Originally published by Fierce Healthcare on February 24, 2022
Telehealth provider Antidote Health raised $22 million in a series A funding round to power its artificial-intelligence-enabled app championing low-cost care.
Launched in January 2021, the company offers 24/7 telehealth services across the U.S. focused on quality and affordability, with individual membership plans starting at $35 a month and family plans also available.
Antidote’s app also leverages AI for aspects of care like clinical decision support as well as patient scheduling, which helps providers engage meaningfully with patients and keeps costs down, according to the company.
But succeeding as a telehealth company isn’t Antidote Health’s ultimate goal. Co-founder and CEO Avihai Sodri told Fierce Healthcare that the company is planning on expanding its services and provider network to become a health maintenance organization.
“We want to be the first digital HMO for the U.S. population, which means we provide the service and the insurance coverage under one entity, and we do so in order to align the interests between the caregivers, the patients and the insurance company,” Sodri told Fierce Healthcare.
With a background in the health insurance industries in Israel and Europe, Sodri has plenty of experience working with and for payers who he says often struggle to manage their patients’ needs due to the detached nature of the patient-payer relationship.
“They usually manage care from a retrospective point of view, so they don’t have the day-to-day activity with the patients in order to notice something is wrong,” he said. “We can see now that the people using our services, even if they have insurance, we know better than the insurance companies about their needs.”
The startup’s current offerings include primary care, pediatrics, prescription management and hypertension treatment, as well as mental health services added earlier this month.
Third-time investor iAngels, plus Group 11 and Flint Capital, led the series A round. Currently operating in 15 states, Antidote plans to use the funding to expand its services into new markets.
The company last raised $12 million in seed funding in August.
“We’re thrilled to invest in Antidote Health, as it caters to a fundamental problem in the $4 trillion healthcare market that can only be solved through the development and implementation of cutting-edge technology,” said Shelly Hod Moyal, founding partner at iAngels, in a statement. “Antidote Health’s team of medical and tech experts is building an innovative platform designed to serve the 80 million underinsured Americans with quality healthcare at a significantly lower cost. Leveraging a scalable AI platform powered by 20 years of clinical data, the team is experiencing exceptional growth and lucrative unit economics as it breaks into this untapped opportunity.”
Antidote still has plenty of work to do before becoming an HMO—the company isn’t licensed to provide insurance and can’t take risk so all its plans have to be profitable, Sodri said.
Plus, the structure of an HMO means Antidote needs to be able to offer its patients a wide range of services and a large network of providers.
The startup currently has about 70 doctors in its network, some employed full-time by the company and some under part-time contracts. The company is also expanding its internal team, with plans to boost its employee numbers from 78 to 100 by the end of the year.
When it comes to expanding its service offerings, Antidote is particularly ambitious. The company plans to roll out a series of additional clinics this year for men’s health, women’s health, care for prostate cancer survivors, cardiology and skin care, Sodri said.
The team will launch some fintech products this year too, including a care navigator product, a joint venture with a national insurance company, and a “buy now, pay later” solution to help patients break down costs when facing high deductibles.
The company treats about 2,500 patients a month, and that figure has been growing about 30% each month, according to Sodri.
“We’re trying to change the market today, and we’re trying to provide healthcare to those who need it regardless of their background,” he said.