Fierce Healthcare Fundraising Tracker—Staffing startup Float picks up series A; Tennr grabs $18M for fax automation

A new year brings a new approach to tracking health tech and digital health investments. 

Fierce Healthcare is switching from a continuous fundraising tracker to a weekly roundup of financing rounds.

Our weekly fundraising tracker provides updated coverage of noteworthy digital health and health tech funding rounds, though we'll still profile exciting new companies and larger rounds that catch our eye in-depth.

Do you have fundraising news to share? Email Senior Editor Heather Landi at [email protected].

Below are funding deals announced in March. (Editor's Note: this edition is a monthly round-up)

For news about funding deals from 2023, check out our 2023 Fundraising Tracker.

Empathy picks up $47M for platform to assist with grief and loss

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences to deal with, and all the responsibilities that come with it make it even more challenging.

Startup Empathy is trying to use technology to provide support to bereaved families and help them navigate the logistical details resulting from the death of someone close to them. In the past three years, Empathy has made a full range of assistance with grief, estate settlement, probate and more available to 5 million employees and 35 million policyholders across the U.S. 

The company raised $47 million in a series B round led by Index Ventures with participation from General Catalyst, Entrée Capital, Latitude, and Brewer Lane, plus strategic investments from major life insurance carriers Allianz, MassMutual Ventures, MetLife, New York Life Ventures, Securian Financial, and Sumitomo, bringing Empathy’s total capital raised to $90 million.

The series B funding will be used to expand Empathy’s services and cover new industries and regions nationwide, the company said.

Empathy uses its app and care team to carefully assess needs and next steps and complements experiences through time-saving and tech-enabled tools to effectively provide personalized plans, automated workflows, and care resources, including an extensive library of articles, guides, and meditation tools, to support them through their grieving process.

Telenutrition platform snags $35M

Nourish, a telenutrition platform that connects people to registered dietitians covered by insurance, picked up $35 million in series A funding. The round was led by Index Ventures with participation from Maverick Ventures and TCV. Also participating in the round were existing backers Y Combinator, Thrive Capital and BoxGroup and several prominent angel investors including professional soccer player Alex Morgan and founders from Oscar, Olipop, and Notion. 

Nourish plans to accelerate development of its digital platform for patients and providers, expand its network of registered dietitians and deepen its strategic partnerships with insurance companies, the company said.

The startup has raised $44 million since its founding in 2021.

By working with insurance companies to bring registered dietitians in-network and offering care virtually, Nourish is making nutrition care accessible to the 150 million Americans struggling with nutrition-related chronic diseases, according to the company.

With this round of funding, Nourish will continue investing in AI-powered tools to enhance personalization for patients and streamline administrative workflows for RDs. Nourish is also building technology to integrate "food as medicine" into the program by enabling RDs to "prescribe" diets tailored to patients’ specific needs and preferences.

Nourish says it has hundreds of dietitians and tens of thousands of patients across all 50 states. It plans to expand its network to over 1,000 RDs by the end of 2024 (a 20x increase since 2023). Nourish RDs provide personalized support for patients spanning different life stages and conditions, including adolescent eating disorders, perinatal care, diabetes and prediabetes, heart health, gut health, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and nearly 40 more.

Tennr closes $18M series A for fax automation

'Axe the fax' has been a rallying cry by some in the industry to replace faxes with digital communications. While many startups have been trying to digitize faxes out of existence, one startup is focused on integrating artificial intelligence with the tools that providers already use.

Tennr uses AI to automate manual tasks for healthcare providers, particularly focusing on analyzing and responding to information in faxed documents. When a practice receives a digital fax through email or their EHR inbox, Tennr reads the documents and automates the work associated with processing them. This act of finding and moving information quicker and with more accuracy resolves most of the problems digital faxes cause, according to the company.

Tennr raised $18 million in a series A funding round led by a16z. Foundation Capital and The New Normal Fund also participated in the round along with other investors (from the seed round) including YCombinator, Zaza Pachulia, Jennifer Kaehms, and other notable health and AI focused investors. With this funding round, Tennr has now raised over $25 million. 
Tennr’s founders, Trey Holterman, Diego Baugh, and Tyler Johnson, met as freshmen at Stanford where they worked together studying machine learning. They saw early on how good contextual models were becoming at doing repetitive, manual tasks and how much power this had to ‘magic away’ busywork in traditional industries, according to the company.

After graduation, the team dedicated years to building robust systems for reading unstructured documents, automating data entry and applying them specifically to healthcare. Medical practices use Tennr to automate referral processing, payment posting, claims auditing and medical record management.

Tennr is using the series A investment to grow its team, scale its operations and help organizations automate everything that starts with a fax.

Cleaning up the messy data coming in from faxes to automate patient intake and insurance communications is just the start, according to executives. Tennr's ability to read faxes, understand what information needs to be extracted from them and where that information needs to go means it can use its technology to chip away at many of the most costly problems within the U.S. health system, executives said.

Staffing startup Float pockets $10M

Float, a nurse staffing and pharmacy referral company, closed a $10 million series A funding round.

Canvas Ventures led the round with participation from Wave Capital, Y Combinator, Burst Capital and Also Capital. Several tech industry founders and leaders joined as angels, including Max Mullen, Co-founder of Instacart, Andrew Bartynski, Vice President of Strategy and Operations at ASRI, Brian Pokorny, former General Partner of SV Angel, Jed Nachman, COO of Yelp, and Brian Osborn, former VP of Marketing at Yelp. 

It's estimated that 133 million Americans suffer from a chronic illness, and that number continues to rise at an alarming rate. Many chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, require specialty medicines that can only be given through a needle by an experienced nurse. To find a nurse who can administer medicines by injection or through an IV, most people head to their local hospitals, which are not built for routine care. 

Float helps patients receive care in their homes by contracting with registered nurses. The model also helps to address hospital overcrowding and staffing shortages, the company said.

Founded in 2021 by former ER nurse Ryan Johnson, CEO and Christy Johnson, COO, Float has built a network of hundreds of nurses across California and Arizona.

Float says it works with big players in specialty medicine, such as Optum, CVS, Option Care, Alliance RX (Walgreen’s), Kroger, Kabafusion, Soleo Health, NuFactor, Care Fusion and CA Specialty Pharmacy.

Float says it has completed 19,000 visits and has a staffing rate of 97%.