Welltok Raises Additional $12M, Readies for Debut With IBM’s Watson
Welltok, a Denver-based health software startup, just closed the books on a very successful 2014, announcing today it raised $12 million from two new investors. Welltok also is already setting the stage for a big 2015, with plans to unveil a new app that relies on IBM’s Watson supercomputer next week.
The investors are Hearst Health Ventures and Catholic Health Initiatives. Hearst Health Ventures is part of the Hearst Corporation and invests in health IT and technology-enabled healthcare services. CHI is one of the nation’s largest health systems and operates 105 hospitals in 19 states.
The investment closes Welltok’s $37 million Series D round. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round. Welltok’s investors include Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Qualcomm Ventures.
The new funds from Hearst and CHI bring the total raised by Welltok in 2014 to $59 million. The five-year-old company has raised a total of $89 million.
Welltok is developing software that consumers can use to create personalized plans to keep them healthy and out of doctors’ offices. Its flagship product is CaféWell, which it describes as a health optimization platform. CaféWell is based in the cloud and collects and organizes data from popular health apps like MapMyFitness and wearable activity trackers like FitBit. It has been designed so it will be able to connect with additional apps, devices, and systems as they are developed.
CaféWell uses that data and creates a “personal health itinerary” with specific goals and recommendations for users that can maintain or improve their health. The software has additional features such as social networks, games and challenges, educational content, and access to coaches to help users stay on track. The program also can give users rewards like gift cards for actually going through with their plans and hitting their targets.
While its software is intended to keep individuals healthy, Welltok’s customers are health insurance companies, medical care providers, and what are known in the healthcare industry as population managers. They all have very deep pockets and are looking for tools that improve outcomes while managing costs, and their spending is a sizeable chunk of the $2.7 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.
Welltok works with large health insurance companies such as United Healthcare, Aetna, and Cigna, as well as providers such as Centura Health, which owns hospitals in Colorado and Kansas.
Since 2013, Welltok has been working with IBM to incorporate its Watson supercomputer technology into a new Welltok product. Welltok CEO Jeff Margolis is expected to demonstrate that software, named CaféWell Concierge, next week at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.