Originally published by Forbes on April 20, 2022
America’s healthcare system is under severe strain because of the COVID-19 pandemic and underinvestment over the past couple of decades, leading to declining life expectancy and patient outcomes. Intus Care, a data-driven healthcare startup founded by Robbie Felton, Evan Jackson and Alex Rothberg, has raised an additional $3.1M to double-down on its big-data approach to enable patient care at long-term medical facilities. The latter two cofounders share their approach to raising the startup’s latest financing round, and how they will deploy the acquired funds to realize the company’s long-term strategy in the healthcare industry.
Frederick Daso: How did your latest financing round differ from your seed round?
Alex Rothberg, Evan Jackson and Robbie Felton: Following our previous round of funding, our priorities were to validate product-market fit and to demonstrate meaningful usage of our platform. We wanted to prove that Intus Care is a crucial tool for PACE Programs to manage and improve their quality of care. In addition, we needed to create and systematize processes to market and deploy our solution to an array of customers. We were fortunate to prove out each of these points of interest alongside amazing PACE Programs across the country, ranging from small rural to large urban care organizations.
Looking forward now to our current fundraise, our priority is to scale our impact on patient well-being, provider data empowerment, and quality improvement. We want to optimize our platform to ensure that patients’ goals of care are being met and that we are helping move the needle on their quality of life. For their care teams, we want them to feel empowered by technology so that they can meaningfully use data to proactively identify at-risk patients who might have been overlooked. Overall, we want to create a new standard for quality management across geriatric care settings that starts with using data to manage care for high-needs, Medicare and Medicaid dual-eligible populations. In parallel to this effort, we want to expand our go-to-market, enabling us to benefit as many low-income and elderly patients as possible. We want every provider group and health plan taking care of high-needs older adults to have access to our solution. This funding provides us with resources to accelerate that expansion.
Daso: How did you balance the short-term goals you want to accomplish with these funds from this latest round against the long-term plans for Intus Care?
Rothberg, Jackson and Felton: We are constantly in a delecate balance of innovating for the future, while implementing solutions for our customers today. Long term, we aim to serve all dual-eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) patients in the United States. With that goal in mind, we can then think backwards regarding the necessary funding, hiring, and product strategies that will put us in the best position to do this.
Currently, we have focused on partnering with PACE Programs which help vulnerable senior populations live independently in their communities by getting quality care at home or in out-patient centers. This round of funding in the short term will help us to expand our efforts to empower PACE Programs with data. We’ve seen strong growth in this market, and our technology is becoming an integral part of the PACE Quality Playbook. We’re thrilled to see geriatric patients recieving high-quality care, while also helping these organizations significantly reduce the costs associated with avoidable hospital admissions. For example, a 60-patient Michigan-based PACE Center implemented the Intus Care platform in 2021 and saved ~$147,000 in three months by reducing its inpatient admission rate by 54%. Looking forward, we are excited to bring the benefits of our technology to additional organizations across the country. Similar to what we’ve seen with partnered PACE Programs, the use of our platform will empower clinicians and care management teams across the spectrum to leverage patient data into actionable insights.
Daso: What did you define as the right amount of capital given Intus Care’s current stage as a company?
Rothberg, Jackson and Felton: The right amount of capital is the amount needed to provide high-value offerings to our existing customers, while also giving us the capacity to reach new customers. With this, recruiting and retaining a mission-driven and talented team is especially important. While strong talent is accessible in our network, we know that there are many opportunities in the tech market. We are a start-up company competing against some of the big name tech-giants. The team members we attract are not only talented, but are passionate about social impact and/or elder care. The blend of talent and passion allows Intus Care to build a team that is fully committed to our mission.
Daso: How did you measure a potential investor’s value-add based on the short-term and long-term goals that Intus Care defined for itself?
Rothberg, Jackson and Felton: In the short term, we review the immediate impact that investors can deliver through value-adds like strategic partnerships, industry introductions, and general guidance.
When thinking about the bigger picture, we assess who is best aligned with our vision for technology in healthcare and who can push back on our assumptions. This allows us to retool our strategic plans as needed to effectively scale the impact that we seek to create. We’re not just looking for investors who bring healthcare knowledge, but those across disciplines who will push us to stay nimble and innovative. Our drive to develop new ways to improve senior health outcomes stems from having a diverse brain trust in our corner.
Daso: How should startups think about fundraising beyond the conventional wisdom that’s already out there at a high level?
Rothberg, Jackson and Felton: Startups should think very critically about what strategic capital means for them. Partnering with the right investors can significantly kickstart growth, and we encourage startups to consider carefully what their best-fit investor looks like. Ideally, fundraising is a two-way process and a great way for startups to assess whether an investor can enhance their business even outside of the capital. If startup leaders can identify the keys to their success early, they can begin recognizing investors who will help fulfill their ongoing needs. Whether that’s opening doors to partnership opportunities, helping create sustained talent pipelines, providing experienced counsel on corporate decision making, etc., the right investors can become great assets. We are very fortunate to close on this round full of investors who bring significant strategic value to Intus Care
Daso: What are the main takeaways from your latest fundraising round that you want others to know?
Rothberg, Jackson and Felton: By being thoughtful and patient in our decision-making, we were able to structure a round full of investors who each create strategic partnership value for our business. With each investor providing a unique value add for our growth, this raise puts us in a great position to scale our business to reach organizations throughout the country. Coming out of this raise, our team is excited to continue working toward our mission of empowering long-term care providers through data to deliver more effective care to older adults.