Verily co-founder Tom Stanis left the Alphabet subsidiary in February to start a new healthcare startup focused on closing gaps in specialty care.
That new company, called Story Health, developed a platform to empower specialists to use virtual care and help patients after they leave the clinic. The startup recently nabbed $4 million in seed funding backed by General Catalyst and Define Ventures.
Stanis told Fierce Healthcare he was motivated to start the company based on his own father’s experience recovering from a stroke. “I wanted to expand the reach and care for people at home when a lot of follow-up was needed,” he said.
Critical opportunities to optimize care are often lost in the months between clinic visits, Stanis said.
“We empower specialists to use virtual care to close the gap between clinical evidence and patient reality. The potential of virtual care is massive, yet still largely untapped. We launched Story Health to create what we call adaptive virtualized care—a system that empowers specialists to achieve medical goals with patients beyond the clinic by adapting to real-world scenarios. We give virtual superpowers to specialists, he said.
Story Health is also developing a care plan suggestion engine that can pull in information from a patient’s health record and pharmacy data, and pair that with evidence-based guidance.
Story Health is headed by a unique blend of healthcare and tech experts: Stanis, also a former Google engineer; his former Verily partner Nikhil Roy who developed real-world medical devices; and Ashul Govil, M.D., a practicing, seasoned cardiologist.
Story Health is focused on optimizing medication and therapy for senior citizens—the segment of the US population most at-risk, yet often least comfortable with telemedicine. Story Health has designed a comprehensive and accessible digital experience that anyone can use, according to the company.
Story Health plans to create more partnerships with clinicians, grow its product offering, and expand the ways it maximizes specialty care.
Here's a snapshot of other health IT funding deals of $20 million or more in December:
- Alphabet subsidiary on the move: Verily closed out 2020 with a massive $700 million funding round that will be used to rapidly scale up its commercial work. The funding round was led by its parent company and Google holding firm Alphabet, as well as investors Silver Lake, Temasek, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, among other backers.
- AI for workforce automation: Olive, which offers "AI as a service,” scored a $225.5 million funding round led by Tiger Global and General Catalyst, Drive Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.
- Precision medicine: Tempus, a company that uses artificial intelligence to advance precision medicine, banked a $200 million financing round that includes a massive valuation of $8.1 billion dollars. Investors include Baillie Gifford, Franklin Templeton, Google, Novo Holdings and funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price.
- At-home testing: Everlywell banked a $175 million Series D round that includes investments from investors including BlackRock, The Chernin Group, Foresite Capital, Greenspring Associates, Lux Capital, Morningside Ventures and others. The company said it plans to use the new proceeds to build out its telehealth offerings, with an eye toward routine diagnostic tests used to help manage chronic disease and track care in clinical trials, FierceBiotech reported.
- Healthcare for low-income patients: Cityblock Health, a healthcare provider focused on marginalized populations with complex needs, raised $160 million. The investment values the company at more than $1 billion. New investor General Catalyst led the round, with participation from crossover investor Wellington Management and existing investors including Kinnevik AB, Maverick Ventures, Thrive Capital, Redpoint Ventures and others.
- Insurance startup: Oscar Health closed a $140 million funding round to support ongoing growth at the company. The round, led by Tiger Global Management, included participation from Dragoneer, Baillie Gifford, Coatue, Founders Fund, Khosla, Lakestar and Reinvent.
- Predictive analytics: Silicon Valley software company LeanTaaS nabbed a $130 million Series D funding round led by Insight Partners with participation from Goldman Sachs. The company uses lean business processes, predictive analytics and machine learning to optimize healthcare operations such as infusion centers and operating rooms.
- DNA testing technology: 23andMe raised just shy of $82.5 million in new funding, from an offering of $85 million in total equity shares, according to a new SEC filing. The funding comes from investors including Sequoia Capital and NewView Capital. It brings the total raised by 23andMe to date to over $850 million, Bloomberg reported.
- Digital therapeutics: Pear Therapeutics, developer of prescription apps to treat addiction and insomnia, landed $80 million through a venture capital round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, FierceBiotech reported.
- Digital meditation app: Calm scored a $75 million in Series C funding, driving up the company’s valuation to $2 billion. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round with participation from TPG, Insight Venture Partners, Marc Benioff and funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
- Diabetes management: Virta Health nabbed a $65 million Series D round from investors, including Sequoia Capital Global Equities. The new funding round values the company at about $1.1 billion. The company aims to help people reverse Type 2 diabetes by coaching users through better dietary choices.
- LinkedIn for healthcare: H1 developed a massive digital professional database and data analytics platform that connects healthcare professionals and life science companies. The startup landed a $58 million series B round of funding, co-led by growth-stage investment firm IVP and Menlo Ventures.
- Behavioral health solutions: Modern Health, a company that offers a mental health and wellness platform for employer customers, banked a $51 million series C funding round. Battery Ventures led the round with participation from Felicis Ventures and existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, 01 Advisors, Afore Capital and Okta’s Frederic Kerrest.
- Supporting primary care: Elation Health scored a $40 million series C financing round ramp up support for independent primary care practices. The round was led by Generation Investment Management ad included participation from existing investors Threshold Ventures and Kapor Capital.
- Digital smoking cessation solution: Click Therapeutics raised $30 million in debt financing from K2 HealthVentures to advance its pipeline of clinically-validated digital therapeutics.
- Text-based primary care: Curai Health closed a $27.5 million in series B funding led by Morningside Ventures. Previous investors General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures also participated in the round.
- Data interoperability: Diameter Health raised $18 million in a Series B funding round with major backing from insurer Centene as well as existing investors Optum Ventures, LRVHealth, Connecticut Innovations and Activate Venture Partners.