Baltimore’s b.well Connected Health raised $16 million in its Series A investment round, and is looking to grow its team.
The round was led by UnityPoint Health Ventures, which is the venture capital arm of Iowa-based hospital and clinic network UnityPoint Health. Participants also included Wisconsin-based community health system ThedaCare and Well Ventures, which is a subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance. It brings the company’s total venture funding to more than $27 million.
CEO Kristen Valdes described the company’s technology as a “digital front door” for healthcare.
b.well has worked with organizations such as employers, payers, health systems and providers — categories which are represented among the investors in the round and whom Valdes said are invested in population health as a result of shifts in healthcare. It allows them to offer a front-end mobile platform to consumers that manages all of their healthcare in one place. This provides the digital tools that provide access to data from many different sources in one place. And with a digitally-based mindset that prizes choice, it allows new tools to be added and subtracted without consumers needing to download a new app, as well.
“Our connected health platform allows them to not only see more real time and comprehensive data for their patient population both inside and outside of the doctor’s office, but also allows them to be able to continuously change their program to innovate over time,” Valdes said.
The platform provides data, and also allows for recommendations and communication tools to make it actionable.
Founded in 2015, the company, based in The Grid in the University of Maryland BioPark, has gained attention through national events as well as resources offered in the Baltimore tech community. Its growth shows a milestone locally in digital health, which is an area where Valdes said Baltimore is well-positioned to lead given the policy work that takes place nearby at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies in Woodlawn. Overall, Valdes said the company has been focused on bringing the kind of consumer experience found in other realms to healthcare.
“There needs to be a middleware that handles interoperability and aggregation that’s been missing from healthcare,” Valdes said.
Going forward, the company is moving from startup into growth mode, and looking to scale. It is also looking to hire, both at the Baltimore headquarters and at its office in Austin, Texas. With 20 positions currently open, Valdes said the company is looking to add a total of 50 people to the current team of 37 full-time employees this year.
With the funding, UnityPoint Health Ventures Senior Venture Associate Austin Duke and ThedaCare CEO Imran A. Andrabi are joining the company’s board of directors. Walgreens Boots Alliance SVP of Healthcare Services Giovanni Monti and VP of Global Mergers and Acquisitions Li Zhong will also join the board in varying capacities.
“Aligned with our mission of improving the health of our community, our partnership with b.well will empower patients by putting their health information at their fingertips and providing peace of mind,” Andrabi said in a statement. “On this journey to population health, we will take our expertise outside of our walls and provide people with tools to live their best life.”
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