Teladoc Raises $157 Million In IPO, Well North Of Initial Targets

Teladoc has finalized its IPO two months after filing its SEC Form S-1, selling 8.3 million shares at $19 per share, a final price well north of the $15-$17 range it was initially seeking. The per-share price pegs Teladoc’s total value at $620 million.  Shares traded for the first time today on the NYSE under the ticker TDOC,. Stock prices soared 50 percent by the close of trading, finishing the day at $28.50.

Since its 2oo2 launch, Teladoc has raised $90 million in VC funding, with its last round, a $50 million Series C, closing in September 2014. The company has grown its market share in the telehealth sector both through organic expansion and through acquisitions. Teladoc acquired Consult A Doctor in August 2013 for $16.6 million, then acquired AmeriDoc in May 2014 for $17.2 million . In January 2015, the company acquired BetterHelp, a telehealth-based behavioral health vendor, for $4.5 million in cash and future royalties. Lastly, Teladoc acquired StatDoc on June 17 for $30.5 million in cash and stock options.

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Digital Health Warms Up To Medical Marijuana

In the last 20 years, state-led reform efforts have introduced medical marijuana legalization laws in 24 states, with an additional 18 decriminalizing, and four outright legalizing, possession of small amounts for recreational purposes. The growing cultural acceptance of marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally, was the subject of a recent Bloomberg piece that focused on how quickly public opinion in the US shifts, and the relatively prompt response to that shift by state legislators.  The article plots public opinion shifts and the corresponding legislation changes of major cultural turning points over the last century, including interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and now marijuana reform, calling it “the next big social issue to head down the path of its predecessors.”

Digital Health Warms Up To Medical Marijuana

While marijuana’s full exit from prohibition is still in question, the change in public opinion on the matter has paved the way for the now booming medical marijuana industry. In the last year, a number of traditionally conservative states, including Georgia and Texas, have passed reform laws legalizing and regulating medical marijuana markets in their states. Now, digital health entrepreneurs and investors are beginning to target the previously ignored market as its future solidifies and legal risks diminish.

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Kickstarter-backed Mobile Spectrometer Prepares To Ship First Units

Tel Aviv, Israel-based consumer device startup Consumer Physics announces this week that it is preparing to ship its first batch of miniature spectrometers to developers, with a general release expected later this year. Consumer Physics launched in 2011 with the goal of building a pocket-sized device that could analyze food and report on its ingredients and caloric count. The company raised $1.9 million in VC funding led by Khosla Ventures, and then took its prototype to Kickstarter, where it raised an additional $2.7 million in crowdfunding from 13,000 backers. The campaign closed in June 2014 and the team has since gone on to raise an additional $10 million, bringing its total investment level to $14.5 million.

Kickstarter-backed Mobile Spectrometer Prepares To Ship First Units

The spectrometer, called Scio, uses near-IR spectroscopy to determine the composition and quality of food, medicines, plants, and other materials. The technology has sound scientific and real-world validation. It is widely used in agriculture to verify product quality and is considered an ideal technology because it is cheap, reliable, and accurate. Consumer Physics is using the technology to build an all-purpose scanner for the general public.

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Startup CEOs and Investors: Brian Weiss

Open EHRs, Soft Drinks, and Leprechauns

Just under a year ago, having surfaced the disturbing and shocking possibility that EHR vendor marketing claims may not all be objectively measured and verified, Mr. H issued a challenge to have someone (other than EHR vendors) define what an “open” EHR really is. That call was answered by two PhDs named Sittig and Wright and a summary of their work was recently published on HIStalk.

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Wellframe Partners With Thresholds To Improve Care For Returning Veterans

Boston-based digital health startup Wellframe announces a new partnership with Thresholds, a service-based organization offering mental health recovery services in the Chicago area. While Thresholds supports a broad population of mental health patients, Wellframe will work with Thresholds on its Veterans Project, an effort focused on improving care coordination and outreach among Chicago’s veteran population.

Wellframe is a 2012 Rock Health graduate with $10 million in VC funding that is building apps for patients to simplify chronic disease management and post-acute recovery. Wellframe simplifies patient discharge instructions and ongoing disease management by sending daily checklists to users that include treatment protocols, disease education, time-sensitive medication reminders, and periodic health questionnaires from their provider. The platform tracks compliance and aggregates this information and feeds it into a back-end dashboard for case managers to monitor key populations and improve outreach efforts among high-risk patients.

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Lyra Health Raises $3.1 Million Round, Partners With Castlight Health

Lyra Health, a digital health startup co-founded by former Facebook CFO David Ebersman, announces a new strategic partnership and investment just three weeks after coming out of stealth mode. The company, which is bringing technology and professional services to the mental health space, has partnered with Castlight Health to market its solution within Castlight’s enterprise healthcare management platform. In addition to the partnership, Lyra will receive a $3.1 million investment from Castlight and has named Castlight’s CEO, Giovanni Colella, MD to its board. The strategic role is a good fit for Colella, who started out as a practicing psychiatrist before moving into the digital health world.

Castlight markets a product designed to help healthcare consumers shop around before picking a provider. The company’s platform presents users with data on local primary care and specialty providers, highlighting both quality data and out of pocket cost estimates for local doctors. The platform is marketed to employers as a tool to help steer employees to low cost, high quality providers and medical centers.

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Telehealth Continues On VC Funding Roll With Newest MDLive Round

MDLive announces this week that it has closed a $50 million funding round provided exclusively by IT-focused private equity firm Bedford Funding. Bedford Funding is a PE firm with $1.4 billion in managed assets that targets mid-sized software companies, providing the capital and support needed to grow the business into a large, dominant market leader. The new round brings MDLive’s total funding level to $73.6 million, and caps an impressive run for telehealth vendors over the last year.

Telehealth Continues On VC Funding Roll With Newest MDLive Round

Just last week, rival telehealth vendor Doctor on Demand closed its own $50 million Series B funding round. Boston-based telehealth vendor American Well announced in December 2014 that it had raised an $80 million Series C round, and, in September of last year, Teladoc raised its own $50 million funding round. Now, MDLive has joined its peers in the telehealth space, raising its own massive round. As payers and employers continue to warm up to the idea of integrating telehealth solutions into the traditional care delivery system, these four controlling vendors in the industry are all raising funds and preparing to compete for market share and mindshare. While the race for funding is certainly on, the biggest newsmaker in this space recently is Teladoc, who recently announced intentions to go public and is expecting to raise north of $100 million in the process.

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FDA Approves Device That Helps Blind People “See” With Their Tongue

The FDA has approved a new medical device developed by Middleton, WI-based  startup Wicab, Inc. that helps blind people navigate their surroundings by delivering a series of coordinated pulses to the tongue. Marketed as an oral electronic vision aid, Wicab won De Novo FDA approval for it due to the fact that it is a non-invasive, low-risk device, and that no substantially equivalent devices are currently available on the market.

FDA Approves Device That Helps Blind People “See” With Their Tongue

Wicab’s device, called the BrainPort V100, includes a headset with an embedded video camera that captures visual data that is pixilated and then delivered to the surface of the patient’s tongue as a series of vibrations delivered by a grid of electrodes held in the mouth. The device translates real-time video into greyscale patterns, where darker portions of the image vibrate at full strength, hues of gray vibrate at increasingly softer levels, and white areas do not vibrate at all. Users describe the experience as having streaming images drawn on the tongue with small vibrating bubbles. With training, users are able to interpret the vibrations “to determine the location, position, size, and shape of objects, and to determine if objects are moving or stationary,” according to the FDA’s press release.

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