-based healthcare data protection company was co-led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures and F-Prime Capital Partners, who also led a $3 million Series A extension for the company in June. Also participating were Arthur Ventures, Lionbird Venture Capital, and Cognosante Ventures, all of whom are also existing investors.
Founded in 2014 by former Johns Hopkins med school students Nick Culbertson and Robert Lord, the company’s platform helps hospitals protect patient data by providing healthcare workers with technology way to automatically review every time someone accesses a patient’s electronic health data. It can also detect when that data is being used inappropriately and outside of work functions.
“With that we have increased the amount of risk that hospital and health systems are bringing on themselves,” Culbertson said. As more people have access, there is more risk that the data is accessed improperly or potentially stolen.
Culbertson said the company is now working with health systems across the country, and grew its revenue 20x in 2017. “With that growth we’ve had to do as much as we can to keep up with customer demand which means expanding the team, adding resources,” he said, adding that the team and investors saw it as “a no-brainer to dump more fuel on the fire.”
“We are passionate when we meet teams with a unique insight on a market, and the Protenus team recognized early on that the tension between the need to share health data and the inherent risk of unmonitored access to patient information would ultimately require a secure, enterprise-scale solution,” F-Prime Capital Partners’ Jon Lim said in a statement.
The company grew quickly at its Tack Factory offices in Southeast Baltimore since its last funding round. That included hiring VP of People Operations Megan Emhoff in the fall in a move that appeared to set up more growth. With the new funding, the company will look to add to its team
Culbertson said the company plans to roughly double the size of its team with 30 new hires. Funding will also be used to expand R&D operations. The company has had success hiring locally, and plans to continue to do so.
“Baltimore often gets overlooked in terms of talent but we have found when it comes to health, sciences and cyber, there is a huge hotbed here,” he said.
We’ve mused about how the nexus point of healthcare and security plays to the strengths of the city’s tech community. Funding-wise, it’s also shown the ability to attract players from outside the area to Baltimore.
The growth has come against the backdrop of an increase in data breaches at healthcare systems. Lord said the company tracks breaches, and company data indicates one breach or more is reported publicly every day. But Protenus has also seen increasing attention to the problem from hospitals.
“I think what we’ve seen more than an increasing breach landscape is an increased awareness landscape,” he said.
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