Addiction focused digital health startup Boulder scored $10.5 million in Series A funding this morning. Investors included Tusk Ventures and Greycroft Partners.
The deal coincides with the news Boulder signed a value-based contract with Premera Blue Cross.
WHAT THEY DO
The startup connects patients seeking treatment for opioid use disorder to teams of addiction specialist, care coordinators and peer coaches through a telemedicine platform.
Patients can get individualized plans via secure video and text messaging. The company’s digital tool is intended to be used in conjunction with medication and lab tests. Patients will get a kit in the mail that comes with lab tests ready-to-mail and Narcan.
In a recent blog post announcing the new financing, Boulder’s CEO Stephanie Papes, wrote that the platform was created in response to the access hurdles in addiction treatment.
“Access gaps are exacerbated by counterproductive industry norms,” Papes said in the blog. “Programs require mandatory office visits, counseling, pharmacy trips, drug tests: hundreds of encounters for a condition that’s often lifelong. When you’re fighting a war and losing, it’s time to divine a new strategy. We must make treatment services accessible, transparent, and frictionless.”
WHAT IT’S FOR
In Papes’ blog she spells out a number of ways the new money will be used, starting with investment in research and education. The latest funds will also be invested in training more peer coaches.
The company also plans on tripling the production, design and engineering teams in order to build new tools.
In the last decade the US has seen a large increase in opioid related deaths. The CDC reports that on average 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
This has prompted a wave of tech driven initiatives from a variety of stakeholders. In October of 2018, the US Senate passed an opioid bill, which expanded telemedicine services to people with opioid abuse disorder, exempting it from certain requirements. It also modified the provisions regarding electronic prescriptions and post-surgical pain management.
Additionally in December of 2018, the FDA announced the winners of its opioid addiction innovation challenge. The agency selected eight winners from 250 applicants.
The startup space has also been coming out with a number of products aimed at helping this issue. For example, Workit Health, an online addiction treatment service that supports patients on Suboxone and Vivitrol, closed a Series A funding round for an undisclosed sum.
ON THE RECORD
“As we expand deeper in the Pacific Northwest through a value-based contract with Premera Blue Cross, Boulder aims to soon reach 2 million more people. We strive to cut costs while dramatically improving patient outcomes in OR, AK, WA and beyond,” Papes wrote in the blog post. “Patients and caregivers face every barrier to success, yet still achieve it every day. The fight against the opioid crisis is all of ours: against injustice, against a virulent disease, against losing an entire generation of Americans when it’s entirely preventable.”