Startups

With $57M raised, ex-Accolade exec Jack Stoddard launched Patina, a healthcare platform for older adults

After quietly building for two years, Patina got funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and GV, and launched its platform in early 2022 with a 50-person staff. Here's how the CEO knew what to do in the startup's earliest stages.

Patina's team

Jack Stoddard was led to his current startup, Patina, the way a lot of founders are: personal experience.

Stoddard has worked on multiple companies innovating in the healthcare space, including cofounding public company Accolade more than a decade ago. But helping his aging parents navigate the healthcare system was the inspiration for three-year-old startup Patina.

“I was watching my own parents, who are almost 80, not get the care or dignity they deserve,” Stoddard told Technical.ly. “And they’re not alone — there’s more than 50 million people 65+, most who are trapped in a primary care model that is in many ways corrupted in fees-for-service reimbursement.”

Patina offers a mix of virtual and at-home primary care for older adults that works with patients’ Medicare Advantage plans. The company’s virtual platform brings all aspects of a patient’s care plan together and offers a “health champion,” a virtual point-of-contact to help navigate care, get prescriptions delivered and help set appointments among other tasks.

Stoddard, the company’s CEO, said that many people lack a “go-to quarterback” for their healthcare — someone who’s along for the whole journey of care, and sees patients as a whole person, not just through the keyhole of one condition. Primary care visits can happen virtually or can be scheduled at home through the platform, so patients don’t spend time in waiting rooms, he said. If a patient does needs to see a specialist, the health companion will help coordinate appointments and personalize their healthcare plan.

A Patina patient “champion” at work. (Courtesy photo)

In October of last year, Patina launched in Philly with a partnership serving Independence Blue Cross patients, and Stoddard said the company is looking to expand to new markets in 2023 in partnership with national Medicare Advantage plans. Under this model, patients don’t see any outside costs from their traditional primary care providers, the CEO said.

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Though the idea and foundation of the company came a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, Stoddard attributes healthcare’s embrace of telehealth as accelerating the company forward. Many patients, especially older adults, are more and more comfortable receiving care virtually or at home.

Since the company launched in 2019, it’s grown to about 50 employees, Stoddard said, but will likely be closer to 100 by the end of the year. Many of those employees are in the Philly area, as it maintains offices in Bala Cynwyd, but they’re hiring from anywhere. The team is made up of doctors and healthcare staff, product and engineering folks building its software and business staff. (Check out its currently open positions.)

Patina grew a ton in 2021, as it took a $57 million round of seed and Series A funding co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and GV, and joined by investors like F-Prime, Rock Springs Capital and Viking Global Investors.

“I’m so excited about the whole thing,’ Stoddard said. “You get a chance to build a brand new care model from scratch, and to bring Silicon Valley money in, new partners — I’m just over the moon with the potential.”

Stoddard said his eight years at Accolade — which went public via IPO in 2020 — influenced the early startup days of Patina. There’s a handful of lessons there, including building a quality, trusted team, and setting intentional culture decisions early that have supported the company’s first few years of growth.

One extremely practical lesson: “Find that anchor customer that believes in what you’re doing,” the CEO said. Comcast took a bet on Accolade in the early days, and Stoddard feels his new team has found that type of partnership in IBX.

And one classic known from repeat founders: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Stoddard said. “You can’t do your best work if you burn yourself out.”

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