New York City-based digital healthcare service Sherpaa has raised an additional $2.25 million, according to an SEC filing. The funding is an amendment to last year's $4 million round. This brings the company's total funding to at least $8 million.
Past investors include O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, First Round Capital, Collaborative Fund, and angels including Tumblr founder David Karp, ex-president of Tumblr John Maloney, and OpenX and Jirafe founder Scott Switzer.
Sherpaa aims to help employers cut their healthcare costs by making physicians remotely available to their clients’ employees. Employees can use Sherpaa’s app, the web, or a phone to communicate with doctors that work exclusively for Sherpaa 24-7. Using any of these platforms, users can get in touch with the doctors who can answer questions about a medical issue and send a prescription to a local pharmacy when appropriate.
In an interview with Wired last month, Sherpaa founder Dr. Jay Parkinson shared that Sherpaa is seeing about 80 percent of the employees at the companies it works with opt in to the service, and 60 percent become regular users. The company currently has about 100 clients, including Yahoo-owned Tumblr and Etsy. Parkinson also said that Sherpaa intentionally avoids video visits, because they don't reflect the way people naturally communicate.
"Asynchronous, text-based communication is an ingrained behavior in humans,” he told Wired. “Video visits are by no means an ingrained behavior.”
Defending the lack of video has become a major talking point of the company of late as the company invites comparisons to companies like American Well and Teladoc, which recently announced its intention to IPO. In addition to the Wired piece, Sherpaa published a long blog post laying out the company's stance that video visits aren't the way to go. The piece emphasizes the convenience of text and email communication and the continuous, ongoing reality of healthcare.
Parkinson has said on many occasions that Sherpaa's asynchronous text communication can solve about 70 percent of medical issues that employees have. In the other 30 percent of cases, users are referred to a specialist for an in-person visit.