Wellbe Raises $1.4 Million for a Pre and Post-op Patient Engagement Platform

10-21-2013 12-16-54 PM

Madison, WI-based health IT startup Wellbe announces a $1.4 million seed round, which closed in August, but was only recently publically acknowledged. Wellbe creates surgery specific care paths that walk patients through the pre and post-op process in an easy to understand web-based format.

Prior to the funding, Wellbe was bootstrapping. Its 11 employees were working second jobs and picking up side projects as needed, while simultaneously coding the company’s core product as fast as possible.

The decision to keep the funding news quiet was not one of secrecy, but of necessity. As CEO James Dias explains it “We told the investors … we all had a beer over it … and we just went straight back to work.” As with most startups, now that the funding is on the table, things are getting busier and sending out a self-congratulatory press release was rightfully lower on the to do list than, say, expanding the company’s product portfolio and establishing its sales channel.

Wellbe originally launched in 2008 with the goal of tackling childhood obesity, but the direct-to-consumer business model did not work, so the company re-evaluated the needs within the market to find a niche for itself that would allow it to move to a business-to-business sales model. The result was Wellbe’s CarePaths, which launched commercially in 2012.

CarePaths is a patient guidance system that Diaz describes as a “GPS for your health.” Focusing on pre and post-op care planning, the platform uses email to send patients smaller chunks of information at specific times leading up to the day of surgery, and then after discharge. The platform will educate patients on what they need to do to prepare for their pre-operative testing, ensuring that they’ve coordinated rides to and from the hospital, and explain what they need to do, and not do, as the day of surgery approaches. It will send them online forms to fill out on behalf of the hospital, and streamline the patient education process both before and after surgery. It breaks all major milestones in pre and post-op care delivery into multiple bite-sized chunks.

In 2012, Wellbe brought CarePaths to market supporting only total hip and total knee replacement surgeries. Last week, the company expanded its portfolio to include bariatric surgeries. While Wellbe’s sales and marketing staff work to sign customers for its new bariatric platform, developers will be working on expanding surgical support to include new procedures, cancer and spine surgeries are being targeted next.

Wellbe’s new funding will be used to add staff for sales, marketing, and development. Dias reports that Wellbe will add five new employees over the next 12 months.

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