Hello Heart notches $70M to scale up cardiovascular health app among employers

Nearly 1 in 2 adults has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, making it the most prevalent chronic condition in America.

Cardiac diseases are also massive cost drivers in the U.S. healthcare system, and employers are ramping up their investment in digital tools to help tackle workers' heart health.

Hello Heart, a startup that helps people manage their heart health at home using their smartphone, is seeing a huge spike in demand among employers for digital cardiovascular solutions, Maayan Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Hello Heart, told Fierce Healthcare.

The startup banked a $70 million financing round to help fuel its growth. The series D round was led by Stripes growth equity. The company, founded in 2013, has raised around $120 million to date.

"We've basically doubled our client base just in the last couple of months and we're shooting to double it again in the next coming months," Cohen said, noting that the company works with 60 Fortune 500 clients. 

Hello Heart's solution is now available to millions of members, she said.

The company also is focused on growing its road map to expand from blood pressure to overall heart health, with plans to add cholesterol tracking and smart medication tracking as well as leveraging AI to customize the product with "smart insights" for users, Cohen said.

The focus on prioritizing heart health sharpens in light of the surgeon general’s Call to Action to improve hypertension control across the U.S. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) recommendation (PDF) that employers should now provide coverage for automated home blood pressure monitors.

Through a connected mobile app that uses artificial intelligence, behavioral science and personalized digital coaching to drive lifestyle changes, Hello Heart aims to help people embrace healthier behavior that can reduce blood pressure. 

The company’s flagship solution is a Food and Drug Administration-cleared blood pressure monitor coupled with an app. The digital therapeutic company's app helps patients manage their blood pressure, pulse, medications and physical activity using AI. Users can track their health information from a smartphone and then receive feedback and suggestions for health improvements via the phone. In addition, the company's AI technology provides real-time alerts to extremely high readings and encourages users to reach out to their physicians and healthcare professionals to catch risk in time.

Tools include a digital blood pressure cuff that connects to an app, which tracks readings, weight and physical activity and offers medication reminders. 


The idea behind the technology is that a user can get personalized healthcare suggestions without having to talk to a live person.

Hello Heart intends to increase the usage of AI, enhance the lifestyle digital coaching modules and add whole heart health functionality including deeper medication tracking capabilities, cholesterol tracking and hyperlipidemia management, executives said.

Research published in JAMA Network Open last year suggests the use of mobile technology could help improve blood pressure over a long-term period. The study, which was led by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, provides evidence suggesting use of mobile technology resulted in 84% of users with stage 2 hypertension reducing blood pressure at three years and also indicate increased engagement with technology was associated with lower risk of experiencing very high blood pressure. The reduction in systolic blood pressure is more than double than any other digital solutions with peer-reviewed, published data, according to the company.

The Validation Institute also recently published a report validating Hello Heart’s cost savings and return-on-investment methodology, demonstrating a reduction of total employer medical spend by an average of $1,865 per participant per year.

"Employers are the most motivated to actually prevent disease, reduce costs and get people to self-track and self-improve. Employers are the best allies for us, Cohen said.

Hello Heart’s solution offers employers a means to move the needle on Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives, Cohen said, as the app is accessible to many underserved populations. Per the CDC, many underserved populations have higher rates of disease and death associated with high blood pressure, creating health disparities. 

"This solution is purely mobile so it's accessible to all levels of the population. About 10% of the population doesn't have access to the internet any other way besides their phone. So, the fact that the entire solution is based on your phone and it doesn't require you to go anywhere or to have a computer allows us to reach populations that live in what's called 'health deserts' that don't have good care systems around them," Cohen said.

“Hypertension affects 47% of Americans, and heart health in some way touches all of us. Everyone has a family member or colleague that is affected by heart disease. We empower people to understand, control, and improve their heart health using the app technology and behavioral science,” Cohen said.

The company also designed different clinical pathways for men and women as heart disease symptoms in women can differ from those in men. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort and shortness of breath, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“We are thrilled to be working with many of the nation’s leading employers to help them close gaps in cardiac care and tackle the number one cause of death, providing them with effective solutions to manage blood pressure and effectively address heart health factors in a scalable way," she added.

Ron Shah, partner at Stripes, said the startup stands out as the only "dedicated, fully digital program" to focus on heart health.

"Our investment extends our longstanding thesis that amazing products can deliver amazing results, even with some of our most intractable and challenging problems. We're confident that Hello Heart is on a path toward improving the health and lives of millions of Americans, and we're proud to back this amazing mission-driven, product-oriented team," Shah said.