Fierce Healthcare Fundraising Tracker—Ezra picks up $21M backed by Former One Medical CEO's VC

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 from Jan. 26 through Feb. 9.

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

Ambience Healthcare clinches $70M from OpenAI, Optum Ventures

With the number of healthcare workers experiencing burnout at an all-time high, Ambience Healthcare is betting on artificial intelligence as a potential solution.

The San Francisco-based startup is developing a suite of tools to put generative AI front and center in clinicians’ workloads, and its plans to scale up the reach of its technology have just gotten a major boost in the form of a $70 million funding round.

The series B was co-led by Kleiner Perkins and OpenAI Startup Fund, with additional support from Andreessen Horowitz and Optum Ventures, Ambience announced this week. All four were existing backers of the company, the lifetime funding of which now totals $100 million. Read the full story here.

PBM startup SmithRx picks up $60M

SmithRx, a digital-first pharmacy benefits management company, closed a $60M series C financing round—building on the company’s $20 million series B round raised in 2022.

Healthcare venture capital firm Venrock led the round.

Combining advanced technology, a member-centric approach and innovative cost savings programs, SmithRx aims to make prescriptions more affordable and deliver valuable simplicity, transparency and savings to main street businesses. 

The company launched services such as Autoimmune Savings and Low-Cost Insulin and partners with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company and Amazon Pharmacy, among others.

Accompany Health launches for low-income patients with $56M funding

A new hybrid provider focused on low-income patients with complex needs has launched in Detroit.

Accompany Health, a primary, behavioral and social care provider, launches with $56 million in series A funding from investors including Venrock, Arch Venture Partners, IVP, Granite Capital Management and Evidenced. The company is currently serving 8,000 patients in Detroit in partnership with a major national payer. The partner was not disclosed. 

The startup is built to provide care to traditionally underserved populations on a large scale. It offers at-home visits, virtual care and 24/7 support with a team of community health workers, advanced practitioners, physicians, psychiatrists, social workers and pharmacists. See the full story here.

Cohere Health snags $50M for intelligent prior auth platform

Cohere Health closed $50 million in additional equity funding.

The funding was led by Deerfield Management with participation from Define Ventures, Flare Capital Partners, Longitude Capital and Polaris Partners and brings the total raised by Cohere to $106 million. The latest round of funding will fuel the company’s expansion to meet the increasing demand for Cohere’s intelligent prior authorization platform.

The company developed technology to streamline and automate prior authorizations.

Cohere has grown from less than 10 individuals in January 2020 to more than 700 employees today, according to CEO and co-founder Siva Namasivayam.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services interoperability and prior authorization rule, finalized this January, will require health plan investment in advanced technology to ensure compliance with federal prior authorization requirements. Cohere’s solutions assist health plans to meet and exceed these regulations.

Digital twin developer Unlearn sees double with 2nd $50M round

Unlearn seems to have retained a lesson or two about fundraising: The digital twin developer announced this week that it has raised another $50 million, echoing its last funding round two years ago.

The series C was led by Altimeter Capital, with additional support from many of the backers that had previously joined in on Unlearn’s early 2022 series B round, including that round’s leader, Insight Partners, as well as 8VC, DCVC and DCVC Bio, among others.

The new funding brings Unlearn’s lifetime fundraising total to more than $130 million. It will be invested across the company, helping build out its staff, computing power and long-term R&D projects, the latter of which includes “[expanding] our capabilities into more therapeutic areas to build awareness and prove the value,” CEO Charles Fisher, Ph.D., said in Thursday’s announcement. See the full story here.

Avation Medical inks $22M for wearable to treat urinary incontinence

Digital health company Avation Medical banked $22 million in equity financing in its oversubscribed series C round to scale up its wearable peripheral neuromodulation technology.

The round was backed by new investors ShangBay Capital and Asahi Kasei, which included Angelini Ventures, JobsOhio Growth Capital Fund, and others. Additional investments were also provided by multiple existing investors including Arboretum Ventures, Tonkawa, Medtronic and Avestria Ventures.

The funding in the round, which remains open, will be used for the U.S. launch of the company’s Vivally System.

The Vivally System is the only noninvasive, FDA-cleared, wearable neuromodulation system for home use that delivers closed-loop, autonomously adjusted electrical stimulation to treat patients with urge urinary incontinence and urinary urgency caused by overactive bladder syndrome, which affects more than 46 million people in the U.S.

Vivally is prescribed by a clinician following a brief clinical evaluation which includes personalized calibration. Personalization establishes an EMG target and range of neuromodulation energy associated with the detection of an EMG signal to indicate nerve activation. Vivally delivers clinically effective therapy in just 30 minutes as little as once per week. 

Avation Medical is launching the Vivally System, which is available with a prescription, in key markets in early spring 2024.

Ezra banks $21M to support AI-enhanced MRI screenings

Startup Ezra pulled in $21 million in new funding to scale up its technology that applies artificial intelligence to MRI scanning and early cancer detection. Ezra leverages FDA-cleared AI technology to reduce the time it takes to complete an MRI scan.

The funding was co-led by FirstMark Capital and Healthier Capital, the newly launched health-focused VC firm from Amir Dan Rubin, former CEO of Amazon One Medical.

Other investors who participated in the round include Allianz Life Ventures (the venture capital arm of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America), the Schwarzman family, former chairman of England’s National Health Service David Prior, Gaingels, Republic and Mana Ventures. Existing investors Credo Ventures, Seedcamp, LDV Capital, Accomplice, Founders Future, Vlad Tenev, Anne Wojcicki and Esther Dyson also participated.

Amir Dan Rubin will also join Ezra’s board of directors.

The investment brings Ezra’s total funding to $41 million and will be used to accelerate the company’s expansion to 20 cities and 50 locations across North America in 2024 as well as to advance the use of its AI technology by leading imaging centers and clinicians.  

By deploying its AI at leading imaging centers, Ezra offers consumers the ability to access full-body MRI scanning at much more affordable pricing and supports imaging centers in increasing throughput, efficiency and affordability.

In 2023, with the FDA clearance of Ezra Flash, full-body MRI provider Ezra became the first company globally to leverage AI across all three key components of the cancer screening process: imaging, analysis and reporting. The AI has decreased scan time by 50%, radiology read time by 20% and report generation time by 80%, according to the company.

The company will be using the new capital to expand across all major metro areas in the U.S. and to continue building AIs to make full-body MRI scans more affordable. The company is on track to introduce the world’s first 15-minute full body MRI, priced at around $500, within two to three years. Ezra currently operates at 18 locations across New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas.

ArteraAI secures $20M for personalized prostate cancer treatment

ArteraAI developed multimodal artificial intelligence-based predictive and prognostic cancer tests. The company nabbed an additional $20 million in capital fueled by several prominent large investment funds including Prosperity7 Ventures, Singapore-based global investor EDBI, Walden Catalyst Ventures, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Trium Ventures, along with investors Navin Chaddha, Rajiv Khemani (AISpace VC) and Andrew & Elliott Tan (A&E Investment LLC).

This funding announcement follows closely on the heels of ArteraAI's recent achievement of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services decision on the payment rate for the ArteraAI Prostate Test. The decision helps to ensure broader accessibility to AI-enabled personalized care, benefiting a larger population.

The funding will support the international expansion and commercial growth of the company and its first-of-its-kind test.

Less than a year ago, ArteraAI emerged from stealth mode with an initial funding of $90 million. Since then, the company obtained a Medicare payment rate, grew distribution and established a solid foundation for international expansion through strategic global partnerships to continue its research.

Mental health startup launches with former Amazon exec on board

Headlight, formerly Sokya Health, launched with $18 million in new venture funding with a focus on simplifying patients' mental health journey.

A tech-forward mental health practice, Headlight enables to receive care via telehealth or in-person. The company says it is currently in-network and has dedicated credentialing with most payers in the states that they serve, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The funding round was led by Matrix and Epic Ventures. The founder of PillPack and former Amazon Pharmacy executive TJ Parker joined Matrix last year as a general partner.

Funding will help the company expand into additional states and add hundreds of new licensed therapists to the team by 2025.

The company added new executive leadership including Chief Executive Officer Geoff Swindle, former chief business officer of PillPack and Amazon Pharmacy. 

Founded by Manish Sheth and Shashita Inamdar, both M.D.-Ph.D.s, Headlight's philosophy is to prioritize and optimize the clinicians' experience, not just the patient experience. The current venture funding will allow the company to prioritize efficiency through technology and simplify workflows, the company said. 

Headlight also says it leverages its team members' deep pharmacy experience to launch secure onboarding flows that streamline and simplify the process. By importing and aggregating the patient's readily available medical and prescription history data, Headlight will provide more holistic care of the patient and make clinical progress faster. Similar data-driven approaches will support the therapeutic alliance by better matching a patient's requirements with the clinician that best meets their needs.

AI-powered neurotech developer Elemind emerges from stealth

A startup emerged from stealth this week with grand plans to pioneer a new form of neurotech dubbed “electric medicine.”

Elemind’s approach centers on artificial-intelligence-powered algorithms that are trained to continuously analyze neurological activity collected by a noninvasive wearable device, then to deliver through the wearable bursts of neurostimulation that are uniquely tailored to those real-time brain wave readings.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company claims that its approach—which is based on research from its founders, a group of high-profile scientists hailing from the likes of MIT, Stanford and Harvard—offers a more “natural” treatment option than pharmaceuticals for neurological conditions like insomnia, essential tremor and memory loss.

The company has yet to unveil its physical hardware but noted that its first application will be as a “general wellness device,” allowing it to avoid undergoing FDA review before launching.

Currently, Cohere serves five health plans, processing 5.5 million intelligent prior authorizations annually for more than 15 million health plan members and 420,000 healthcare providers nationally.

The company emerged from stealth this week with $12 million in seed funding already in its pocket. Read the full story here.

Tech-enabled lifestyle monitoring startup raises $10.3M

Lilli, a U.K.-based SaaS lifestyle monitoring tech company, picked up $10.3 million in series A financing, a 37% increase in its initial target. This comes off the back of its pre-series A in March 2021 where it was oversubscribed by 46%. Both rounds were led by West Hill Capital and will support the company’s growth trajectory and mission to help people to live safely and independently in their homes for longer.
Lilli says it uses smart, nonintrusive technology and proprietary AI and machine learning to observe patterns and trends among users to equip care workers with clear and accurate insights into well-being and what is happening in the home. This supports accurate decision-making and means behavioral changes can be easily identified before conditions become acute, improving health outcomes and reducing hospital visits, according to the company.

The new funding will fuel significant commercial scale-up of the lifestyle monitoring technology company and further development of AI capabilities as it continues to build momentum, the company said.

The funds will also enable the company to explore deeper avenues into AI insights and reporting and support Lilli to launch a friends and family version of the app. This app will  provide next of kin or informal carers with access to real-time information and reassurance about their loved one’s well-being—for instance, if they are eating regularly, keeping their home warm and bathing.

Telenutrition company cashes in $10M

Foodsmart, a telenutrition company, has onboarded three new health system partners and announced additional funding to roll out its food prescription program known as Foodscripts.

Foodsmart aims to simplify the process for doctors to refer patients with chronic conditions to dietitians and access quality food via Foodscripts. Like a pharmacy prescription, patients get a Foodscript, or referral to Foodsmart dietitians, who offer subsidized meals tailored to a given condition.

Advocate Health, Memorial Hermann Health System and Intermountain Health, representing 7.4 million patients, will now be able to refer patients to Foodsmart, the company said.

All three health systems, plus the American College of Cardiology and Glen Tullman’s 62 Ventures, have backed the company with $10 million as part of the latest announcement. Tullman is the CEO of Transcarent and the former CEO of e-prescribing company Allscripts. See the full story here.

Startup perks up with $6M funding for digital sleep solution

Stellar Sleep, which provides a digital solution for chronic insomnia management, picked up a $6 million seed round led by Initialized Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Lombardstreet Ventures, Switch Ventures, Moonfire, Scrum Ventures, Capital F, 8vdX and Goodwater Capital. 

More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia—meaning sleep problems 3-plus nights a week for 3-plus months. The condition can lead to both mental and physical health issues, ranging from trouble concentrating to heart attacks.

Stellar Sleep is a mobile app that helps users break the insomnia cycle using a proven, psychology-based methodology, and a clinical assessment of 500 users found it to be 50% more effective than sleeping pills.

Eye care company Lumata Health banks $5.5M

Lumata Health partners with ophthalmology practices to enhance patient adherence to treatment plans between visits with their providers.

The startup nabbed an additional $5.5 million in venture funding led by Cortado Ventures. Other participants include Boyd Street Ventures, family offices and additional private investors including dozens of leading ophthalmologists.

The company developed an intelligent eye care management platform to reduce preventable blindness. The new series A+ investment fuels expansion of Lumata Health’s continuous care program into additional ophthalmology clinics to close the care adherence gap for millions of Americans at risk for blindness, the company said.

The new funding will expedite the onboarding of hundreds of thousands of newly contracted patients into Lumata Health’s continuous care program and support the launch of soon-to-be-announced strategic partnerships with key industry stakeholders, executives said.

Founded in 2017 by an ophthalmologist and retina specialist, Lumata Health partners with physicians, payers and health systems to offer turnkey care management services provided by eye care experts who are supported by cutting-edge technology and data science.

Lumata Health has raised more than $14.8 million in grant and venture funding to date. 

As the company continues to build out its platform, future capabilities include potentially supporting pharma partners’ digital therapeutics for eye care.