Dātu Health Closes $10 Million Series B To Expand Its Patient Engagement Platform


Boulder, CO-based digital health startup Dātu Health has closed a $10 million Series B provided by its chief investor and customer, St. Joseph Health. Founded in August 2013, Dātu Health has been working in partnership with St. Joseph since its earliest days, co-developing a patient engagement platform that connects patients, their close friends or family members, and the care team overseeing disease management. Called a Persuasion Engine, Dātu’s platform is designed to provide patients with more community support and access to clinical resources in hopes that these tools will lead to patients making healthier lifestyle choices.

Dātu signed a five-year, $25 million deal with St. Joseph in July 2015 to roll its platform across all of the health system’s hospitals. The scope of that agreement included tools designed to support diabetes management, pregnancy, and general wellness. Over the next five years, the pair plan to co-develop additional modules aimed at other high-cost chronic conditions. Because of its collaborative relationship with Dātu, St. Josephs has held seats on Dātu’s Board of Directors filled by Darrin Montalvo, St. Joseph’s president of integrated services, and Michael Sugarman, MD and president of the SJH Heritage Medical Group. Dātu’s two other board seats are held by VC representatives from prior investors Sante Ventures and VSA.

Patient engagement could easily be considered one of the most high risk, high reward startup targets in the US economy right now. Businesses like Uber and AirBnB are demonstrating time and time again that small, lean technology companies that can position themselves between consumers and independent suppliers stand to make a killing simply by facilitating transactions. However, healthcare is plagued with disorganized suppliers and disenfranchised consumers making true consumer engagement a noble, but daunting goal in this industry.

Companies like Dātu seem to be taking the right approach, finding strategic partners like St. Joseph that will stand by them as they try different approaches, measure results, and recalibrate to try again. Patient engagement may turn out to be less about finding an app with the secret sauce and more about grinding through a slow and deliberate discovery process until the platform’s engagement levels are significant enough to validate the expense.

Dātu has drawn recent attention from beyond just St. Joseph; the company was selected as a finalist in the Mayo Clinic’s 2015 Think Big Challenge, a development contest with a $100,000 cash prize for development teams tackling chronic disease management or general wellness. Dātu lost in the final round to fellow digital health startup Care at Hand.

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