Vivify Health Closes $17 Million Series B To Scale Remote Patient Monitoring Business

Plano, TX-based population health startup Vivify Health has closed a $17 million Series B funding round led by UPMC and with additional investments from Envision Healthcare Holdings and LabCorp. The funding round was initially publicized in November 2014, when the team announced that it had raised $15 million but would continue soliciting investments. More than a year later, the company has finally closed the round, adding an additional $2 million for a $17 million total round. The new funding brings Vivify’s lifetime funding level to $23 million since its 2009 launch.

Vivify Health Closes $17 Million Series B To Scale Remote Patient Monitoring Business

Vivify launched with the goal of building a data integration engine that would be marketed to health systems interested in capturing more information from medical devices and integrating that data with EHRs and patient portals. The company expanded on this vision later, adding a suite of tools that will engage with patients in the post-acute space while also aggregating and risk stratifying this data to help health systems more effectively allocate clinical resources. The company has sought out and secured investors with not only a financial interest in seeing the startup grow, but also a business interest. LabCorp CEO David King noted in the November 2014 announcement that the company was not only interested in the company’s financial future, but also in the potential collaboration opportunities that it could benefit from. UPMC, the lead investor on its current round, has also announced that it will not only be an investor, but also a customer as it implements Vivify’s software to reduce its overall cost of care burden.

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The White House Precision Medicine Initiative Begins To Take Shape

During his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled a new Precision Medicine Initiative that would be funded with $200 million and given the mission of advancing the way that a broad set of diseases are detected and treated. Based on years of evidence suggesting that treatments for diseases like cancer and certain mental health conditions may be more effective if tailored based on individual genetic traits, the funding will be distributed to public and private organizations engaged in research that will yield new findings in these areas.

The White House Precision Medicine Initiative Begins To Take Shape

This week, after a year of recruiting public and private partners to join in on the mission, the White House announces a number of tangible commitments from organizations interested in participating, with a strong representation of digital health companies among those listed.

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Fitbit Shares Drop 21 Percent On Adjusted Financial Projections

Fitbit reported Q4 and annual results this week. Quarterly revenue grew 92 percent to $712, adjusted EPS $0.35 vs. $0.21, beating expectations on both. Profits also grew, totaling at $64 million, up 64 percent from the same quarter last year. Analyst consensus estimates had forecasted revenue of just $648 million and EPS of $0.25, so Fitbit beat both by a wide margin and demonstrated strong profit growth. Despite the positive financial results, shares plummeted in after hours trading on Monday, and continued to fall through both Tuesday and early trading Wednesday after the company adjusted its 2016 earnings and revenue forecast sharply downward.

Fitbit Shares Drop 21 Percent On Adjusted Financial Projections

Fitbit projected a Q1 revenue of between $420 and $440 million, falling short of analyst expectations of $483 million. More concerning, however, is the projected quarterly earnings of $0.00 to $0.02 per share, falling far below analyst expectations of $0.23 per share. The lowered earnings projections reflect one time costs associated with launching two new products, the Alta and Blaze. Fitbit is absorbing manufacturing and distribution costs, along with marketing costs, as it prepares for its global launch for the new devices. The company based its decision to issue lowered guidance on the impact those costs will have on its Q1 financial performance. In its earnings call, CFO William Zerella explains, “The channel is draining their inventory levels of Charge, and we stop shipping Charge in Q1. We’re transitioning in the channels preparing for Alta… our guidance assumes that we will be getting initial shipments out of Alta into the channel, but that because of the timing that no reorders will hit revenue in Q1.” Because Fitbit expects no reorders for either its Alta or Blaze units from distributors during Q1, the company is expecting significantly reduced earnings.

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Oscar Health Raises $400 Million Private Equity Investment

Tech savvy insurance startup Oscar Health has closed a massive $400 million private equity investment based on a $2.7 billion valuation. The company added a full $1 billion to its value since September 2015, when it closed a $32 million investment from Google Capital on a $1.7 billion valuation. The new round was led by Fidelity, but included a laundry list of secondary investors including returning investors Google Capital, General Catalyst, Founders Fund, Lakestar, Khosla Ventures, and Thrive Capital. In total, Oscar has now raised $725 million since its 2013 launch.

Oscar launched offering insurance plans in New York during the 2013-2014 enrollment period. The company markets itself as a tech savvy option and targets a younger, generally healthier population. To attract these clients, Oscar offers free telehealth visits, free activity trackers, and no co-pay for preventative care visits and generic medications. Since launching, Oscar has expanded its territory to include California, New Jersey, and Texas. Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser notes that expanding into a new state costs the company around $20 million but confirms that the company plans to enter three to four new states per year to drive up its physical footprint and overall enrollment numbers.

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Crisis Text Line Releases De-Identified Dataset From 13 Million Conversations

New York-based startup Crisis Text Line announces that it will release a massive dataset containing de-identified text message conversations between its crisis counselors and users. The new dataset is comprised of 13 million text messages from users in crisis, representing one of the largest single sources of information on mental health and crisis available, rivaled only by a CDC survey on the same topic published every two years. Access to the text messages will be made freely available to researchers working across a multitude of fields to help improve understanding about mental health issues and the events that precipitate a crisis.

Crisis Text Line Releases De-Identified Dataset From 13 Million Conversations

Crisis Text Line is a spinoff from DoSomething.org, an organization focused on helping organize public service projects. While working on a teen outreach project within DoSomething, then CEO Nancy Lublin realized that while there were dozens of resources available to teens in crisis, there were no national text-based outreach programs aimed at anonymously connecting teens with crisis councilors over text. In response, Lublin handed over the reigns of DoSomething and launched Crisis Text Line to address the problem. Lublin piloted the service in Chicago and El Paso, TX and within four months crisis counselors had received texts from teens living in every area code in the country. Because the team was still in pilot mode, they did no marketing to promote the service. Early growth was entirely attributed to word of mouth among teens. In the two years since its launch, counselors have exchanged 13 million texts with users.

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