K Health secures major funding, launches new virtual pediatric service

Investors are already pouring millions into digital primary care startups in 2021.

On the same day that Aledade announced a $100 million funding round, K Health, which provides patients remote access to health care services through their smartphones, also secured a big cash infusion.

The New York-based startup banked a $132 million Series E round of funding led by GGV Capital and Valor Equity Partners with participation from Kaiser Permanente pension fund and LTS Investments, the investment offices of Lemann, Telles, and Sicupira, behind 3G Capital. Additional investors include 14W, Max Ventures, Pico Partners, Marcy Venture Partners, Primary Venture Partners and BoxGroup.

The new funding round values the company at $1.5 billion, according to TechCrunch. K Health has raised $271 million to date.

Launched in 2018, K Health developed a chat function that uses artificial intelligence to suggest potential diagnoses for consumers who enter symptoms and also takes into account the user's medical history, age, and gender.

K Health's app is available in all 50 states, and K Primary Care, the option to chat with a doctor, is available in 49 states, covering 300 million people.

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On the heels of its funding round, the company also launched K for Parents, a virtual pediatrics offering. The artificial intelligence-powered telehealth service offers parents access to a pediatrician to remotely diagnose and treat children ages 3 to 17. The service includes a free symptom checker that shares how doctors treated children with similar conditions

K for Parents also offers children access to pediatric care for free with an adult membership ($9 per month, unlimited care). One-time visits are only $19, according to K Health.

Pediatricians David Shafran M.D. from the Cleveland Clinic and Chelsea Johnson, M.D. from Children’s Mercy Hospital will lead the virtual pediatric program, the company said.

Cost and access are the most significant barriers to parents getting care for their children. In a survey of 2,200 parents in the U.S. conducted by K Health, 83% of parents said they worry for days or weeks before reaching out to a doctor, and nearly 20% of parents use social media or a search engine for medical advice. K for Parents launches at a time when parents are under unprecedented levels of stress, struggling with work, the cost of insurance, and remote school during the pandemic, the company said.

“K Health is changing the equation of access to high-quality medicine,” said Allon Bloch, CEO & co-founder of K Health in a statement. “Our system opens access to the best doctors at a fraction of the cost and without the wait. This new funding and expansion to care for the whole family gives more people the break they need today.”

Valor Equity Partners’ founder and CEO Antonio Gracias said K Health is translating decades of rich data and doctor experience to "meet families where they are."

“We believe that K Health will be game-changing for families while also improving the broader health care system to enable faster, more efficient and more seamless resolution of primary care concerns," Gracias said.

RELATED: K Health scores new funding from SpaceX, Tesla investor and a new partnership with Mayo Clinic

K Health also announced a collaboration with Mayo Clinic through the Mayo Clinic Platform in November 2020. The joint work focuses on improving and accelerating the deployment of virtual care models to improve health outcomes. The company also has a partnership with Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel's second-largest HMO with 2.4 million members, as well as Anthem, to offer K Health to its 43 million members.

Gracias, who sits on the boards of SpaceX and Tesla, will join K Health's board along with GGV Capital’s managing partner Hans Tung, who is also an investor in Peloton, Wish and Affirm. Vivek Pattipati, partner at Valor, will join as an observer.

“The world needs a new archetype for health care, and K Health’s data, world-class doctors, and team are resolute enough to deliver this,” said Tung. "GGV backs companies with potential to serve the greatest number of people, and by solving the healthcare inequities of access and affordability, K Health is one of the most impactful consumer health companies constructing the future of care for us all.”