Three MATTER startups acquired in Q1 2022
Highlighting startup acquisitions in the MATTER community
According to Emergen Research, the patient engagement industry is valued at $13.49 billion. In the first quarter of 2022, three patient engagement startups in the MATTER community were acquired: Pack Health was acquired by Quest Diagnostics; Healthy Interactions was acquired by VillageMD; and TapCloud was acquired by WellSky.
Read on to learn more about each acquisition and how MATTER helped them along their journeys.
Pack Health, a patient engagement company, was acquired by Quest Diagnostics, a leading provider of diagnostic information services, on January 18, 2022.
What was the inspiration to start Pack Health?
Mazi Rasulnia, PhD, founder and CEO of Pack Health: “When I started Pack Health in 2013, there were 133 million Americans living with a chronic condition, with that number only continuing to rise. The research (then and now) reinforced the importance of behavior management on improving the symptoms of many of these conditions. I mean things like regular exercise, healthy eating and understanding all of the factors that prevent individuals with chronic conditions from being able to maintain those behaviors.
“Patients needed help; they needed someone with them every step of the way. We weren’t going to be able to find that in the healthcare system as it then existed. One way to get patients the help they needed to take back control of their health was to create something that would help them do it. So we created our engagement platform to empower patients to take back control of their health with one-on-one support.”
What challenges did Pack Health face on the journey to acquisition?
Mazi: “It was really important for Pack Health to find the right fit when it came to an acquisition. Quest and Pack Health share a common goal, providing care for people with chronic diseases, so the fit made sense right from the start. Additionally, Quest is highly regarded as an employer, so that was really important for us as we join teams.”
How did MATTER help along the way?
Mazi: “As part of the Cigna Innovation Challenge, MATTER helped Pack Health with some excellent feedback in our work with health plans. It has helped us put our best foot forward in the way we communicate the opportunities Pack Health and Quest can bring to our health plan clients.”
What does this acquisition mean for Pack Health?
Mazi: “There are a lot of different ecosystems in healthcare, and it allows for Pack Health to scale pretty quickly across all of those ecosystems. The aim that the Quest team has is to help us grow and continue to make positive changes and innovations in healthcare. The idea of this deal is all about growth and new capabilities for a better future for our patients.”
Healthy Interactions, a patient education platform, was acquired by VillageMD, a national provider of value-based primary care services, on February 15, 2022.
What was the inspiration to start Healthy Interactions?
Paul Lasiuk, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Interactions: “During my time at Eli Lilly, I was exposed to the ravages of diabetes in both developed and developing countries. I learned it was a pivotal condition that can cause all sorts of comorbidities and significantly increase healthcare costs.
“In the early 2000s, my co-founders, Peter Gorman and Andrew Leong-Fern, and I recognized the abundance of educational content for people living with diabetes and the need for an improved way for them to learn how to manage their chronic condition, identify behavior changes and improve their overall health.
“We developed a digital platform to engage people with diabetes in educational activities, track their goals and meet with peers and educators. Healthy Interactions’ programs now support over 20 chronic conditions ranging from Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis to post-traumatic stress disorder.”
What challenges did you face on the journey to acquisition?
Paul: “We were always self-funded, which enabled us to make our own decisions but also resulted in a perpetually thin balance sheet, limiting our capacity to grow. Also, during the first five years of Healthy Interactions, I only took seven days off, including holidays. I was scared of failing, but I believed in our solution and worked harder than I ever have in my life.
“Later down the road, a large VC firm approached us with a large proposal, but we turned it down after speaking with an advisor. Had we partnered with them, who knows how far we would have gone or in what direction.
“Another challenge we faced was expanding from the pharmaceutical industry to the payer and provider markets. We thought we could walk into large health systems and payers and sign a contract, but we quickly learned that wasn’t the case. It was a multiyear process of providing evidence that our programs worked, becoming an approved provider, running a pilot and showing the results of the pilot before rolling out to a larger population.”
How did MATTER help along the way?
Paul: “Our team loved the collaborative environment at MATTER. Throughout the years, I attended a lot of MATTER events and particularly enjoyed listening to successful entrepreneurs share their journeys at Tales from the Trenches.
“We also participated in the 2020 Roche Diabetes Care Innovation Contest, and as a result, signed Roche as a customer. I’m still in contact with some of the people we met through that contest.”
What does this acquisition mean for Healthy Interactions?
Paul: “We initially started working with VillageMD when they were very small and only located in Houston. With this acquisition, Healthy Interactions is now the education backbone across all of VillageMD — all of VillageMD’s patients will be supported by our programs, starting with diabetes and quickly followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
TapCloud, a virtual patient engagement technology company, was acquired by WellSky, a global health and community care technology company, on February 22, 2022.
What was the inspiration to start TapCloud?
Phil Traylor, CEO of TapCloud: “There’s a great need for improved communication between patients, family caregivers, clinicians and payers. Without visibility to a patient’s status between provider visits, there is no way to see if they are experiencing changes that indicate a need for intervention to avoid adverse events. Tom Riley, TapCloud’s founder, created the company to help bridge the communication gap his mother experienced with her caregivers as a patient.
“Our patented, AI-driven technology and user-friendly interface empower patients to share their symptoms and other pertinent data, which in turn allows providers to deploy appropriate care interventions to reduce preventable hospital readmissions and emergency care.”
What challenges did TapCloud face on the journey to acquisition?
Phil: “In addition to the normal and incredibly challenging demands of starting a company, such as establishing funding, growing revenue and obtaining clients, the COVID-19 pandemic was the first major obstacle TapCloud faced before our acquisition. Fortunately, it later became the tailwind we needed to scale.
“We had built a strong pipeline with health systems, particularly with orthopedic and bariatric surgery providers. However, the pandemic abruptly forced many surgery centers to shut down. With a solid client base, published results and referenceable clients in the home care market, TapCloud quickly pivoted to focus resources on clients supporting aging in place because of the increase in demand for care outside the traditional settings.
“Our team did an outstanding job shifting our solution and engineering priorities, adding market expertise and executing on significant sales in short order. Very quickly, demand for our services increased and additional capital was required to better serve our clients and grow the business. As we identified potential partners, the choice to join WellSky became obvious.
“WellSky brings an expert team, thousands of client relationships, and a complementary suite of technology solutions that will easily create a market-leading end-to-end solution for clients in the home healthcare industry and beyond. The decision to bring these two companies together allows TapCloud to more rapidly fulfill its mission to change the standard of care.”
How did MATTER help TapCloud along the way?
Phil: “MATTER has the keen ability to help organizations find each other and explore how they can work together for the benefit of the patient. The collaboration we experienced through MATTER focused our technology design not only on interoperability but on creating greater value out of that integration.”
What does this acquisition mean for TapCloud?
Phil: “The partnership is mutually beneficial for both TapCloud and WellSky. By adding TapCloud to the WellSky portfolio, clients can access new patient engagement capabilities that connect patients, care providers and clinicians between visits. With real-time collaboration, providers can reduce rehospitalizations, elevate outcomes and lower costs – empowering their success with value-based care. TapCloud will gain access to a larger network and increased investment in its technology to broaden its reach and empower more patients and families to be active participants in their care journey.”
At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 700 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.