Incredible Health vaults to unicorn status, scores $80M to grow its healthcare job matching service

Incredible Health is growing leaps and bounds at a time when other digital health companies are tightening their belts, pressured by revenue declines and slowing venture capital funding.

The startup, a tech-enabled career marketplace for healthcare jobs, grew its 2021 revenue by five-fold and has expanded its workforce to 180 employees, Iman Abuzeid M.D., CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health, said in an interview. Incredible Health now works with more than 600 hospitals to help fill their permanent staffing needs and that's up from 200 hospitals just three years ago.

More than 10,000 nurses join Incredible Health's marketplace every week, Abuzeid said.

The company, founded in 2017, was growing rapidly before the COVID-19 pandemic but the health crisis accelerated the demand for its services. Its offerings are more urgently needed than ever: the U.S. is on track to be one million nurses short by the end of 2023, and 75% of nursing student graduates cite staffing shortages as their main concern in entering the field, according to the company.

Incredible Health scored $80 million in fresh funding to help it scale and expand to more states.

The series B funding vaulted Incredible Health's valuation to $1.65 billion, boosting it to "unicorn" status. The company has raised $97 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Company executives say Incredible Health is now the highest valued tech-enabled career marketplace in healthcare.

Base10 Partners led the round and existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures also returned for investment. Incredible Health customer Kaiser Permanente also participated. The round was joined by new investors include Workday CEO Chano Fernandez, NBA Champion Andre Iguodala, Rethink Impact and Stardust Equity. The D'Amelio family, including top TikTok personalities Charli and Dixie D'Amelio who have over 150 million TikTok followers, also joined the round via their 444 Capital Fund. 

A former medical doctor, Abuzeid and her co-founder Rome Portlock, a software engineer who studied at MIT, have family and friends who work in healthcare and would frequently listen to their frustrations about the labor market and the hiring process. "Once we dug into it, we realized that the processes, the technology, the tools, nothing's changed in 20 years in healthcare. We figured there has to be a better way," she said.

Incredible Health built a digital nurse hiring platform that uses proprietary custom matching algorithms to match the best candidates to open roles at health systems and hospitals. The company focuses on permanent placements, not temporary positions, Abuzeid said.

Incredible Health's tech-enabled approach reduces the average time to hire to 14 days from the industry standard of 82 days. 

The company initially focused on nurses and plans to expand to other healthcare roles. Incredible Health flips the script as employers apply for the talent, not the other way around, Abuzeid said.

"As you can imagine, the nurses love that," she noted. "Our mission is to help healthcare professionals live better lives and help them do their best work."

The company's technology also automates the screening process for job candidates, including checking qualifications and preferences at scale using its algorithmic technology, she said.

"We also provide custom matching technology. If you are a nurse recruiter at Cedars Sinai or Kaiser Permanente, you don't want to see 200 nurses, you want to see the five, 10 or 12 that are the right fit for you at the time. And it's the same thing for the nurse. You do not want to hear from 500 employers. You want to hear from the five or six that are the right fit for you," she said.

Incredible Health's platform creates more efficiency in the hiring process that creates a win-win for employers and healthcare workers, Abuzeid said.

Health systems that use the platform save about $2 million in travel nurse costs, overtime costs and HR (human resources) costs, she noted, while nurse salaries get boosted by an average of 17%. 

The company touts that 60% of the top-ranked hospitals in the U.S., including Stanford Health Care, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, NYU Langone Health, Northwestern Medicine and 600 more hospitals use Incredible Health for their permanent staffing needs.

Incredible Health plans to use the fresh funding to further optimize the hiring workflow with machine learning technology, including screening and matching, to build a more personalized and automated experience for both healthcare workers and employers, according to the company.

"We also want to provide more tools and services that are free to nurses," Abuzeid said. "We already have free continuing education, free salary estimators and we have an advice platform for nurses. We want to continue investing in that area. It's important to us that we are the place where a nurse and future healthcare workers manage their careers and we're not just the place where they go to find a job."

Incredible Health plans to add capabilities and services to support skill growth, scheduling services, mobility and relocation support, cross-training and educational scholarships.

Incredible Health also wants to expand and scale to 90% of the U.S. nurse workforce. The company currently operates in 35 states.

"These past few years have brought many lessons learned, but one of the biggest is the importance of really listening to our nurses, and right now – nurses need more nurses," David Lubarsky M.D., CEO of UC Davis Health said in a press release. "We're glad to have streamlined our internal hiring operations to move past conventional time – with Incredible Health stepping in to do the heavy lifting. The company truly understands what our workforce needs and provides the right technology and support to see their mission through."

Abuzeid said Incredible Health has spent the past five years building out a "massive" hospital network that "no other venture-backed company has."

The company's screening and matching technology also differentiates it in the growing healthcare jobs hiring marketplace and it plans to invest more in R&D to build on those capabilities.

"With this funding, we'll be adding machine learning on top of that. Our technology is driving strong results for both nurses and for employers," she said.

The company also plans to focus on more healthcare roles and expand its network of employers beyond hospitals and health systems to include urgent care and surgical centers.

Base10 Partners led Incredible Health's funding round as part of its Advancement Initiative, a fund designed to align the success of tech companies with wealth creation for underrepresented minorities. The Advancement Initiative invests in leading pre-IPO companies, including Devoted Health, Notion, Figma and Plaid, and donates 50% of the fund's carried interest to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to create student scholarships and support university endowments.

Incredible Health and Base10 Partners intend to create a scholarship initiative for nurses.

There is a new crop of startups that aim to help hospitals fill staffing gaps. These hiring platforms have grown rapidly in the past few years and are attracting major funding from investors. Trusted Health pulled in $149 million in funding last fall. App-based marketplace Clipboard Health snagged $80 million in funding over two rounds, boosting its valuation to $1.3 billion.

Nurse staffing platform IntelyCare also hit "unicorn" status this year after a $115 million series C funding round.

In June, Nomad Health clinched $105 million in new financing to expand its online healthcare jobs marketplace to new clinical specialties as the staffing crisis reaches a new high. The startup is going beyond traveling nurses to include lab techs, physical therapists and ultrasound technicians.

The startup had just locked up $63 million in new equity and debt financing last fall.

In April, Vivian Health raised $60 million in funding. The startup helps employers fill various types of openings including permanent jobs, local contracts and travel positions in addition to open shifts.