Health tech startup H1 lands $58M series B to build out 'LinkedIn for healthcare'

screen shot of provider database showing doctor's name and affiliation and research
H1 developed a massive digital professional database and data analytics platform that connects healthcare professionals and life science companies. (H1)

In the middle of a global pandemic, it's critical for healthcare leaders to be able to connect with other physicians and researchers who are experts in infectious diseases or other areas of medicine impacted by the virus.

It turns out startup H1 has the technology to make those connections happen. The startup developed a massive digital professional database and data analytics platform that connects healthcare professionals and life science companies. It basically serves as a LinkedIn for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

The New York City-based health technology company has experienced explosive growth in 2020 and just raised a $58 million series round of funding, co-led by growth-stage investment firm IVP and Menlo Ventures.

Transformation Capital, Lux Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Novartis dRx and YC also participated in the round.

Menlo Ventures, a 44-year old venture capital firm, also led the series A round in April 2020. The startup graduated from Y Combinator's accelerator program back in January and has closed $71 million in funding in 2020.

H1's platform provides comprehensive, in-depth profiles of more than 9 million healthcare professionals and 16,000 institutions in 70-plus countries, all of which are kept up to date weekly. It's the largest such data platform in the industry, according to the company.

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The platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify the thought-leading doctors in a given disease area, according to the company.

H1 counts 13 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies as its clients, which rely on the company's large and growing platform of healthcare professionals for clinical and medical activities.

"We have created a platform for the healthcare ecosystem to connect in the same way Linkedin connected professional workers in the early 2000's. There hasn't been a global platform like H1 before that has connected industry to the right doctors the way H1 does," said H1 co-founder and CEO Ariel Katz.

H1 will use the capital to fuel expansion into additional market segments.

The company rapidly increased its headcount from 100 employees to nearly 250. It anticipates expanding its headcount significantly over the next year, including further expansion into Europe and Asia.

"H1 is digitally transforming the life sciences industry in truly an unprecedented way. The company's growth has been incredible with strong early momentum, catalyzed by unique international coverage and a differentiated data asset," said Somesh Dash, general partner at IVP, who is joining the H1 board of directors.

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Katz and Ian Sax founded H1 in 2017 based on the idea of developing a platform to connect healthcare professionals to help pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies develop drugs and devices.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, there could be major changes in how healthcare professionals connect, and that could drive demand for digital platforms like H1 for collaboration, Katz said.

The company wants to build the platform as the "source of truth" for comprehensive information about doctors.

H1 is slowly becoming the standard that companies think about when they want to find the right key opinion-leading doctors to collaborate with for clinical trial activity, medical activity and educational activity, Katz said.

There's also an interesting trend in healthcare that serves as a significant tailwind for a company like H1 that has built a digital professional database.

While there is an increased emphasis on data privacy globally, with governments passing privacy regulations particularly aimed at reining in big tech companies, the opposite is happening in healthcare. The healthcare industry is pushing for more data transparency.

"There is a public expectation and also among our customers that this data should be more readily available," he said. "We are breaking down silos, and we’re riding that wave."