Mango Health gets $5.25M to focus on provider business

By Jonah Comstock
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Mango Health Mango Health, a startup using gamification principals to work on medication adherence, has raised $5.25 million in first round funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company, which participated in the Rock Health digital health accelerator in 2012, had previously raised at least $3 million in a seed round from Floodgate Fund, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, Bullpen Capital and individual investors.

CEO Jason Oberfest told MobiHealthNews that the money raised will go toward scaling and developing the company's enterprise business. Mango is currently working with "one of the top three integrated care delivery systems in the country, one of the top three pharmacy benefit managers, and one of the top five largest US health plans," he said. The funds will go into supporting those existing relationships and seeking out additional customers. Customers are charged by Mango on a per active member per month basis.

Oberfest stressed that adherence is just a starting point for the company, which can leverage high engagement numbers into a variety of use cases.

"We focused on medication adherence first because we believe that for millions and millions of Americans the first step toward better health is that," he said. "So many Americans are taking medications for chronic disease -- chronic disease accounts for 75 percent of healthcare spending in the US -- that we’ve started there as a first step. But we believe that there is much more that needs to happen with population health management. So by starting with medication adherence, we wanted to solve a huge problem, but also build a daily relationship with these patient populations that we can use for longer term population health management in other ways also. We feel that’s a really critical longterm goal that we have."

Oberfest said that now that the company has 180 days of clinical data, they've started to see positive data on engagement. For instance, Mango Health delivers content to patients about the over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements they take, informing them about possible drug interactions, among other things. Oberfest says the open rate on that content is 40 percent over 14 months. The unaided return rate for the app -- that is, the number of people who continue to revisit the app after 180 days without prompting from the app --was 60 percent.

Additionally, the platform has increased adherence to anti-hypertensives to 89 percent (59 percent is average), adherence to diabetes medication to 85 percent (51 percent is average), and adherence to statins to 84 percent (52 percent is average).

"So long term, we think there’s potential for us to support the leaders in healthcare we work with in getting the right info to the right audience at the right time," said Oberfest. "And it could be much broader than just medication information. We could deliver disease management content or other forms of health-related information in a way that’s highly engaging to them."

As the relationships with providers have been prioritized, Mango seems to have backed off from its direct to consumer trajectory. Mango Health continues to offer rewards on its system for continuous adherence, but the rewards are tied to chance and Oberfest says users tend to see them as a nice surprise rather than a motivator for using the app.

"The value proposition of the app has worked way more than any reward we could ever have picked," he said.