PokitDok raises $1.5M for health price comparisons

By Jonah Comstock
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pokitdokPokitDok, a California-based healthcare price transparency service, has raised $1.5 million in its first round of funding, according to SEC documents. The company previously raised $1.3 million in seed funding in June 2012, and another $200,000 in December, bringing their total funding after this raise to $3 million.

Seattle entrepreneur and angel investor Jonathan Sposato mentioned in a recent podcast interview that he is an investor in the company. Sposato also mentioned his investment in fitness app startup EveryMove in the same interview. Other contributors to PokitDok's original seed round last year include Charles River Ventures, Jeff Entress, the Ballast Fund, Albert Prast, Jason Portnoy, and Zach Zeitlin. John Backus, managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures, is also listed in the newest SEC document.

PokitDok was founded by Lisa Maki and Ted Tanner in 2011. It's a mobile app and online service that lets users locate healthcare providers in their area, then do a price comparison of different quotes. If a provider doesn't have prices listed, users can fill out a form describing their medical needs and payment options -- cash, insurance, or healthcare savings account -- and get a quote from the provider.

The company, which launched its iOS app in December, makes a point of  including all kinds of care providers including acupuncturists and homeopathic practitioners. It also allows users to rate their patient experience with different providers, which then gets added in to PokitDok's database. Providers can leverage their profile pages on PokitDok's site to attract certain kinds of patients, like those with health savings accounts.

Healthcare cost transparency is a much-sought goal in the world of digital health. Castlight Health, which raised $100 million last May and is widely believed to be on the road to IPO, offers a similar service, although it's currently only available via employers, whereas PokitDok is direct to consumer. Other, smaller competitors include HealthInReach and ClearCost Health. PricingHealthcare.com, an Indiegogo project with a similar mission, is planning to launch its beta next week.

The topic has also not escaped notice of the US Senate, whose Finance Committee held a two-hour hearing this week on healthcare price transparency. The witness panel included Castlight Health's Giovanni Colella, as well as Steven Brill, author of a recent Time magazine cover story on healthcare price transparency.

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