This morning, digital cardiology platform Heartbeat Health scored $8.2 million in Series A funding. Boston-based venture firm .406 Ventures and Optum Ventures led the round with participation from Kindred Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Designer Fund and Max Ventures.
WHAT THEY DO
The company is focused on using digital tools to aggregate heart data and provide care management to patients.
“I started heartbeat about three years ago, really with the goal of bringing a virtual-care model to cardiovascular disease vertical," Dr. Jeff Wessler, cardiologist and CEO of Heartbeat Health, told MobiHealthNews. "The past three years have been spent building up a team and an infrastructure as we all it virtual cardiovascular care."
Wessler said he hopes the product can help patients navigate through the traditional physical-care environment, as well as through new technologies coming onto the market. He noted that the healthcare system is moving to a patient-first model.
"The basic model is to take patients, identify their risk using various data sources, whether it's their wearables, or biometric screening, or primary-care testing. Then bring them to a telecardiogloy platform to establish a patient-doctor relationship," Wessler said. "Then explain and teach what cardiovascular risk is, what the blood pressure means and how it can be managed, and what the goals for various risk factors are. Then we get patients into the right care environment, which can be anything from primary care, to [a] general cardiologist, to diagnostic testing, to an advanced specialist. Then track them and demonstrate that unified care can actually improve outcomes and can clinically validate that connected care can work."
WHAT IT'S FOR
The new money is expected to increase the company's national footprint.
"The goal of this funding is to scale out of New York. We've been focused on New York to build up the infrastructure to get our initial learnings and prove some of our hypothesis. We're now ready to take the experience on the road and [increase] the number of patients we are serving and companies we are able to work with. That really requires great people and that comes with a price."
Heart health is increasingly going digital. The American Heart Association put on a startup-pitch competition in November. The competition’s cohort ranged from well-known heavy hitters like Welldoc to Korean hospital-spinout Vuno, but in the end it was Pittsburgh-based Forest Devices that claimed top honors from both the contest’s eight judges and its audience.
We've also seen the big tech giants show an active interest in heart health. In 2018 Apple made waves when it announced that its Series 4 Apple Watch would include an atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and ECG feature. Fitbit and Withings are also interested in adding this feature.
ON THE RECORD
“The statistics on cardiovascular disease are staggering – heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. With many of the challenges of heart health being related to preventable factors, the condition is ripe for high quality virtual care,” Payal Divakaran, Partner of .406 Ventures, said in a statement. “We are excited to back Heartbeat Health as it has developed the first, best and only solution to this problem highlighted by recent cardiovascular studies. We were also attracted to the exceptional team that Dr. Wessler and his co-founders have assembled.”