Originally published by Pear Suite on May 16, 2023
HONOLULU — May 16, 2023 — Pear Suite, a digital health company working to empower community health workers (CHWs) and better address the social determinants of health (SDOH), today announced its recently closed funding round. The $2.5 million in seed funding will enable CHWs to better act on SDOH data as well as expand the company’s efforts within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The investment round was led by Mucker Capital, Impact Engine, American Heart Association, Sweater Ventures, and Atento Capital, with support from Techstars, Open Venture Capital, Incisive Ventures, Lair East Labs, StartUp Health, and Third Act Ventures.
Launched in 2021 by co-founders Colby Takeda and Nick Lockett, Pear Suite’s flexible and customizable social care navigation platform enables anyone – CHWs, care coordination staff, volunteers, and others – to better assess and address SDOH in a cost-effective, person-centered, and culturally and linguistically sensitive way. Through AI-powered smart scripts and care journeys, omni-channel communication tools, predictive analytics, and actionable dashboards to guide resource linking, Pear Suite is converting SDOH data into real-time solutions for CHWs to drive impactful interventions for those in need, particularly those within the AAPI community. To date, the company has helped over 24 organizations boost member engagement, improve health outcomes, and reduce the overall cost of care, impacting more than 25,000 individuals.
The seed funding is being used to fuel platform development efforts and better empower CHWs to collect SDOH data and provide culturally sensitive care navigation. Additionally, funding will be allocated to drive new partnerships with more organizations serving the AAPI community, as well as other underserved populations, and expand Pear Suite’s geographical reach within the United States, particularly in rural areas where SDOH are heightened. The company is on pace to impact an additional 300,000 lives through partnerships with health plans, providers, and community-based organizations, and also support the training of more than 50 CHWs in the next year.
“Social care is a consistently underfunded area of healthcare that is now getting the attention that it deserves,” said Will Hsu, co-founder and partner at Mucker Capital. “The Pear Suite team continues to develop alongside its health and community partners to build the simplest, yet most effective digital solution for community health workers.”
“Pear Suite utilizes technology to empower organizations with tools to transform social determinants of health data into actionable solutions to better address community health and well-being in a person-centered way,” said Ashlye Stewart, national vice president & managing director of the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Fund. “The AHA Social Impact Fund has invested in Pear Suite as an organization that can help advance the American Heart Association’s goal of creating a community focused solution that can be scaled across the nation, with the potential to drive long-term positive health outcomes.”
The funding announcement comes at a time of increased investment into community-based health initiatives, including a $227 million investment by the Biden administration to train and deploy more CHWs. These workers bring their lived experience and are integrated into the communities they are serving, allowing them to provide trusted health and social services with a level of care that is difficult to match in traditional healthcare settings. With more than 80% of health outcomes determined by non-clinical factors (including housing, food availability, and transportation), CHWs are in a prime position to help their neighbors understand the health and social service options available to them, take action, and maintain healthier lifestyles.
“So much of healthcare innovation today is focused on developing new medications, mobile wellness applications, and smart devices that aren’t equitable for all patients,” said Colby Takeda, co-founder and CEO at Pear Suite. “After seeing community health workers in action, we knew the solution was right in front of us, and with a little technology upgrade, we could enable and enhance a skilled workforce that was best positioned to impact health-related social needs, at scale.”