HTN Weekly Health Tech Reads 8/1

Telehealth moves (Amwell acquires Silvercloud & Conversa, Ro launches mental health offering, Teladoc moving toward risk-based models), an overview of CMM, & more

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News:

  • AmWell announced two acquisitions, Silvercloud and Conversa Health for a combined $320 million, with up to $70 million in earn out payments. Silvercloud is a mental health startup and Conversa Health is a patient engagement  / chatbot startup. Both these vendors make sense for AmWell as they're focused on selling to health systems as their main customers, and they provide capabilities that naturally add on to AmWell's platform. According to this source, Silvercloud is being acquired for over $250 million, meaning Conversa is at $70 million or less. Silvercloud and Conversa are expected to bring in $15 million of revenue in 2021 combined, meaning this deal is at 21x revenue, representing a hefty premium for these two companies. This sort of exit has to seem awfully enticing for investors behind these startups versus the slog of going it alone as a point solution while the platform players gobble up the space. Link.
  • Speaking of platform players, Ro launched a mental health product offering this week, Ro Mind. Interesting to see Ro choose to build internally here - remember it just acquired Modern Fertility to get into the fertility market. As folks noted in the Slack channel this week this seems like a fairly straightforward product for Ro to launch with its existing infrastructure. And they could still always make another acquisition as they expand in the mental health space. Link.
  • Last piece of news on platform players for the week, as Teladoc reported Q2 earnings and received a lukewarm response from Wall Street. Teladoc is talking more about moving away from being a FFS virtual urgent care model to a risk-based "whole person care" approach (a phrase that was used fifteen times on the call). The earnings call seems to belie the troubles that Teladoc will have ahead of it in actually executing on this transition. They're throwing a number of initiatives out there, including myStrength Complete, Primary360, and the Livongo diabetes and cardiovascular programs. While they all sound interesting, it comes across as a disjointed effort with little in the way of results. I can only imagine how confusing the pitch must be to employers at the moment (which seems like it was the opposite of the intent in bringing this all under one umbrella). Link.
  • Highmark joins the ranks of payors attempting to help support independent primary care via value based arrangements, announcing a partnership with startup Stellar Health to do so. Interesting to see Highmark saying they selected Stellar because of their ability to better engage providers than others. Stellar and Highmark will work with 50,000 MA and commercial members over the next two years. Link.
  • Patient data analytics startup Komodo Health acquired Breakaway Partners, a company building analytics that help life sciences orgs to help drive sales. Link.
  • AI software startup PathAI acquired the management service arm of Poplar Healthcare, a pathology laboratory. Interesting to see them go this route acquiring an incumbent path lab. Presumably doing so will make it easier to integrate the AI software into workflows. Link.
  • Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson called off their merger as the DOJ has attempted to block it. Interesting to see the DOJ's position in opposition to European regulators, which approved the deal. Maybe not all that surprising given how much focus US regulators are putting on fairness and transparency in healthcare when this merger would have impacted Aon/WTW client (employer) decisions for hundreds of thousands of employees. Link.
  • Wellsky acquired Healthify to build a platform in the SDoH space, leveraging Wellsky's existing footprint and Healthify's tech platform. Link.

Funding:

  • Exo raised $220 million to commercialize its handheld ultrasound device. Link.
  • SonderMind, a mental health startup that connects patients with therapists, raised $150 million. SonderMind will expand from 10 states to all 50, and revenue for them grew by 400% in the past year. Link.
  • veda, an AI startup helping health insurers with back office automation, raised $45 million. Link.
  • Nym Health, an AI medical coding platform for emergency departments, raised $25 million. Seems like a really straightforward use case that hospitals can get behind - get paid more via reduced denials from insurers because of mistakes in the manual coding process. Link.
  • Medicare brokerage startup Connie Health raised $13 million. Link.

Opinions:

  • Former Senator and digital health investor Bill Frist penned a good overview piece on CMMI. It looks back at the goals of the program, progress to date, and how it might adjust focus moving forward. If you've stayed up-to-date on all the changes there isn't much new, but if you want a good 101-style overview of CMMI this does a nice job. Link.
  • This is a really interesting read on how AI models have failed at identifying COVID-19 in hospitals. It's a microcosm of all the challenges AI / machine learning have in healthcare generally: garbage in, garbage out. Link.
  • Health tech investor Robbie Greenglass made the case for more startups in the space becoming service companies because of the financial opportunity in the services business in healthcare. Link.
  • The Wittington Ventures team shared their perspective on how healthcare data startups should think about various opportunities. Link.

Data:

  • PWC released a report looking at what medical cost trend will look like in 2022. It has a lot of interesting data in it, but perhaps the most is this chart - less than 70% of consumers with employer-based insurance are willing to use video visits again versus in-home clinician visits which appear to be around 90%. In-home care delivery startups rejoice! Link.
  • US News & World Report, which does the well known ranking of top hospitals, published a piece looking at racial disparities in care at hospitals across the US. Only 29% of hospitals treat a proportion of Black patients that is comparable to (or higher than) the proportion of Black residents in the community around the hospital. Link.
  • Pear Therapeutics announced a retrospective analysis showing a reduction in medical costs of $2,385 per patient over 6 months using Pear's reSET-O product for opioid use disorder. Link.

Featured Jobs:

If you are either actively looking for or open to a new role, fill out this form so we can help match you with relevant opportunities as they come our way. We'll reach out to you directly if we see something interesting, and otherwise will keep the information confidential. Now, onto the jobs from this week:

  • Stellar Health, a startup building a platform to help providers manage risk effectively, is hiring a strategic operations manager. Link.
  • Boulder Care, an early stage startup building a platform to expand access of effective treatment for opiate use, is hiring a Head of Finance. Link.
  • Thirty Madison, a D2C telemedicine startup, is hiring Senior Market Research Lead. Link.
  • Cricket Health, an early stage startup focused on specialty kidney care provider of integrated nephrology and dialysis care, is hiring Business Operations Associate focused on GTM. Link.

Access the HTN Jobs Board for the full list of job postings.